Some interviews are tougher than others, but talking to Alvin Mitchell is an absolute pleasure. He's engaging, articulate and fun. Bearcats fans are going to enjoy having this young man as part of the Cincinnati program.
In order to play a fast paced offense and aggressive pressing defense,
Coach Cronin needs athletes. He
also needs players that can score after seeing the 2006-2007 Bearcats shoot only
41% from the floor, 31% from the 3-point line, and 66% from the foul line. The recent verbal commitment of Alvin Mitchell of Ft. Lauderdale's Cardinal Gibbons High
School should help the Bearcats on both fronts next
season. Mitchell was rated a 4 star
recruit by scout.com and is considered a versatile scorer.
Bearcat Insider last spoke to Alvin on
January 29 as rumors swirled that his high school coach wanted him to attend
Virginia Tech while his mother was pushing for the University of Cincinnati. Alvin said that wasn't the case. "My coach was 100% committed to what I
wanted to do. He believed in me and
trusted me in making the right decision."
Throughout this process, it was important to Alvin to show respect to
those schools who recruited him. "I
went on only two official visits.
Cincinnati was my second. My first visit was to Virginia
Tech. They were on my trail the
whole way, and I wanted to show respect to them." When Bearcat Insider spoke to Alvin in late January, there were still a number of other
Big East schools involved with his recruitment including St.
John's, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. This
genuinely nice young man appreciated that those schools thought enough of him to
offer scholarships, but in the end, it was the overall Bearcat experience that
helped him make his decision. "I
have a lot of respect for all those schools and wanted to show that respect, but
the choice because of the atmosphere when I came there to visit. I just felt at home there and felt like
I fit in. I'm 100% sure."
Mitchell averaged over 30 points a game this year so his ability to put
the ball in the basket will certainly help next season, but Alvin also brings a great
team attitude with him. "I feel I
can come in and be a team player. I
want to get guys involved and try to get everybody to have a healthy attitude
about everything. I want to go out
and play an offensive and defensive style that Coach Cronin wants." Alvin
said he's expecting a "fast, up-and-down pace" on offense and "an attacking
defense" at Cincinnati.
At 6' 5" and 210 pounds, Alvin will not be
the answer to stopping the Big East's big men, but he's been told Cincinnati has help in
that area. "I've been told they
have two guys coming in. The big
guy from Poland and an
All-American from Texas.
I met with those guys when I was there, and they seemed like pretty nice
guys. I got a chance to see them
touch the ball a little bit, and I think they'll get the job done."
The biggest concern Alvin has about coming
doesn't involve basketball. "I've
got to get me a coat. When I was up
there, it was snowing and 35 degrees.
I was freezing." Despite
being from Florida, apparently Alvin understands the idea
of layering his clothes, but it didn't help much. "I had a big jacket and a couple
T-shirts on underneath, but it was still cold."
Other publications have written about Alvin's heart condition, but he's not really
concerned. "It's really not a
problem for me. It was a problem
before I got the operation, but now it's 100%." The heart condition prematurely ended
his football career as a running back before he got to high school.
When asked if he saw himself as strictly a shooting guard, Alvin laughed. "I see myself as a combo guard. I can play the 1 through the 3
spots. I can post a smaller guard
up, but I have to work on my rebounding.
I need to get more aggressive in crashing the boards." Alvin is a really cordial, polite young man,
but he said he has no problem getting tougher on the floor. "Not at all. When I'm on the floor, I see it as us
Grades don't seem to pose a problem for Alvin.
He estimated his GPA to be about 2.5 and had visited his high school's
guidance office that day to make sure his SAT test score was high enough to
qualify on the NCAA sliding scale.
"I'm already qualified, I checked with guidance today." He spoke to an academic advisor while on
his official visit to Cincinnati, but he's still undecided on a major
for next year.
As new recruiting jargon like "silent verbal" continues to surface, it
certainly didn't pertain to Alvin since he had never heard of the
term. He said he announced his
verbal commitment once his college decision was made, and there was no need of a
When asked to tell Bearcat fans something about him other than his
basketball skills, Alvin answered quickly. "I like to laugh a lot." And he does.
Despite the great season, Cardinal Gibbons and Alvin had a bit of a
disappointing ending. Cardinal
Gibbons was ousted just one game from reaching the state's 4A final four by
team, Miami Pace. The reason-poor
foul shooting. "We missed twenty
free throws." After seeing this
year's Bearcats struggle from the line, especially late in games, it was
reassuring to hear Alvin's free throw percentage. "I shoot in the low 80's." Maybe more importantly, Mitchell likes
being at the foul line at crunch time.
"I missed a couple as a little kid, and I got the experience of crying so
I've stepped up as I've gotten older."
The 19-year-old has an extremely close relationship with
his mother and two younger siblings who all live together, but his relationship
with his father is different.
"That's something we can talk about after I get up there. I don't really talk about him that
The Bearcats season is over, but Alvin will still watch
some of the NCAA tournament because he has a couple of his favorite players to
watch on clubs seeded #1. "I'll
watch Greg Oden and Joakim Noah. I
like big aggressive guys."
Cincinnati basketball fans can hope that
in the coming years Alvin will help his Bearcats ascend to similar
heights and make March exciting once again.