When Alvin Mitchell signed with the Bearcats last spring, Cincinnati basketball fans figured he'd give the team some much needed offense since the club shot just 41% from the floor last season and 31% from behind the arc. Alvin was a scoring machine at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he averaged 33 points a game and could score from anywhere on the floor.
His penchant for putting the ball in the bucket has not yet materialized in his short four game career as a Bearcat, but Alvin recently admitted to Bearcat Insider that offense is not what's foremost on his mind. "I'm not worried at all about scoring. I want to play defense and rebound. I'm not even looking to shoot. I'm looking to get a rebound, start a break and run the offense. My shot will come."
Coach Cronin is on the same page. After the Bearcat victory over Coastal Carolina last week, Cronin said as much. "He may think he played bad going 1 for 8, but I think he did fine other than giving up a three late in the game. He had 7 rebounds. That's what I'm worried about. He had two assists and no turnovers. I'm not worried about his offense because I've seen it."
Bearcat basketball fans are looking forward to seeing proof of what Cronin already knows since Mitchell will likely be counted on heavily to produce points as the Cincinnati schedule gets tougher in the coming weeks. Thus far, Alvin has seemed out of sync when it comes to scoring. The UC swingman has made only 3 of 18 shots from the floor for 17%, and he has yet to stroke a three pointer missing all six of his attempts. Mitchell has even been subpar at the foul line where he's made only 5 of 9 charity tosses for 56%.
Most highly rated players like Mitchell enjoy so much success in high school that they often believe it will be just as easy in college. Alvin says he has already learned a few lessons. "I've had to get used to playing hard all the time and bringing my ‘A' game every day."
Despite standing only 6' 5", Coach Cronin expects the well-built Mitchell to get the ball off the glass. "If I crash, I'm big enough to beat my guy to the boards so I'm going to start crashing harder. I should be able to come up with some more rebounds." Mitchell has only 9 rebounds in four games averaging 15 minutes a night, but in his most recent outing against Coastal Carolina, Mitchell grabbed 7 boards and that effort led the Bearcats on the evening.
This four star athlete came to Cincinnati knowing there was some rebuilding to do, and he isn't necessarily disappointed with this team's 2-2 start. He just wants to see daily improvement. "I'm looking at it as trying to get better every day. I want us to be better at the end of the year than we are now. Next year I want to continue to build on that and get even better."
The 2007-2008 Bearcats definitely have two factions with five seniors and six freshmen, but according to Alvin, the age disparity hasn't posed a problem with team chemistry. "It's like family here. We all hang out together. Even though there is an age difference, we have something in common. We all want to win."
That family atmosphere may come in handy this Thanksgiving since Alvin won't be with his immediate family. "I'll be with my teammates and do whatever they want to do. Maybe we'll go to Coach's house or something." Alvin said he calls home to talk to his family every day.
Being a Bearcat already means something to Mitchell. "It means you are expected to always play hard and develop a good reputation."
Mitchell is one of six freshmen, and he says their collective goal is to get the program back to being a national power. "We basically came here to help rebuild the program. We're going to be a special class. Next year we'll all be sophomores, and we should have a little more fire power and chemistry."
Rebuilding a program in the BIG EAST won't be easy, and Alvin is already looking forward to adding the recent signees (Yancy Gates and Cashmere Wright) next season. "I got the chance to play with Cashmere when he was up here. He's lightning quick and a nice kid too." Mitchell has not played against the 6' 9" Gates but is looking forward to adding another big body to the roster. "That will be cool. Everything comes from inside out so I look forward to feeding those guys in there and watching them go to work."
Mitchell and his teammates will next be going to work this Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock against Fairfield at Fifth Third Arena.
Mitchell Not Worried about Offensive Slump
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