2006 Prospect Likes the Cats

2006 will be an important year for Tubby Smith and the staff. <i>Inside Kentucky</i> caught up with one of the best prospects in the 2006 class in Jonathan Mitchell.

One player who helped spearhead the Metro Hawks run to the final four of the Main Event in Las Vegas this past weekend was Mount Vernon lefty Jon Mitchell. Jon was consistently solid throughout the tournament, collecting a slew of points inside, while providing some board work and a strong defensive effort.

Mitchell scored 21 points in the Metro Hawks 58-54 loss to eventual champion Friends of Hoop, based in Seattle. He played an integral role in the Hawks drive to the semifinals, putting up strong performances against the D.C. Blue Devils and Friends of Jefferson en route to the final four.

Mitchell is a very productive offensive player within 10 feet. He favors fade aways and baby hooks inside, and is a pretty consistent shooter from the foul line area on in. He consistently turns over his right shoulder with his back to the basket, and would be well-served to add another trick or two to his post repertoire, particularly using his right hand, to add to his effectiveness inside, but he's a crafty post player who wields a nice touch around the hoop. What he gives up in height at 6-foot-7 he tends to make up for with guile.

Mitchell has a very solid frame and good strength. He isn't an overwhelming athlete but has deceptively good foot speed and runs the floor well for his size. His ball-handling skills continue to improve, and while he isn't always at his best handling it far away from the basket and bringing it up the floor, it shows a dimension of his game that will only improve with more development.

Jon is a willing defender who did a nice job on opposing bigs at the Main Event.

Mitchell offered some thoughts on his busy summer, which included the Nike All-America Camp, Peach Jam, and the Main Event, and how the experience has helped him grow.

"I feel like I've grown a lot, and learned the game more this summer," said Mitchell. "I've just been working on my game on the days I'm off, staying consistent."

Some programs who have shown an early interest in the member of the class of 2006 include Duke, Marquette, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Kansas, Georgia Tech, and St. John's.

Mitchell will anchor one of the top teams in New York state this winter in Bob Cimmino's defending state champions at Mount Vernon.

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