With not much time remaining until the start of school, University of Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell is spending a few days on the west coast.
The Cardinals sophomore-to-be is in Los Angeles, joined by teammate Deng Adel, where he is serving as a counselor at the annual adidas Nations event. The four-day event attracts the top high school prospects from across the country, with a number of current college players serving as counselors. All of this occurs with NBA coaches, scouts and players offering insight and instructions.
"It's a lot of fun," he told Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Josh Gershon. "I've never been to L.A. before, so it's really nice to see everything, but more importantly I'm blessed to be apart of adidas Nations and play with such amazing athletes in front of a bunch of NBA scouts."
Mitchell was one of Louisville's more explosive performers last season. He could be counted on for a boost in energy when he came on the floor and he has already become one of the program's many Doctors of Dunk. While his 7.4 points per game average was fifth best on the team, Mitchell made improving his outside game one of his priorities this off season.
"I think I've improved my jump shot a lot," he said. "I haven't shot it real well here yet, but in practice I'm finding good shots and making good shots. On defense, I think I have a better sense of where to be and what spots I'm supposed to be at, so I think I'm maturing on the defensive and offensive end."
As a rookie, Mitchell shot 44 percent from the floor - second best among guards that notched a start for the Cardinals in 2015-16 - but was streaky beyond the three-point arc, connecting on just 25 percent of his attempts. Gaining a greater understanding of when, and when not, to take the shot has served as the catalyst of his improving outside game.
He said it's important to know "when to pick your spots." Like many rookies who are used to dominating their high school games, the transition to college where the competition is much stiffer took some time.
"The are guys are longer, faster and better, and more experienced," he continued. "So, picking your right spots and being under control and I think I've picked up on that very well."
Mitchell appeared in all 31 games last season, starting five. His 18.8 minutes per game was fifth most on the roster and is second to Quentin Snider among returning players. Without question, his role will increase in 2016-17.
"I see myself doing a little bit of everything," he said. "That's been my thing since I was being recruited, just being able to go out there and give the team whatever it needs at that particular time whether its offense, defense or energy."
At adidas Nations he's doing just that. In two games, Mitchell has scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds, handed out six assists and has recorded a quite impressive nine steals.
Despite the loss of the top three scorers from a 23-8 team, Mitchell believes that the nucleus that returns, along with the new additions will make for a strong squad.
"I think we'll be really good as a team," he said. "We have a lot of returning guys."
"We have V.J. (King) and we have the transfer, Tony (Hicks) is pretty good, so we should be really good as a group and I can't wait to get out there and play."
For the Cardinals to enjoy the success that the programs aims for each season it will need increased contribution from those returning. One of those that has been turning heads at practice has been fellow sophomore and roommate Deng Adel.
"Deng Adel is one of the guys that I have seen a lot of most improvement from. He's a beast offensively and defensively. Jaylen Johnson is really big, too. His energy has picked up and he's lost weight. He's doing really well."
Stay with Cardinal Authority for continuing coverage from adidas Nations.