Let’s take a peek at the reigning Pennsylvania Mr. Basketball brought here by the previous coaching regime.
The 2021-22 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let’s get into the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We’ll be going through the players one by one: First MU’s freshmen in alphabetical order, then the two underclassmen transfers, then the two super-seniors on their extra year of eligibility, and then finally the three returning players, going in order of average minutes per game last season from lowest to highest.
We’re going to organize our thoughts about the upcoming season as it relates to each player into categories, as we always do:
- Reasonable Expectations
- Why You Should Get Excited
- Potential Pitfalls
With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about one of Wojo’s last recruits for the Golden Eagles who decided to hang around anyway.…….
Freshman – #4 – Guard – 6’2” – 190 pounds – Reading, Pennsylvania
Stevie Mitchell joined the Golden Eagles all the way back in August 2020 after being recruited by former head coach Steve Wojciechowski. With coaching changes come player changes, as we’ve seen all but three of Wojo’s former players take their basketball skills elsewhere. Mitchell, along with Kam Jones (another of Wojo’s incoming recruits), elected to stick with Marquette under Shaka Smart’s new coaching regime. I would love to say that this decision was motivated by a love of Milwaukee and what it has to offer, but Mitchell apparently doesn’t yet know a lot about the city except that Mr. 3000 was filmed here. An interview with John Fanta has all that, and a little more:
He’s the point guard of the future for the Marquette Golden Eagles. Went 1-on-1 with 4-star 2021 commit Stevie Mitchell today, hitting on a variety of topics:
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) August 6, 2020
The 247 Sports Composite system has Mitchell as a four-star prospect and #91 in the country. He’s the 14th ranked point guard and #5 in terms of guys coming out of Pennsylvania. 247’s internal opinion has Mitchell all the way down to #114 overall and the #16 PG. ESPN has Mitchell much closer to 247’s Composite as the 82nd ranked player in the country and the #15 point guard. Rivals differs from the ESPN ranking by just one spot, placing Mitchell at #83 nationally. An interesting note is that the Marquette website currently lists Mitchell at 190 lbs. while 247 and ESPN have him at 175 lbs. Shouts to Todd Smith, perhaps.
Mitchell comes out of high school having been named Pennsylvania Mr. Basketball and the Pennsylvania Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season. Putting up a stat line of 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.8 STEALS per game his senior year, Mitchell led his team to back-to-back conference titles on his way to being a First Team All-State honoree. Mitchell played for Wilson High School, and in AAU with Philly Pride. That Philly Pride team won the national championship in summer 2019 with Mitchell being named the MVP.
Mitchell has already gotten around to reading books to kids at a school, a true classic for Marquette basketball players, and feels like a natural fit. He has already spoken in front of all the freshmen during orientation and seems to be an outgoing and charismatic guy. He values hard work, that’s one of the reasons he chose to stay at Marquette with Smart, and figures to be one of the more popular players on the team for the foreseeable future.
It’s worth acknowledging, as I’m sure you’ve read in every single article previewing this season’s Marquette team, that not a single person (or computer in this case) can accurately predict what this team looks like. A new coach and ONLY three returning players makes this season still completely up in the air for how the team might look.
That being said, before I really gush about what Mitchell might possibly offer this team in the long run, let’s temper our expectations into what he can offer this team right now. T-Rank predicts Mitchell averaging 4 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in about 14 minutes per game. This makes a lot of sense seeing as he is probably behind Greg Elliott (and Darryl Morsell maybe???) and competing with Kam Jones and (to some extent) Emarion Ellis for minutes at the point guard spot. We’ve got a lot of guards and only so many minutes to go around.
He’s also been in a walking boot, as I’ve recently seen on campus, and we haven’t been able to see him scrimmage with the team yet as he was wearing the boot at the recent season ticket holder open practice. But he’s a player that, when healthy, can score at all three levels whenever he wants. He shot 55% from the field during his senior year and has shown the ability get to the hoop with relative ease. He was the primary ball handler for his high school team, but his off-ball movement and catch and shoot should translate well if he’s asked to play with someone else running the point.
If he’s asked to play on-ball, Mitchell has a lot to offer. He can get to the hoop off the dribble and find his teammates with creative passes. If he’s given the space and the go-ahead by Smart, expect him to drive to showcase his offensive talent and get himself in the lane. Hopefully, his ability to get to the hoop will translate to college ball, and if it does expect Mitchell to gobble up some of the available point guard minutes.
Why You Should Get Excited
Mitchell is an offensively gifted player, he can dribble, shoot, and pass; three skills that have proven to be important for a basketball player. His high school highlights showcase an absolutely ridiculous set of dribble moves that I can only dream of doing by myself in a gym without a defender. He routinely was able to make space for himself in the midrange, or get his opponents off balance enough to take it straight to the hoop. He could create his own shot at will and was also instrumental in opening up space for his teammates through these meandering drives.
The tape that’s floating around out there also showcases a high-level awareness of the court. He was able to thread passes through tight windows right where they needed to be. While he generally was a shoot-first point guard, his passing ability was a huge boost to his team. If Mitchell is able to find his feet right away with the speed and tenacity of the college game, he has a TON of offensive tools to work with and should be good for about 1.2 highlight plays per game, give or take an alley-oop to the Marquette bigs.
As I mentioned before, he’s a guy with a lot of energy that should bring a really fun atmosphere with him into the locker room. Hopefully, we are able to get a glimpse of this as fans, but I’m as excited as anybody to have this guy on campus with me.
Anytime we talk about a freshman player, everything said above has to be taken with a grain of salt. It could take time to adjust and some of these skills might not translate to the next level as well as anyone hopes. He’s already been bitten by injury in his short time at Marquette so far, so who knows what might happen there. All that, plus the general team uncertainty leaves Mitchell in an interesting predicament where he could end up not getting many minutes and falling behind any number of the guards in the depth chart depending on how Shaka Smart wants to clarify his positions.
As you may have noticed thus far in the article, Mitchell’s defense has not been mentioned once. There is very little tape on what Mitchell does defensively, and even with his average of 2.8 steals per game as a senior, Mitchell is more or less an unknown on defense. At 6’2”, he doesn’t offer a lot of size to be able to defend players outside of the point guard or shooting guard spots. His potential defensive downsides could be masked by Darryl Morsell’s prolific defense, but Mitchell might be too much of a liability on that end of the court to pick up big minutes in Big East play. It’s also important to remember that he was a Wojo recruit before Smart kept him in the fold. Steve Wojciechowski didn’t really have an aptitude for recruiting guards with naturally good defense, need I mention a man by the name of Ja Morant and his crimes against the Golden Eagles.
I don’t want to end on that note so here’s to hoping that we get more than a couple of highlight reels out of a guy nicknamed ‘Stu’, apparently. I’ll let you decide for yourself if that’s a pitfall but I put it in this section for a reason.