The Louisville Cardinals' basketball team is heading to the ACC for the 2014-15 season, and it will take an elite 2015 recruiting class with it.
That No. 5-ranked group, according to 247Sports, got even better Thursday.
Rick Pitino and company landed guard Donovan Mitchell from Brewster Academy in Connecticut. Mitchell checks in at 6’3” and 180 pounds and is a 4-star prospect per 247Sports’ composite rankings. In fact, he is rated as the No. 83 overall player and No. 28 overall shooting guard in the 2015 class.
He announced his commitment via his Twitter page, and Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports passed the news along:
Donovan Mitchell announces on Twitter that he has committed to Louisville. Biggest riser of July. (@spidadmitchell)— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) August 8, 2014
A number of notable teams recruited Mitchell, including Memphis, Cincinnati and Villanova, but Louisville's persistence paid off in the long run.
It was no wonder that Mitchell landed on the radar of so many top-notch programs.
He is an offensive spark plug who gets to the basket with ease thanks to his elite athleticism and speed in the open floor. His explosive first step from the perimeter is enough to blow by almost any defender, and he is strong enough to finish through contact at the rim.
What’s more, Mitchell counts a gradually improving jumper as part of his arsenal, making him a threat to contribute immediately once he arrives at Louisville.
On the defensive side, Mitchell uses that athleticism and lateral quickness to stay in front of opposing guards and capitalizes on his length to dart into passing lanes. The best way to earn early minutes under Pitino is through defense, so it will be worth keeping an eye on his development on that end of the floor.
Speaking with Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal, Mitchell discussed what Louisville's coaching staff saw in him during the recruiting process:
They see me as a guy who could help them continue being where they are, (which is) just being able to win championships. They're known for their guards. Russ Smith is a guard from New York. So they're very appealing to me. Obviously, I'd have to work for playing time, but I'd be able to go out there and play.
Louisville would certainly love it if Mitchell turned out like Russ Smith.