Huskies’ Mitchell signs with Akron for hoops
The long and tedious recruiting trail has reached its final destination for Harrison Central senior Kobe Mitchell.
The Huskies’ multi-sport standout formally signed his name to his National Letter of Intent Wednesday morning to join the Akron Zips basketball program.
“It was quite the feeling,” Mitchell said of signing his letter of intent as he was joined by his parents Tonya and DeWayne Mitchell as well as Huskies head coach Justin Clifford. “(Signing) is something I’ll remember for my entire life because of all of the hard work it’s taken for my entire life to get this opportunity.”
Mitchell, who is an ultra talented football and baseball player as well, didn’t waste much time after signing his letter of intent to getting back to work. He and the Huskies were in the gym for a practice immediately after the school day ended because Mitchell is now totally focused on doing as much as he can to help his team achieve as much as it can this winter.
“I want to do as much as I can to help our team go as far as we can in terms of winning the OVAC, sectional, district and hopefully making a state run,” Mitchell said. “I look at those things as motivation. I don’t see it as any kind of pressure.”
Coming off a junior season in which he stuffed the stat sheet, Mitchell averaged 31.4 points a game. He also collected 8.1 rebounds, passed out 3.6 assists and 3.6 steals en route to First-Team All-Ohio, All-Eastern District, All-District 5, All-OVAC, All-Buckeye 8, All-Valley and All Times Leader.
“I’m planning on (having) another big year,” Mitchell said. “I’m not taking anyone lightly or for granted, but I am definitely trying to show why I have the opportunity to play Division I. I just want to have a great year for our team.”
Having the college recruiting process out of the way and not being concerned about visits, offers, replying to text messages from coaches, etc. is a huge weight lifted off of Mitchell’s shoulders
“It’s definitely nice to know I can just focus on finishing school and playing,” Mitchell said. “Having to worry about all of the things involved with recruiting can definitely take a toll on people.”
Mitchell had verbally committed to the Zips a couple of weeks ago. He also considered the University of Wisconsin Green Bay along with a handful of Division II offers before settling on the Zips.
“Akron had been talking to me for almost a month or two, but so many things were up in the air with COVID and everything, which kind of slowed down the offers,” Mitchell said.
Almost immediately after receiving the offer from Zips head coach John Groce, Mitchell committed.
“It has really come down to Akron and Green Bay and I just felt like Akron was the place for me and I can’t wait to get up there,” Mitchell said.
The Zips recruited Mitchell as a combo guard. At almost 6-3 and a diverse skill set, Mitchell will fit quite well into that role. However, he’s not naive enough to think his game isn’t without flaws.
“I think I can fit in with my shooting ability and my ability to find ways to score,” Mitchell said. “I have to continue to improve on the defensive end of the floor and just improve my overall game.”
Mitchell had been drawing a lot of Division II interest strictly based on his high school play. However, this summer, he attended a few workout, open gyms in the Columbus area, hosted by 270 Hoops, that attracted some college coaches via the livestream. Mitchell shined in those games and it opened up several new doors for him.
“Those events were huge for me,” Mitchell said. “Coach Clifford did a great job of getting me into those events and I am appreciative of that. None of this would have happened without him. Those events got my name out there and got me into some rankings.”
Even with a season still to play, Mitchell is already the most decorated basketball player in Harrison Central’s history. He currently stands at 1,699 points, which is the school record. He also owns the school’s single-game scoring record when he went for 49 in a game against Steubenville.
“My high school career has been great so far, but it’s been more about the memories with all of the different teammates I’ve been able to make,” Mitchell said. “It’s actually gone too quickly. I’ll always remember high school.”
Even with those numbers, there have been times when Clifford has gotten on his star player for still being too unselfish. Mitchell laughed when he asked about that.
“I love Coach Clifford,” Mitchell said. “He’s a great guy and coach. He would do anything for all of us. He’s always wanting to get the best out of me and all of us.”
Mitchell admitted he may be more assertive this season, but he will still do his best to continue to play within himself and let the game come to him.
“I always have that chip on my shoulder that I feel like I have something to prove,” Mitchell said. “That’s been the mentality I’ve had built into me from a young age.”
Mitchell becomes the third Huskie male athlete in the school’s relatively brief history to ink a Division I scholarship. He joins a pair of Ohio State baseball recruits in Trent Luyster and Andrew Clelland, who was a member of the Class of 2020.
Kobe is undecided about his major.