Harrison Central retires Mitchell’s No. 1 jersey

HARRISON CENTRAL senior Kobe Mitchell had his basketball number retired by the school during a ceremony last week. Mitchell was named the Ohio Prep Sports Writers and Ohio Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season. Mitchell finished his prep career with 2,421 points and is signed to attend the University of Akron. Kobe was joined by his parents DeWayne and Tonya Mitchell.

CADIZ — In a relatively short history, Harrison Central has built a strong athletic tradition with a pretty impressive list of individual standouts.

None, however, have earned the acclaim that Kobe Mitchell has over the course of his four-year career in three different sports.

While Mitchell shined in football and baseball, it was on the basketball court — playing for head coach Justin Clifford — where the future Akron Zip earned his most recognition.

After this past season, Mitchell was named both the Ohio Prep Sports Writer’s Association and Ohio Basketball Coaches Association Division III state player of the year, becoming the first Husky athlete to achieve such an honor.

With those awards and his entire resume of accomplishments in mind, Harrison Central paid homage to Mitchell once again this week when they formally retired his No. 1 to the rafters of the gymnasium inside the high school.

“It’s still just crazy to me to think that my number was retired,” Mitchell said. “It hasn’t even set in yet, but I know that this honor means everything to me.”

Mitchell was a starter from the moment he walked into the gym for his first basketball practice prior to the 2017-18 season and never looked back. He finished his career with 2,421 points, which ranks 15th all time in Ohio and fourth in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.

“A couple of people wanted to do something special for him and (honors) like player of the year and things don’t come around too often. Actually, they may be once-in-a-lifetime type things,” Clifford said. “There have been players of the year from schools (around the area) and if you go into their gyms, I am not sure my young sons would realize it because there is nothing displayed and we thought about that and came up with some idea and felt this is the best way to honor Kobe.”

This past season, Mitchell didn’t letup. He scored 31 points a game, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out six assists per contest.

Through it all, Mitchell never gave one ounce of thought to accolades of any type, including a number retirement. When he realized what was going on during the brief ceremony that was attended by his family and a few close friends, he was totally shocked.

“I didn’t believe it all,” Mitchell said. “When I saw the banner, it was just a crazy moment. I am just thankful to my parents, Coach Clifford and Harrison Central for all of the opportunities they’ve provided me. This is something that I’ll never forget.”

Mitchell knew his parents were coming to the school for an award’s ceremony, but Clifford was able to keep the crux of the event a secret.

“I just thought it was another award, but then I saw the banner rolled up and when they dropped it, I just couldn’t believe it,” Mitchell said. “It was definitely a wow moment.”

As Mitchell stood and looked at the banner and thought that not one person will ever wear No. 1 on the boys basketball team ever again, many thoughts and memories raced through his head.

“The first thing I thought about were my teammates because I wouldn’t have been in the position to have the success that I did if it wasn’t for them,” Mitchell said. “(Playing at Harrison Central) was the best four years of my life, and I would gladly go back and do it again, but I don’t have any regrets.”

Along with the unveiling of the banner, Mitchell was also presented a proclamation from Emi Jones, who represented her father, Don Jones, who is a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.

“I had no idea about (the proclamation) either,” Mitchell confessed. “That was really cool and I appreciate Mr. Jones and the Ohio House of Representatives doing that for me.”

Mitchell, who wrapped up his prep sports career this past week when he competed in the OVAC All-Star Basketball Game and then played two sectional baseball games, falling to Ridgewood on Wednesday, will move into the University of Akron and begin summer classes and conditioning on June 5.

“I am going to take a lot of different things from everyone I’ve spent time around, but mostly, I know if I continue to work hard, good things will happen,” Clifford said.

Though Mitchell won’t be wearing a Huskies’ uniform any longer, Clifford believes his impact will be felt for years to come.

“He’s been a great representative of our school and athletic department,” Clifford said. “He carried himself the way you hope your sons carry themselves. I don’t know if I would have acted that way in high school. It’s a true testament to his parents, family and how he was raised.”


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