NOTE – This story has been updated at 9:30 p.m. with an interview with Mickey Mitchell. Here is that interview. The original story is below.
Bucknuts: Mickey, what was it about Ohio State that swung it for you? I know you had a chance to come up and visit your brother and look around this week.
Mickey Mitchell: “It’s funny you got to say I got to spend some time with my brother because I really haven’t gotten to see him that much. Football occupies him throughout the whole day. He leaves at 6 and gets home around 9:30.
“Of course, my brother is here at the school. That would be a plus for anyone. Most of it was the coaching staff and how awesome they are and the players. I got to talk to Coach Matta. The first time I talked to him in person it was for about an hour and I felt like I had known him a long time. That conversation went really well.
“He had a talk with me later about what they do and how they treat their players and what I can do for them. I think we saw eye to eye on it. I told him it was the right fit for me. I told him I would call my family and make sure they thought it was the right place for me and then I was going to pull the trigger and I committed.”
Bucknuts: Who were some of the other schools you were looking at?
Mitchell: “There were a couple of Texas schools in there. Plus, Florida, Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma were in there, too.”
Bucknuts: What did your brother think when you told him you were going to go to Ohio State?
Mitchell: “He’s real pumped up about it. He is super excited. Before he ever knew I was going to commit, he said, ‘It’s up to you. You don’t need to come to the same school just because of me.’ But I don’t have to be with my brother since we play different sports.
“He’s pumped up that I’m here and he’s glad I made the right choice.”
Bucknuts: When exactly did you know Ohio State was the place for you?
Mitchell: “I’ve been thinking about it since Mike committed here. I’ve been keeping in touch with the coaches and now they can call me. Mostly, it was yesterday. After talking to Coach Matta, we had a great talk and that’s when I knew I wanted to commit.”
Bucknuts: What have they talked to you about a role? They put numbers on these positions. It sounds like you could play from the two to the five. How do you see it working out?
Mitchell: “Coach Matta told me, ‘Mickey, you could honestly play from the one to the five and guard from the one to the five. That’s why we want you so bad. You’re so versatile.’ He told me when I get there, I will be handling the ball and doing a lot of things. That’s what I want. I’m not necessarily a point guard, but I am used to playing with the ball in my hands. That’s what I liked to hear.”
Bucknuts: How are your on shooting thres? Are you comfortable with that and is that coming back now that you’re able to play again?
Mitchell: “I’m always comfortable shooting threes. I have been working on my jump shot since I haven’t been able to play.”
Bucknuts: Your dad said you are getting back to full-go after your knee injury. Do you feel like you are all the way there yet?
Mitchell: “I’m at about 85 to 90 percent back. I’m getting back up there. I’m just getting my explosive stuff down right now. The running is there and the cutting is there. I can still jump off of it. I just have to get more explosive right now.”
Bucknuts: I know they still want to get a big man for 2014. There are some names like Myles Turner and Elbert Robinson from Texas and some other guys out there as well. Is there anybody you’re close to and what do you see with that?
Mitchell: “I have heard a little bit about who they’re looking for. I’ve talked to all of them and they are all excited about the school. I think they will take their visits first and then see what happens.”
Bucknuts: Ohio State has been to four Sweet 16s in a row. You look at the 2014 class you’d play with and the 2015 point guard, A.J. Harris. What do you see with that nucleus?
Mitchell: “I think it’s great. I know each and every one of the players who are committed and we’ve all been friends for a couple of years. They’re excited and I am excited. It should be fun getting to campus in a couple of years and playing with them.”
Mitchell Follows Brother To OSU
Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian power forward Mickey Mitchell has become Ohio State’s second basketball commitment for 2015, his dad confirmed Thursday afternoon.
The 6-8, 250-pound Mitchell is the younger brother of current OSU freshman football linebacker Mike Mitchell.
Mickey Mitchell, rated as the nation’s No. 17 prospect for 2015 by 247Sports.com, was on campus this past weekend to watch his brother practice with the Buckeyes and to also make an unofficial visit with the OSU basketball staff. In fact, he is still on his visit to Columbus and was not immediately available for comment.
But his father, Ken, confirmed the verbal commitment.
“He went up to visit the basketball program and to see Mike,” Ken Mitchell said. “If you asked me if he would commit, I would have said no. But I talked to him and he said he wanted to.
“The thing he liked, he felt so comfortable with the character of Coach Matta and his basketball staff. The other thing besides the education was just the legendary atmosphere of Ohio State. It’s unbelievable. Mickey doesn’t get impressed by much. But he was really impressed.
“He got to play basketball with the team and he really enjoyed it.”
OSU assistants Jeff Boals, Dave Dickerson and Greg Paulus all had a hand in Mitchell’s recruitment, his father said.
Mickey Mitchell injured his knee playing as a quarterback in football last fall and missed the remainder of that season as well as high school and travel basketball seasons. He is expected to be full-go for his upcoming junior year of high school.
“He got hurt toward the end of the year with one or two games left, but now he is back and stronger than ever,” Ken Mitchell said. “He tore his ACL and had reconstructive surgery. He was going strong and the coaches really couldn’t believe it. He’d been medically released, but he hadn’t played much or had much contact.”
Ken Mitchell talked about the bond between Mike and Mickey.
“I do a lot of high altitude mountaineering,” Ken Mitchell said. “I was over in the Himalayas climbing and they were very young. They had their first year of flag football. I was in a big snowstorm on Mount Everest. I get my older son on the phone and I asked, ‘How are they doing?’
“He said, ‘Mickey threw a 50-yard TD pass to Mike that was 20 yards over his head and he chased it down.’ I got back and looked at the video. It was 43 yards, but that was close enough. He was in the fourth or fifth grade. He’s been dunking since the fifth or sixth grade.
“And with Mickey, you say he is 6-8 and 250 and you think he might be slow-footed. But he’s a guard and he’s fast. They’ve always been real close and played together for years and bang against each other. The most important thing is they build each other in character. They won’t let each other do something that is out of character for what a young man should do.”
Mitchell joins Dayton Dunbar point guard A.J. Harris as verbals for 2015. The Buckeyes could still take one more verbal for their 2014 class (currently with four commits) and at least two more in 2015. The Buckeyes would love nothing more than to target two more top-25 prospects for 2015 in Ohio’s Carlton Bragg (ranked 11th overall) and Luke Kennard (ranked 20th).
Mitchell had been offered by Kansas for football. He was also offered by Baylor, SMU, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, Oklahoma and USC for basketball.
As a freshman in 2011-12, Mitchell averaged over 10 points and five rebounds per game in helping Prestonwood win a state championship in Texas's private school Class 5-A ranks. When healthy, he plays in the Texas Titans AAU program. He is also rated as the nation’s No. 5 small forward and No. 3 prospect in Texas for 2015.
Ken Mitchell attended UNLV on a baseball/basketball scholarship. But he ended up walking on to the football team and eventually played for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Mike and Mickey are among nine siblings and Ken Mitchell said there are two more younger sons still to come through the pipeline.
Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.