Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Now that he has secured his release from Florida, sophomore forward Jonathan Mitchell of Mount Vernon, N.Y. already has a slew of choices as to where he will end up.
“Today I heard form Rutgers, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Fordham, Virginia
Commonwealth and UMass,” said Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino.
Wherever he goes, Mitchell would have to sit out the NCAA-mandated year before suiting up in 2009-10
The 6-foot-7, 243-pound Mitchell is a versatile small forward who possesses an inside-out game with the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, while rebounding well and finishing around the basket. At Florida, Mitchell had trouble finding a role and gaining minutes. He averaged 1.4 points as a freshman and 3.1 points and 1.8 rebounds off the bench as a sophomore.
“Jonathan is an outstanding individual and a terrific person,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said in a statement. “I would like to help Jonathan and his family in anyway possible to ensure the best for his future, both academically and athletically.”
“He loved it at Florida,” Cimmino said. “He had a meeting the other day with the coaching staff and it was about as close to a good break as you can have. Anytime you’re leaving you’re not happy with a coach’s decision. But he enjoyed the experience and he needs to play more.”
Mitchell, the 2006 New York Player of the Year, was “basically looking to come up home, to the Northeast. He’s looking to get more minutes,” Cimmino said.
The coach added that Mitchell was a “tough cover because he’s an inside/outside player. You put someone small on him, he’s going to post him up. You put someone big on him, he’s going to go by him.”
Herbert Mitchell, Jonathan’s uncle and a North Haledon, N.J. resident, said Jonathan should be home from Florida within a couple of weeks and at that point they would start to visit some schools.
“We have to sit down and see where Jonathan fits in, but he also has to fit a need,” Herbert said.
Herbert said UMass “stayed in the running” because head coach Travis Ford did not end up at LSU or Providence.
Herbert added that Donovan told them Jonathan could opt to remain in the SEC and sit out one year. That marks a contrast with Big East regulations, where players are not permitted to go from one Big East school to another.
Wherever he goes, the decision should come by the end of May.
“We want to make sure Jonathan’s able to do summer school,” Herbert said. “I would say it would not linger past the end of May. I’d be shocked if it goes that long.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.