Mark Mitchell establishes himself as a top-ten prospect in 2022 with strong start to junior season | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / February 24.
  • Mark Mitchell establishes himself as a top-ten prospect in 2022 with strong start to junior season

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    By JACOB POLACHECK

    Over the last five years, Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Kansas has been a powerhouse in the Kansas high school basketball scene, winning consecutive state championships from 2016-18. 

    With a 7-0 record to the 2020-21 season, the Bishop Miege Stags are off to their best start since the 2017-18 state championship season. 

    Perhaps the biggest reason for the Stags’ success this year has been the progress of versatile junior Mark Mitchell.

    “Mark’s a gifted player,” Bishop Miege head coach Rick Zych said in an interview with ZAGSBLOG Wednesday evening. “This is his third year in the program and he’s got high expectations. I think we all do. I think his game has evolved.”

    The 6-foot-8, 205-pound power forward from Mission, Kansas, has taken full advantage of his incredible length and athleticism this season, averaging 19.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

    “He’s evolved from a young kid that’s tall and lanky that’s supposed to play under the basket,” Zych said. “Now he’s extended his game. He’s shooting the ball well from the outside. He’s a slasher.” 

    Mitchell’s improvement from behind the arc has been evident this season, shooting 46 percent on three-point attempts.

    “He’s really improved his game based on his outside shot,” Zych said. “And he’s worked at it. Nobody works harder than Mark. That’s the key.” 

    His newly improved shot was on display against Blue Valley High School in Stilwell, Kansas on January 12, as Mitchell finished with a season-high 24 points on 9-16 shooting including a 5-7 clip from three-point range. 

    “I think I’ve been playing pretty good, just letting things come to me and feel everything out,” Mitchell said in an interview with ZAGSBLOG Wednesday. “It’s been frustrating a little bit, but I’m shooting a lot better than I have in previous years. I’m just trying to keep improving on that and keep going up.” 

    Mitchell’s impressive start to this season has ascended him into the conversation as a top-10 prospect in the nation.  

    Mitchell is ranked by 247Sports.com as the No. 11 overall prospect in the class of 2022 while Rivals.com moved him up to the No. 9 spot. 

    “As a teammate and as a coach, you’re not going to find a more coachable kid,” Zych said. “He’s got all the skills. The ball has to be in his hands and we have to go through him more with the game on the line.” 

    Mitchell, on the other hand, says he doesn’t pay as much attention to the rankings. 

    “I don’t get caught up in the numbers because at the end of the day, it just matters what you do on the court and how you produce in the long run,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep working and not pay too much attention.” 

    Mitchell’s stock has also soared in the eyes of college scouts, picking up numerous scholarship offers. 

    Back on June 15, the first day that college coaches were permitted to reach out directly to class of 2022 prospects, Mitchell only held two offers: Kansas and UW-Milwaukee. 

    Since then, Mitchell has received numerous offers from the likes of Arkansas, Wake Forest, UCLA, Kansas State, USC, Texas, North Carolina and Missouri.

    “It’s definitely been a big boost, especially since coaches can now call me,” he said. “I’m just trying to hear from a lot of different schools, a lot of different programs.

    “It’s a cool experience hearing everybody make their pitches, hearing everybody out and talking to people that you’d always dream of talking to.” 

    Among his nine offers, Mitchell says five schools are in contact the most. 

    “Kansas, UCLA, Mizzou, North Carolina, Arkansas,” he said. “Those are the main five I can think off the top of my head now.” 

    Kansas has been involved since the beginning of Mitchell’s recruitment, becoming his second offer back in July of 2019.

    “They want a versatile player like me to come in and help them out,” he said. “Obviously, they’re Kansas, a historic program. I’ve been talking to coach [Norm] Roberts every week, sometimes twice a week. It’s close to home.”

    With four-star shooting guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. already committed to the Jayhawks’ 2022 class, Kansas has the No. 7 ranked recruiting class in 2022, according to 247Sports.com. 

    Just two days after college coaches were permitted to reach out, UCLA extended an offer on June 17.

    “UCLA is very intriguing to me,” he said. “My brother is out there. I love LA. I’ve been on campus a couple of times. I like what they’re doing over there with Mick Cronin and how they run their offense, how they use Chris Smith, even though he’s hurt now. I think I could be used in that way also. I’m definitely looking at them pretty hard.” 

    The blue-blood schools continued to pursue Mitchell, as North Carolina extended an offer on July 16 of this past year.

    “I have a good relationship with coach [Steve] Robinson. We talk a lot. I talk to coach Roy [Williams] every now and then, too,” Mitchell said. “My mom is from North Carolina and obviously they’re a historic program. I watch them a lot. 

    “They’re North Carolina, so of course they’re on TV a lot. I know a lot about the program, so I’m just going to keep feeling them out and building my relationship with coach Robinson and coach Williams.”

    Arkansas is another school that has been pursuing Mitchell for quite some time, extending an offer on May 14, 2020. 

    “I talk to coach [Eric] Musselman and Clay Moser a lot,” he said. “They’ve been playing pretty good this year, too. They’ve got a good recruiting class and play a lot of NBA-type offense. They also recruit a lot of athletic, long, lanky guys like me. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on.” 

    The University of Missouri became the latest school to get involved for Mitchell when they extended an offer on July 16. 

    Cuonzo [Martin] is a good guy,” Mitchell said. “I like what he stands for. They definitely picked it up this year. It’s cool to see how they progress, even from seeing them play last year, they look a lot better. 

    “They run a modern-day offense and play good defense. I think that program is definitely on the rise and I’m definitely keeping in touch with them every day.” 

    With 14 regular season games left on the schedule for Bishop Miege, Mitchell says he’s starting to think about a college decision. 

    “It will probably be before my high school season next year,” he said. “I hope it is. I’m not sure. I’ll probably cut my list down at the end of this summer.” 

    As he nears a college decision, Mitchell says he wants to make sure he has a good relationship with the coaches. 

    “I’m just making sure they’re real with me,” he said. “I’m just trying to get to know them better because this place will be like home to me for however long I’m there.

    Play-style will also be a factor in Mitchell’s decision. 

    “I want to see how I could fit in their system and how they can utilize me, help me help them in the best possible way,” he said. 

    Mitchell will attempt to extend the Stags’ perfect record on Thursday as Bishop Miege faces Van Horn (MO) High School. 

    Photo: Jansalmonvisuals

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