Northern Iowa, under Coach Ben Jacobson has competed in 5 of the last 7 NCAA Tournaments, finishing #13 in the ESPN pool last season. Going 30-5, the Panthers made the Sweet 16 at the Big Dance. Wins over UNLV and then the shocker over #1 Kansas Jayhawks propelled them into the Sweet 16. Don’t expect the Missouri Valley Conference Champs to become shrinking violets. They will take on all comers as witnessed by this year’s 2010-11 non conference schedule where they’ll go into the lion’s den at Syracuse & as well as take on Indiana and then New Mexico or Colorado in Las Vegas. All these things factored into Deon Mitchell’s decision to head out of state. In his official visit this past weekend he really enjoyed his new team mates, the campus & the culture of winning in the Northern Iowa basketball program.
After an early offer from Marquette this past summer, Mitchell also received action from other high majors. Arizona State was interested but got a commit from hometown player, Jahii Carson. He’s #3 on Baylor’s list (they’re trying to tie up Arkansas Wings Ty Madden) & #3 on Colorado’s list (as they chase Cezar Guererro of Belmont Shore.)
It came down to really being needed AND wanted. Head Coach Ben Jacobson called today to assure me that Mitchell was their #1 guy that they wanted and that they would put the ball in his hands as a freshman. Pflugerville Coach Mike Murphy agreed that it was a wonderful opportunity. To quote one of his current UNI players, “Coach Jacobson is not a yeller and a screamer”. This bodes well for Mitchell, a quiet young man who will take to constructive instruction very well.
Big props go to Northern Iowa Assistant Coach Ben Johnson who did a heck of a job recruiting Deon. He said he wanted to get into Texas, and they did in a BIG way with the Texas D1 Ambassadors. Don’t be shocked to see them nab another player or two out of the Lone Star State in the near future.
Deon Mitchell is one of those rare guys that not only combines character with superior ability, but he also maintains an air of being humble at the same time. As a combo PG he can get to the rack at will or shoot it unconsciouly from deep. Mitchell has a killer crossover that’s as good as anyone in Texas. With all these scoring tools at his disposal, Mitchell still prefers to find the open man and make others look good. Once he learns to defend with intensity on every play, who knows what accolades he’ll pile up in the Missouri Valley Conference.-Max Ivany
Congratulations to Deon & his folks; Anita and Bennie Mitchell of Pflugerville, TX from the Texas D1 Ambassadors Family including Coach Mike Hardge & Coach Chip Ivany.