This time last year, Deon Mitchell had just finished up an outstanding summer campaign with the Texas D1 Ambassadors. He’d already been offered by Big East power, Marquette at the end of his sophomore season (summer of 2010) but was in no hurry to commit. The 2010-2011 high school season saw Mitchell get his Pflugerville Panthers deep into the Texas 5A State Playoffs. Last November, Deon signed with Northern Iowa who had just finished a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament in the spring. He was impressed with the constant commitment to watching his every summer game. UNI Assistant Ben Johnson became a fmailiar face in the crowd as did Head Coach Ben Jacobson.
Fast forward to June of this year. Mitchell was already on campus at UNI but because of a lack of campus activity, limited interaction with coaches and this being his first time away from home he began to feel homesick. He called me saying” Coach, I think I made a hasty decision to come here. I don’t want to be this far from home”. Anyone who knows me will attest to not enabling kids and giving them the easy way out. I politely told Deon to put his nose to the grindstone and that all would be well before he knew it. With his parents and myself on the same page we encouraged him and told him to work his way through it. He did. Both in the classroom and on the floor, Mitchell is already making a difference.
He’d also gotten his first passport and at the beginning of August, Northern Iowa made a 10 day, 5 game tour of Brazil playing several club teams and a professional opponent as well. In addition to hooping in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the UNI players experienced lots of South American culture including a trip to famous Copacabana beach where they played frisbee and football as well as chatted up the local Brazilian beauties. They went 5-0 on the trip, including a nice win versus a top pro team outside of Sao Paulo called A.E. Americana which featured Texas native and former A&M Aggie Jeffrey Addai. On Tuesday Head Coach Ben Jacobson called gushing that Deon was everything and more that they expected him to be when they recruited him to UNI.
With a roster featuring 6 freshmen, Mitchell was a starter right out of the gate in 4 of the 5 games. Assistant Coach Ben Johnson gave me the following updates:
“Deon played extremely well at the point position! He scored it and ran the show. He has great court vision and feel for the game. We are very confident and happy with him both on and off the floor and look forward to him positively impacting our program from day one! The sky will be the limit fore him as you know and I cannot express how happy we are with where he is right now as a player and how he has conducted himself as a student in the classroom and socially.” he led the team in scoring several times; got to the hole when he wanted, hit threes and got his team mates involved.-Coach Ben Johnson
Deon, we are all proud of you and how you represent Pflugerville HS, your family, your community and the Texas D1 Ambassadors. Don’t be distracted by those who want you to fail or come back home. Also, don’t be swayed by the local schools who are bordering on tampering with your commitment.-Coach Max Ivany