Coach Tony Bennett landed 6'7 small forward Akil Mitchell late Wednesday night, rounding out his first recruiting class at Virginia. The 205 pound senior only needed about 24 hours before giving Coach Bennett a call to seal the deal. Scouting report and highlights reels after the jump.
While he has not garnered the attention that some of the rest of Bennett's Furious Five (together with F James Johnson, G K.T. Harrell, G Joe Harris, and F Will Regan), Mitchell wants people to know, "I'm ready to surprise some people, I'm a underdog, I'm ready to get after it and work hard." Mitchell (Charlotte, NC) was mostly considering Ivy League schools, mid-majors, and Maryland, holding offers from George Washington, Southern Methodist, and Navy, among others.
Tony Bennett had five scholarships to give in 2010, so it looks like this could be the end of the recruiting trail for now. However, UVA had also been recruiting 6-10 Josh Henderson, who recently cut Wake off his list of prospects and is also considering Davidson and Vanderbilt. He has not yet cancelled his October 10-12 visit to UVA.
What do I think? I, you'll be shocked to hear, am pretty excited. We were all stunned when Tony was able to land three 4-star recruits right off the bat. But one of the things he said when he came here was that he seeks out diamonds in the rough, and that's exactly what I think Akil Mitchell will be. Scout.com gives him a measly 2-star rating while Rivals doesn't even bother. But look out! ESPN gives him a scouts grade of 91! As a point of reference, 4-Star Johnson received a 94 and Harris received a 90. He's got a heck of a wingspan and, according to ESPN.com, has quick reaction time. His biggest downside is probably that he's just too thin. Once he adds some muscle and bulks up a bit, get ready for the second coming.
In a recent interview, Mitchell told ScoutsFocus that, "Everything seemed to fit; the area, the academics and the level of basketball." He also added to why he pulled the trigger so quickly was because of "Coach Bennett and his honesty, and he is a genuine guy that I could see my self playing for the next four years." In terms of what he wanted to add to UVA's program, he said, "I want to come in and make an impact, I'm kind of a sleeper, I just want to surprise as many people as I can."
Here's a very short highlight reel on this beast of an underdog:
He's a CourtCred player to watch, and CourtCred took the time to do a quick interview of him:
And yes, he said he got a 4.0 GPA.