Now that basketball season is among us, a lot of changes have been made that could be for the good. The basketball team’s starting lineup consists of all seniors...with the exception of one sophomore. Although the sophomore is the oddball of the starting line up, his height fits right in. Samuel Mitchell is a 6’3 shooting machine who now starts varsity. This seems to be a pretty nerve wracking change for such a young player. The man himself describes his experience. He says, “My first few games playing varsity I was kind of nervous because of the atmosphere, it is much more different than sophomore and JV games.” However he states that, “I have gotten a lot more comfortable from the beginning of the season to now.”
Mitchell has been playing basketball since he could walk. From starting with City League to joining an accelerated team, he has finally landed to the high school team and hopes to one day play college ball.
Anthony Mitchell, Sam’s dad and coach says, “Sam didn’t always have the skills to play varsity basketball, he started working hard and putting in a lot of time. He was very dedicated, waking up at 5 am to lift weights, or even ride his bike to the high school to shoot 1000 shots.”
Playing varsity basketball is a huge accomplishment. It’s the level that every athlete wants to reach in high school. Coach Mitchell explains, “Playing varsity takes more than someone who can run fast, jump high, or make a 3 point shot. Most people don’t realize that basketball IQ is a huge skill, understanding what the coach wants to do both offensively and defensively and being able to do it.”
Although varsity is usually meant for the older athletes, it is possible in some cases that younger athletes will play up, like in Sam’s case. Coach Mitchell explains the strategy for this. He says, “I try to play younger players as often as I can if they have the skills to do so in a varsity game. This helps their confidence and most of the time gives them a desire to work harder so they can play more varsity. This is important to have continued success at a high school.” Sam testifies to this and says that, “Starting varsity now is very important because then I am prepared for the next 2 years and I have the experience.”
Although Mitchell’s varsity skills may seem natural on the court, we now know it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get him where he is today.