Baylor guard Davion Mitchell’s 31-point outburst against Kansas State seemed out of the blue, but it’s been the culmination of a year of hard work.
The junior dropped seven 3-pointers on the Wildcats in that game, a 107-59 victory, as he went 7-of-9 from the arc. He wrapped up the week against his former team, Auburn, scoring 13 points in an 84-72 victory. In that game, he went 3-of-6 from the 3-point line.
That was more than enough for Mitchell to be named part of Heartland College Sports’ Starting 5 for this week.
While Mitchell is, at times, overshadowed by teammates Jared Butler and MaCio Teague, his shooting improvement is apparent.
That work, Mitchell said, started after last season ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“I took time to work on my shot, my form, my feet, and I watched a lot of film,” Mitchell told the host of a recent SicEm365.com interview. “Those things played a big part in my shooting getting better. For me, it was working on it every day. I’m working on it after I’m done with this. Staying confident plays a bit part, too.”
Mitchell’s improvement is apparent. Last season, his first in Waco after sitting out for a year, he shot 40.9 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent from the 3-point line. This season he’s shooting 52.5 percent from the floor and 47.2 percent from the 3-point line.
Mitchell is just one reason why many believe the undefeated Bears have the best collection of guards in the country. As if Butler, Mitchell and Teague were not enough, the Bears have catch-all guard Mark Vital in their starting lineup and super sub Adam Flagler coming off the bench.
While Mitchell had a scorching-hot week last week, Mitchell had some issues from the 3-point line earlier this season, going 0-for-12 from the arc in a three-game stretch against Iowa State, Oklahoma and TCU. During that stretch, Butler, Teague and others picked up the slack while Mitchell continued to play his exceptional defense (he leads the Big 12 with 2.1 steals per game).
During that stretch, his teammates made sure Mitchell remained confident in himself, and that translated to last week’s incredible shooting.
“I give credit to my coaches and my teammates,” Mitchell said. “They stayed confident in me and they told me to stay confident in myself. (I thought) If they’re confident in me, then I should stay confident in myself. They believed in me, they told me to keep shooting, and I just have to give all the credit to them.”
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