Davion Mitchell once texted to MaCio Teague that ‘We could make it to a Final Four’ when the pair were trying to decide which school to transfer to three years ago.
Three years later, Mitchell’s text may need to go in a Baylor Hall of Fame, since the Bears are making their first trip to the Final Four since 1950.
“He did text me and say that if I came here, he felt we could make it to a Final Four,” Teague said on Monday night after the Bears defeated Arkansas in the Elite Eight. “And we’ve done that. So I feel like that didn’t just happen overnight.”
Three years ago Mitchell and Teague were looking for new homes. Mitchell was at Auburn. Teague was at UNC-Asheville. Mitchell had one year in college basketball, while Teague had two. And they had, at the time, much different pedigrees.
Mitchell was good depth for the Tigers at the time, a quality defender who came off the bench for the Tigers, who won the 2018 SEC Championship. His season-high was 10 points on a couple of occasions. The Top 60 national recruit, had he stayed with Auburn, would have been a key part of their trip to the 2019 Final Four.
But, instead, Mitchell transferred to Baylor and sat out the 2018-19 season.
Teague was looking to prove himself at a higher level after two stellar years at UNC-Asheville. He was an All-Big South Freshman of the Year, a two-time All-Big South First Team player, and scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons, becoming the fourth Big South player to score at least 1,000 points in his career.
Teague, like Mitchell, chose Baylor, and as the pair were making their choice, they were talking.
“If you let Davion tell it, he’s going to say he’s the reason I came to Baylor,” Teague said.
The pair sat out the 2018-19 season per transfer rules. That year, the Bears started out uneven, losing a home game to Stephen F. Austin in December. But, once Big 12 play started the Bears seemed to turn a corner, and the Bears went from a team picked in the lower half of the Big 12 to start that season to an NCAA Tournament team that lost to Gonzaga in the second round.
Teague and Mitchell watched it all and soaked it in. They also filed it away for the next season, when they would be able to contribute.
“The team, they built themselves up the year that we sat out,” Teague said. “We were supposed to projected to go last in the Big 12 or second to last. Came in I think fourth, made it to the NCAA Tournament. And then we hit the ground running the year after that.”
Mitchell and Teague have helped elevate these Bears since hitting the floor two years ago. The Bears have lost a grand total of six games in two seasons. The pair have combined with Jared Butler to become one of the best guard trios in the country. As they enter the Final Four, Teague is coming off a 22-point performance against Arkansas, including a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch. He’s now averaging 15.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season.
Mitchell is averaging 14 points and 5.6 assists per game and is considered one of the leading candidates for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, as he averages two steals per game.
Here they are, exactly where Mitchell texted they would be three years ago.
“We got a lot of guys committed to the program and bought in, and we all know that the program is bigger than us,” Teague said. “So we’re really bought into that.”
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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