Baylor guard Davion Mitchell is the 2021 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced on Friday.
Mitchell and the Bears are preparing for Saturday’s national semifinal game with the Houston Cougars, and was not available to the media during Friday’s availability.
His teammate, Jared Butler, called it a “huge blessing.”
“It’s a huge blessing because of how hard he works and the person that he is,” Butler said. “I’m happy for him. I don’t need anything more out of him (tomorrow night). What he does right now is special.”
In fact, Mitchell won all THREE Defensive Player of the Year awards — NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches), Naismith, and Lefty Drissell.
He’s been one of the most talked about defensive players in the country this season, as he led the Bears in averaging 2.3 steals per game. In fact, his nickname among his Baylor coaches and teammates is ‘off-night,’ which means whoever Mitchell is guarding will have an off-night.
Mitchell is also averaging 14.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Teague told reporters last week that Mitchell, in a sense, has been a ‘coach on the floor’ for the Bears when it comes to defense.
“He understands where people are going to drive and he helps you, telling us, ‘You should have sent him this way, because all your help was there, or if you stand right here, he won’t be able to drive right there,’” Teague said. “His defensive IQ is extremely.
Mitchell is the second straight Big 12 player to win the Naismith award. Last year, Kansas guard Marcus Garrett won the award. He’s also the second straight Big 12 player to win the NABC award. Kansas forward Udoka Azubuike won that award in 2020.
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