As the beginning of basketball season is near, the Blue Zone provides a detailed preview of each player on Duke men's basketball's 2023-24 roster. We've already looked at Stanley Borden,Spencer Hubbard, Neal Begovich, Jaden Schutt, Christian Reeves, Jaylen Blakes, TJ Power, Ryan Young, Sean Stewart, Caleb Foster and Jared McCain. Next up is sophomore forward Mark Mitchell:
Last year’s stat line: 27.2 MPG, 9.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG
Game breakdown: Coming off of a solid freshman year, Mark Mitchell is looking to elevate his game to become one of the best forwards in the country. The sophomore from Kansas City, Kan., is the Swiss army knife of Duke men’s basketball. Mitchell’s 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game from last season are impressive on their own, but he was also ranked in the 94th percentile in defensive metrics. These statistics suggest the development of an elite, do-it-all forward.
Last year, Mitchell only missed one game of competition — the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Tennessee. To head coach Jon Scheyer’s elation, he’s all in. At the end of the season, the sophomore was awarded the Pagluica Family Coach’s Award, which is given to the player that best exemplifies the commitment and values of Blue Devil basketball. This year, the forward will look to build upon his offensive numbers and continue to be the defensive rock for Duke.
Role on the team: Mitchell will bring his trademark versatility to this year’s team. While Kyle Filipowski, Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor will be responsible for scoring the bulk of the points, the Sunrise Christian alum will be expected to once again do the dirty work. This is not to say Mitchell won’t score his fair share, too. The forward will continue to win both scrappy baskets in the paint and contested threes from beyond the arc.
Mitchell will also be under pressure he has not felt yet during his time as a Blue Devil. Right behind him on the depth chart are impressive freshmen Sean Stewart and TJ Power. While the two new forwards could threaten Mitchell’s playing time this season, they could just as well give the veteran the push he needs to become one of the best all-around players in the NCAA.
NBA comparison: Mitchell’s ability on both sides of the ball is reminiscent of Andrew Wiggins during his tenure with the Golden State Warriors. Since joining the team, Wiggins has found his place in a star-studded roster, not unlike that of Duke this year. His natural athleticism and disciplined work ethic make him a two-way threat who can score from just about anywhere before sprinting the length of the court to make a pivotal defensive play. This season, Blue Devil fans hope that Mitchell, not unlike Wiggins, will play an important role in a championship-winning team.
Projected stats: 25.7 MPG, 9.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG
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