Some fans might not have seen what Shereef Mitchell can do. I have.
And based on the more than 100 high school and AAU games I have watched him play, the new Creighton commit will be a perfect fit for the Bluejays.
Mitchell, who is planning to enroll at CU in 2019 after a year of prep school, has grown physically each year since his freshman season at Omaha Burke. He is now a 6-foot-1 point guard, growing an inch this past year, and his shooting percentages have gotten better.
Below are his numbers for each year of high school:
» Freshman: 15 games, 39 percent on 2-pointers, 34 percent on 3-pointers
» Sophomore: 24 games, 40 percent on 2-pointers, 34 percent on 3-pointers
» Junior: 24 games, 44 percent on 2-pointers, 33 percent on 3-pointers
» Senior: 25 games, 49 percent on 2-pointers, 39 percent on 3-pointers
In the spring AAU season, Mitchell, who graduated from Burke in May, was third among 2019 players in the three major shoe circuits (Adidas Gauntlet, Nike EYBL and Under Armour Association) in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2). But it’s not just his offense that stands out.
"Shereef is one of the best on-ball defenders I've ever seen," said Andy King, Mitchell's AAU coach. "He is extremely good at pushing the ball in tempo, a good finisher at the rim for his size, and a gym rat who loves to compete at everything he does on the court."
King isn’t alone. Many think Mitchell is one of the better defenders in the Midwest, if not the entire country.
He also makes good decisions while playing fast in the open court. That style fits Creighton’s pace.
I spoke with five NCAA Division I coaches familiar with Mitchell, and they shared their thoughts on condition of anonymity:
» "Ultracompetitive. He plays with a chip on his shoulder every time he steps on the floor and is a great get for Creighton."
» "Shereef Mitchell might be one of the best on-ball defenders I have seen on the AAU circuit in the last five years. He can absolutely change the game by what he himself can do by guarding the ball. He improved his shot, and his speed with the ball will also make him a special Bluejay."
» "He is a tough, competitive playmaking guard. He has great instincts on the defensive end of the floor with very quick hands. On the offensive end he is great in transition and consistently makes the right decisions. He will be a great fit in Creighton's up-and-down style of play."
» "Shereef is a jet-quick guard that has gotten better every time I have seen him over the last two years. He's always been a great teammate and playmaker, but the last few times I saw him he really improved his shot and ability to run a team. He is a great kid and will have a very nice career at Creighton."
» "Shereef is a tough and hard-nosed point guard. Every time he steps on the court he's ready to go toe-to-toe with the opponent. You can see that mentality filter throughout his teammates. He's a guy that really sets the tone defensively. Creighton fans are going to love watching him compete for their team."
Mitchell, who was offered a scholarship by the Bluejays last Monday and committed Thursday, was captain of the All-Nebraska team after averaging 24.6 points and 3.8 assists his senior year.