Akil Mitchell 6-9, Power Forward, Virginia
12 points, 9 rebounds , 4 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 5-9 FG
Although not the most flashy player in the scoring department, Mitchell did a lot of good things on both ends of the floor on Friday night that showed his ability and willingness to play a role. The 6' 9 Virginia big man proved to be one of the most fundamentally sound defenders both on and off the ball in the tournament, racking up four steals and two blocks while limiting his man both on the block and on the perimeter.
Mitchell possess excellent feet that allow him to hard hedge and recover to his man quickly, something he did on multiple occasions on Thursday, one of which led to a steal and eventual alley-oop finish in transition. He also showed excellent closeout technique and the ability to keep quicker players in front of him, an ability that bodes well for him at the professional level. Sporting a fairly thin upper body, Mitchell isn't the strongest power forward out there but his thick lower body allows him to bang in the post.
Mitchell is also an excellent team defender, keeping his head on a swivel off the ball and making sure he's in help position on baseline drives. He didn't get a lot of steals and blocks at Virginia (1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks per 40) in part due to his average wingspan (6' 11.25) and Virginia's pack-line defense. Mitchell's awareness, along with his above average athleticism, also helps him as a rebounder, where he posted 10.9 rebounds per 40 (3.0 offensive and 7.9 defensive).
On the offensive end, Mitchell is very limited, evident by the 10.5 points per 40 minutes he scored as a senior. While he can use his athleticism and agility to run the floor, Mitchell isn't much of a factor in the half court. He's a very sound passer but lacks a mid-range jumper (42.7% from the line) and a back to the basket game. Mitchell would much rather blend in the background offensively, moving the ball and setting screens. Mitchell's defensive impact, athleticism, rebounding, and ability to play a role make him an intriguing summer league and vet camp player. He's the type of player who could absolutely find his way onto a NBA team's roster.