With post presence Alex Len off to the NBA, Maryland forward Charles Mitchell was one guy that coach Mark Turgeon was counted on to help protect the paint and be a glass-eater in the 2013-2014 season. Obviously, Mitchell isn’t quite the definition of a rim protector, but he does have a high motor that can be a blessing and a curse sometimes.
It was an up-and-down season for the Georgia native, but did start off on the right foot. Mitchell came off the bench against Connecticut with center Shaquille Cleare drawing the start. In games against UConn and Abilene Christian, he scored in double figures both games and grabbed a combined 14 rebounds. Mitchell scored in double figures in four of his first five games and grabbed at least eight boards in three of the first five.
Then the inconsistency began. Mitchell only netted double digit points in five games over the course of the rest of the season. While the numbers may not support it, the Maryland forward really stepped up his game late in the season.
It all started with the Duke game, which ironically ended with Mitchell’s potential game-winning hook shot rolling off the rim at Cameron. Mitchell scored 12 points (5-of-16 shooting) and grabbed six rebounds against the Blue Devils. The Georgia native scored eight of Maryland’s first 14 points and even had his jumper working early in the game. Why is that such a big deal? Mitchell isn’t an above-average jump shooter and is more of a back-to-the-basket type of player.
In the final seven games of the Terps season, Mitchell only averaged six points a game, but shot a stellar 48.8 percent from the field. The sophomore forward just seemed more comfortable and played a more aggressive style of basketball. He absolutely abused the likes of Duke and Wake Forest to start off his torrid stretch (12 points in each game).
It was well publicized about the verbal altercation that Mitchell had with assistant coach Scott Spinelli. We’ll never know what transpired there, but it appears to be behind all parties as Mitchell played in the final two games against Virginia and Florida State.
The Good: Mitchell continued to excel on the glass in his sophomore season. He increased his season total nearly a full rebound from 5.4 to 6.3 rebounds-per-game. The Maryland forward ranked 16th in the ACC in rebounding and that was extremely impressive, given that Mitchell didn’t start a good portion of the season for the Terps. Mitchell was one of the better offensive rebounders as he grabbed 82 boards on the offensive glass, which ranked ninth in the conference. He doesn’t tower over his opponents, but Mitchell has a great motor and never stops fighting for the basketball. His 6.3 rebounds-per-game led the Terps and was easily the best rebounder on the team.
When you think of Maryland’s top scorers, you think of Dez Wells, Seth Allen, and Jake Layman. But who had the second highest field goal percentage on the team in the 2013-2014 season? That would be Charles Mitchell. Mitchell shot 51.7 percent from the field and was second on the team in that category behind Shaquille Cleare (56.5 percent). Despite Cleare having a slight edge, Mitchell played 609 minutes this season while Cleare only played 440 and played about six less minutes-per-game. Mitchell seemed much more comfortable than he was as a freshman and didn’t take a ton of shots that were outside of his range. He can shoot the jump shot a little bit, but usually made his home in the low post.
The Bad: It doesn’t take too long to figure out where Mitchell came up short this year. The sophomore forward had an abysmal season at the free-throw line as he shot 32.9 percent (23-of-70). Mitchell found his way to the charity stripe quite a bit late in the season and ended up missing out on key opportunities for points for the Terps. As a freshman, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire. In the 2012-2013 season, Mitchell shot 54 percent (27-of-50) at the free throw line. Obviously, it’s a smaller sample size, but he still was more productive when put at the line. Teams didn’t think twice about fouling Mitchell and he’ll need to improve that facet of his game heading into Maryland’s first season in the Big Ten.
Grade: While the numbers weren’t exactly eye-popping when it came to Mitchell, it was a solid campaign for the former top 100 recruit. He looked more comfortable in the low post and continued to rebound at an extremely high clip. Mitchell will be relied upon heavily in year three and the 2013-2014 season went a long way in cementing his place in the Terps frontcourt. I’ll give Mitchell a solid B for his efforts.