Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mitchell Searches for Right Role; Florida Coach Donovan Wants the Sophomore to Be a Defensive Stopper

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mitchell Searches for Right Role; Florida Coach Donovan Wants the Sophomore to Be a Defensive Stopper

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - Jonathan Mitchell said he felt somewhat out of place last season as he tried to figure out his role on a Florida basketball team that had six established players, including four who would eventually be selected in the NBA Draft.

He expected things to be much clearer as a sophomore, but that hasn't been the case.

The 6-foot-7, 231-pound forward is still trying to fit in on a team that has five talented freshmen.

"I'm trying to get him in there," UF coach Billy Donovan said as the Gators (2-0) prepared for tonight's home game against North Carolina Central (0-2). "For Jonathan, trying to carve out a niche of how he can help our team is the biggest thing."

Mitchell has played just 16 minutes in UF's two games this season. He's 0 of 1 shooting from the field with two rebounds, one assist, one turnover, one block and one steal as the fourth man off the bench.

Donovan said Mitchell has had trouble adjusting from being a big scorer in high school - he averaged 19.5 points per game during his senior season at Mount Vernon (N.Y.) - to primarily a defender and rebounder at UF. Mitchell said Donovan told him in the offseason that he would be playing more on the perimeter this season, so he dropped 15 pounds.

Donovan wanted Mitchell to be quicker so he could guard the post and on the perimeter, but Mitchell hasn't yet made the transition.

"He's got to understand that he's the one guy for our team that could be a great, great defensive stopper for us," Donovan said. "He's 6-7. He's a mismatch guy. He can play a perimeter guy. He can play a post guy. I wouldn't say Jonathan was always a great rebounder, but he can get in there and mix it up a little bit.

"The shooting part of it is going to come and go. He and Dan [Werner] have not shot it well, but the one thing I'll say about Dan is Dan has played a little bit more physical. He's played a little bit more aggressive. He's done things in the backcourt. Jonathan has gotten limited minutes, but if we can get him to understand that there's a role he could play on our team that could take our team to another level ... Trying to figure out how to go about doing that probably for him as been somewhat difficult. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.