Baptist Hill basketball coach Tron Grant is impressed with Shaquiell Mitchell's basketball intelligence. Mitchell's GPA in the classroom is impressive, too.
"His basketball IQ is beyond most players," Grant said of Mitchell, who has been a starter for the Bobcats since the eighth grade. "I don't want to knock other players, but Shaquiell's basketball IQ is off the charts. He makes my job a lot easier. He can talk to the players during a timeout, and it's like having another coach. He's smart. He's basketball smart."
Mitchell, a senior, sports a 3.7 GPA and will play for the South Carolina State University Bulldogs next year.
"I don't know about the (basketball) IQ, but grades are important to me," said Mitchell, who has scored 1,685 points heading into tonight's game at Military Magnet. "I've learned a lot on the basketball court and a lot in the classroom over the years. Both experiences have helped me mature, to grow up. I like helping coach with the younger players, and I can talk about my experiences. I think it helps since he doesn't have an assistant coach."
Mitchell was named one of the top five seniors among Class A players in a preseason survey of coaches. He averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds as a sophomore and followed that with 18.7 points and 9.9 rebounds last season. He is averaging 20.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this year.
He's just a great athlete," Grant said. "He's 6-4, 185 and has good speed. People are shocked when they find out he's a point guard. They think he's a wing or post player. But we play him at point guard because that's where he will play in college."
South Carolina State was the first school to recruit Mitchell, who also is an outstanding football player. He was honorable mention All-Lowcountry after passing for 1,667 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding another 500 yards and three scores on the ground.
"They were first," he said. "They were the first to call me, to offer me. That means a lot to me. I was high on their list and they were high on my list. It was a perfect match."
Mitchell seems to be a good fit for the Bulldogs as an athlete and student. But first, he wants to have a successful senior season.
"I want to get out of the first round of the playoffs," he said. "I would like to help my team win a state championship."