basketball Edit

Minnesota makes a good impression on Mitchell

Martice Mitchell
Martice Mitchell (https://twitter.com)

This past weekend was a big one for the Minnesota basketball program. It hosted two highly valued recruits on their official visits. Martice Mitchell and Dawson Garcia were on campus as Richard Pitino and his staff looked to put its best foot forward.

Minnesota was the second official visit for Mitchell, a 6-foot-10 senior out of Chicago. Last weekend, the 129th ranked player in the 2020 Class according to Rivals took his first too Xavier. He has another set up for Rutgers beginning on October 18.

Mitchell was accompanied by his AAU coach, Stanley Boateng, and his guardian, Aubery Denard. The Gopher Report caught up with Boateng shortly after he returned to the Windy City on Sunday.

Q: Tell us how the visit went.

Boateng: "It was great. We arrived on Thursday eventing. Martice arrived on Thursday evening. He didn't do much then. He had some dinner at his hotel. The official started the next day which is where he started by doing a lot of meet and greets. He met with the academic people about his major. He watched practices on Friday and Saturday. He met with a lot of people like the Nutritionist, the Academic Counselor, and the Leadership Program. He wants to major in Psychology. Then he went to watch practice. I ended up joining him there. That was great because he got to see how they play.

When we met with Coach Pitino and Coach Rob Jeter they stressed that they were going to have him on the wing. They want him to do wing stuff. They kind of see him developing how they have the new kid from Germany (Isaiah Ihnen). It's probably how their going to use the new grad transfer (Alihan Demir) or Michael Hurt; have them on the wing and let them make plays. He's not a five. Coach Pitino really stressed that and he likes his upside and thinks he can help him become a pro.

Q: What happened from there?

Boateng: "After the meeting with Coach Pitino we went to see the dorms. He went with Jarvis Omersa. He showed us around and showed his dorm room. That was pretty nice. He had his own space and his own room so that was really great. When we were exiting we bumped into Dawson Garcia. He as also there. We saw him and chatted it up. They played against each other several times throughout the AAU year so they know each other well. After that we went to the hotel and then he went to grab dinner. I didn't go. He went with Garcia and he said they had a good time. He hung out with some of the players.

On Saturday, he had breakfast in the hotel and then he went to practice at eleven. He met with the Strength and Conditioning Coach (Steve Felde). He does some great stuff. I like his plan. He was at the University of Miami and Martice was very, very impressed with the breakdown of how he improves players: their verticals, their strength, all of the stuff he is looking for in a program. Then we went to the practice.

This practice was much more intense because they did a lot of five on five and running their sets, and what they are going to be doing in the future. He got to see all of the opportunities in pick and pop, driving and kicking, grabbing a defensive rebound and pushing the ball. Pitino has a thing that I like. If they don't score and you get a defensive rebound, I just want you to play. Make a high IQ play off the pick and roll or the drive and kick. If they score that is when you look to run a set. They play pretty. good pack line defense so it is hard to score. Defensively they load it up and they do a great job with that. There are a lot of opportunities to push it up and play in open space and make the high IQ plays.

After that we went to a really good taco place next to the arena. We went to Williams Arena. That was great. He took some pictures. He looks good in the Maroon and Yellow. We all went to the Mall of America. We had an opportunity to talk in another environment. They also went to Coach Ptiino's house with Garcia. I didn't go but he said it was a great time. So it was good."

Q: Did Martice give you any indication about his thoughts on the visit?

Boateng: "He asked me personally if I could see him at Minnesota. We were at practice and they were running their stuff. He said he liked what they do there. He said, "I could see myself here. I like what he's doing."

He liked how they played the stretch three and four. He had a great conversation with Coach Pitino after the practice for about twenty to thirty minutes. They got their personal time going over stuff. Martice really liked that. He said he enjoyed the visit. He said he could see himself there. He wants to sit down and see where he's at. He still has one more visit. I don't know what he wants to do. We didn't discuss that. I'm going to let the family do what they want to do. If they want to pop and go to Minnesota then go to Minnesota. They're going to talk and get back to me about that. They are talking about visiting Rutgers but they haven't made a decision yet. But with the decision going so well, it could be between Xavier and Minnesota. The mentor and the family will do their part. He really did enjoy it. The practices sold him. He really liked that. He liked the vibe. He liked the environment. The floor was different. The elevated floor was a game changer. That was different to him. Yeah, he enjoyed it."

Q: Has the Rutgers visit been scheduled?

Boateng: "It has been set up; October 18-20.

Q: It sounds like the visit to Minnesota made quite an impression.

Boateng: "Absolutely. What they do, the practice facility, the development they do before practice, I like how Coach Pitino coaches his guys. He's a player's coach. He'll tell some jokes, but he's demanding. He does it in a good way. He makes sure they are locked and loaded. He lets them play. You can tell he runs stuff so that they can play at the highest level. He wants pros. He stays afterwards. He's a gym rat. The gym is available all of the time. He has managers out there so they can get tons of shots in. It made a good impression."