HoopsHype Tony Mitchell rumors

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With just two days remaining before the 2013 NBA Draft, the Clippers are conducting their final group workout Tuesday morning at the team’s training facility. Potential first-round pick Tony Mitchell of North Texas is the top rated prospect attending. He averaged 9.3 rebounds in 55 college games and entered the NBA as a sophomore after becoming one of the best high school players in the nation in 2010. Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota) and Elias Harris (Gonzaga), two more athletic rebounders, will join Mitchell along with guards Ian Clark (Belmont) and Peyton Siva, who led Louisville to the 2013 NCAA title. NBA.com

The Timberwolves concluded predraft workouts on Monday, bringing North Texas forward Tony Mitchell to Target Center for a morning session and some lunch. With the clock ticking toward Thursday’s NBA draft, Wolves new President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders sounded like a guy ready to keep the night’s ninth pick — perhaps to select Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — rather than give what few assets he has to trade in an attempt to move up for a chance at Indiana’s Victor Oladipo or Kansas’ Ben McLemore. “We’re not going to deplete our whole talent pool,” Saunders said. “There are good players in this draft, but right now, there are not impact players, no one you look at who within two years will be an All-Star, like Kyrie Irving was. There are good players, probably pretty good players, but are they going to be that All-Star or future Hall of Famer? In order to dilute your talent pool, you’ve got to get an impact-type player.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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This is the part where Tony Mitchell puts his mind on display. His physical gifts have never been in doubt. Physical gifts are why Mitchell began his sophomore season at North Texas as a lottery possibility and are now the reason he still has a good shot at the first round of the Draft -- despite his best efforts at playing his way out of guaranteed money. "He's the best athlete here," is how one general manager described Mitchell at the Chicago pre-Draft combine a couple weeks ago, a gathering of most of the top prospects. "It's not even close. He's a freak of nature." NBA.com

Mitchell readily admits that he gave into the gloom of a 12-20 season at UNT and a coaching change, when the proper response would have been to fight through it. "I feel like since our season was so tough, I couldn't get up for the games somewhat," he said. "We had a losing record, so it was tough for us to get up for games, for everybody. At the same time, I tried to be a positive influence each and every game. There's no excuse for that. Effort is yourself and individually. It's really no excuse. I just have to show them that I can give effort now." NBA.com

Front offices are weighing multi-million dollar investments, and with Mitchell, they have to decide on a player who should have crushed the Sun Belt Conference on athleticism alone yet struggled to deliver consistent energy. Not that Mitchell doesn't regret how he handled things. "Most definitely I do," he said. "This is the same question every time. I wish I could have changed it. But at this point I can't. I just have to keep going, keep on going forward and just work hard." He was asked what he would have changed most of all. "I would just change my effort," Mitchell said. "How I competed each and every game. Not go up and down and just have a straight path and just go straight. Keep playing 110 percent each and every day. "I think it hurt [his Draft stock] a lot. With me being a top-five pick in the beginning of the season, from where I'm at now, I think it tremendously hurt me." NBA.com

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Tony Mitchell, a Milwaukee native who grew up in Dallas, and former South Milwaukee player Trey McKinney Jones headline the Bucks' six-player draft workout Wednesday at the Cousins Center. The 6-foot-9, 236-pound Mitchell played two years at North Texas State and averaged 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. His numbers declined from his freshman to sophomore year. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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