Raleigh, NC - Waxhaw (NC) Cuthbertson point guard and 2014 Wake Forest commitment Shelton Mitchell used the Dave Telep Carolina Challenge Saturday, March 23 as a litmus test to gauge where he was at in his progression as a basketball player and what he needs to work on after a stellar junior season that ended in a disappointing 56-53 loss to Kinston in the state championship.
"I have too [put the state championship loss to Kinston behind me]," Mitchell said. "There's nothing I can do about it really. It's in the past. Now, the only thing I can do is learn from it and get better. I managed to put it in the past. [I'm] definitely [going to use loss for motivation]. I did it the year before, and I'm going to do the same thing this year. The mornings I didn't feel like getting up and working out I just remember that feeling and I'll get up. Right after we lost I wanted to play again, so it was good coming out here. It was my last year, but it was a good camp just like the last two years."
"This [DTCC] is a good start to my AAU season. We go to LA in about two or three weeks, so basically ready for that and getting ready for all our tournaments. That's how I use this."
Mitchell, who battled tendinitis in his knee and problems with his elbows, spent the week trying to recover from nagging injuries following the loss to Kinston. He is working to improve his conditioning, spending more time in the weight room and get up a bunch of shots before the EYBL circuit begins later this spring.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound floor general averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals per game, but his individual success does not take away from the disappointment from losing in the state championship to Kinston for the second straight year.
"[Wake Forest assistant coach Jeff Battle told me] to keep my head up, like I said there's nothing I can do about it, just come out the next game and take all of my anger out on the next team," Mitchell said.
Mitchell added Demon Deacon head coach Jeff Bzdelik had similar remarks, and to learn from it and go on.
He will not don the Black and Gold till the fall of 2014, but Mitchell is already recruiting for the Demon Deacons.
"I'm talking to Harry [Giles] a lot," Mitchell said. "Theo [Pinson], I'm in his ear all the time and Gary [Clark]. Basically a lot of guys that play for my CP3 team I'm in there head basically as much as possible. I hope I can [sway them toward Wake]. I'm trying hard to. Hopefully they listen to me. Hopefully they instate and start something new. They just laugh [when I talk to them about Wake]. I do it in a joking way, but they know that I'm serious at the same time, but they just laugh to begin with."
"Harry's a freshman, so I'm trying to work on him. I'm trying to get this 2014 class first and when I'm at Wake I'll try to get Harry. I see everything [in Giles]. That was my first time watching him really. I saw him in the state championship game, but I was late, so I didn't get to see a lot. He's as good as advertised. He can shoot and dribble. He's athletic, he's tall, he's long, so basically everything. I knew he was going to be good, but he's better than what I thought to be honest."
Mitchell has also built a strong relationship with 2015 five-star Memphis power forward Leron Black.
His EYBL season begins April 19-21 when he will lead the CP3 All-Stars into Los Angeles for a weekend tournament.
"I think what we're doing is I'm flying out a couple of days early, and I'm going to go out and west and I'm going to catch a flight to LA too," Mitchell said. "I know some of my family is going to meet us down there in LA, because I don't really get to see them a lot. I'll be able to see some family."
Mitchell's schedule will be filled to the brim, but he will make a trip to Wake Forest if he can manage to fit one in.