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Introducing Maryland's Incoming 2012 Freshmen: Charles Mitchell

via <a href="">247</a>
via 247

Mark Turgeon's first class was a monster, a six-man behemoth that is arguably Maryland's most promising in the last decade. But if you don't follow recruiting, the six will-be-freshmen aren't much more than names. Over the next several days, we'll be overviewing the class, recruit by recruit, introducing the newest batch of Terrapins to their future fanbase. We've already looked at Bahamian big Shaq Cleare and lanky wing Jake Layman. Now our attention turns to the gregarious Georgian big man, Charles Mitchell.

Name: Charles Mitchell
Height: 6-7
Weight: 250
HS: Wheeler
From: Marietta, Ga.
AAU: Worldwide Renegades
Position: PF / C
Rankings: 247: | ESPN: , #23 C | Rivals: , #22 PF, #92 overall | Scout: , #27 C | BIAH Consensus: #113 overall
Recruiter: Bino Ranson
Committed: March 8, 2012
Twitter: @StuckLikeChuck1

Major Strengths: Mitchell is another stout and strong post player, a big body with a mentality to match. On the court, he has very nimble feet and is surprisingly quick and agile in small spaces. Of course, he'll able to push his defender around more often than not, just based on pure girth. He's also a reliable scorer on the blocks, something Maryland has needed; he's assertive with the ball in his hands and has good touch around the rim, an effective spin move, and no issues playing through contact. His jumper is improving and can be a tool in the midrange, which gives him a nice bit of added dimensionality; similarly, he's deceptively good handling the ball, so he has a bit of a face-up game. Given that he'll need to play some 4 here, that's a good sign. One of Mitchell's strongest areas is his intangibles: he's a gregarious guy who should be a great teammate, but he's also assertive on the court and has no qualms about battling on the blocks. Scouts and writers are impressed with his work ethic, motor, and competitiveness, coming across as a very coachable guy; that should instantly translate to this level and make him an instant energy player. And while his height is a limiting factor, he has a seven-foot wingspan, which helps compensate. (That's a longer wingspan than Mason Plumlee, if you believe it.) His physical tools - size and long arms - combined with his sense of positioning means he should be a productive rebounder.
Needs Improvement: Mitchell has some possibly-limiting physical issues, unfortunately. First of all, he needs to work on conditioning, which would help on a variety of levels. He does lose effectiveness as he tires (a problem, ironically, exacerbated by his motor), which hurts on defense and on the boards. He's also not explosive and plays below the rim more than you'd like right now, which is going to make it tougher to finish plays at the net. And of course there's his height: 6-7 isn't great size for the 4 in the ACC, let alone the 5, which might be his best and most natural position. How he holds up when faced against elite athletes every night will be critical. Some of that can be helped, but it'll be interesting to see how much. Elsewhere, he has a bit of James Padgett in him: he can get a tad one-dimensional and predictable in the post. Much like Cleare, he has enough physical limitations that he needs to have top-notch technique to reach his heights, so getting a more well-rounded arsenal of post moves should be a priority. He's a bit caught between positions at the moment, so it'd be great to see him either add skill or, if he's lucky, grow another inch.
Interesting: Between Mitchell, Shaq Cleare, and Damonte Dodd, Maryland has a solid 760 pounds or so of post players in this class (which shoots to 995 if you include Evan Smotrycz). Some major weight is going to be thrown around in the Comcast Center during practices.
Comparison: The two that spring to mind, just based on physique, are likely Dejuan Blair and Charles Barkley: both were undersized but bulky big men who did just fine, though for slightly different reasons - Blair had his absurdly long arms, Barkley had that sneaky agility and athleticism, and both had great assertiveness and mind for the game. He's caught in-between the two; he's much smoother and perhaps better in the post than Blair, but is a good bit short of Barkley's pure athleticism. If he trims down, he could play a role similar to what Draymond Green did at Michigan State as a skilled, powerful forward, though I don't think he has the skill to truly replicate it.
Prediction: Yesterday's revelation that Ashton Pankey is transferring helps Mitchell more than anyone else, if I had to guess. He would've been fighting it out with Pankey for the fourth big man spot, with the loser probably getting not a ton in the way of minutes. Instead, he walks into that spot virtually uncontested. That means it's very possible for him to get double-digit minutes on a regular basis, working as an sparkplug and energy role player for 10 to 15 minutes a night. As he improves on his conditioning, he'll see his minutes and effectiveness grow. I'm still expecting him to be behind Shaquille Cleare, which will limit his minutes somewhat, given that the two probably can't play together too much given the redundancies of their games. But he could be a significant role player and potential sixth man for the first two years of his career, and by the time he's a junior who knows where his work ethic can take him? Due to the measurables he might not ever be a centerpiece, but he can be a starter in the ACC for sure.
In a Turtleshell: Mitchell is a wide body who's surprisingly light on his feet and has a good touch around the rim, with the potential to craft out a niche as a space-eater with skill. At the very least he'll be a great teammate, given his down-to-earth personality and motor. His physical tools might perhaps be limiting long-term, but he won't back down from anyone, will make his teammates better and give huge effort, and could easily turn himself into a starter and significant piece for Maryland over the course of his career.

Links: 247 | ESPN | Rivals | Scout | Interview at the Cap Classic | Interview after the Cap Classic | Baltimore Sun commitment story | Video of his Signing Day