The major programs know it best: Sometimes, a win over another powerhouse isn’t simply a win. It can have ripple effects that span years.
Duke again found this to be the case with the 84-81 win over Gonzaga in late November acting as the pebble. Five-star Sunrise Christian (Wichita, Kan.) small forward Mark Mitchell saw the victory and knew he wanted to be part of the legacy of the program.
In his blog on Sports Illustrated, Mitchell wrote:
“Honestly, it was after the Gonzaga game that did it for me. Just seeing the atmosphere there and the energy the team played with was something I knew that I wanted to be a part of.”
Read the full blog here.
Mitchell committed to Duke on Friday. He chose the Blue Devils over schools including UCLA and Missouri.
This gives Jon Scheyer another huge piece for his incoming class as he prepares to take the mantle of the program. Mitchell is ranked the fourth-best small forward and No. 15 player in the class of 2022 on the 247Sports Composite.
He is the fourth five-star commit, joining an absurd group of center Dereck Lively II (No. 1 on the 247Sports Composite), small forward Dariq Whitehead (No. 4) and center Kyle Filipowski (No. 7). Somehow, four-star shooting guard Jaden Schutt (No. 55) is the lowest-ranked among the group.
Perhaps this group can play a game similar to that of Duke vs. Gonzaga, one that convinces the next crop of players that the Blue Devils are where they should be.