Mitchell inks with John Wood

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
College bound Democrat Photo by Jared Lankford Southwest High School senior basketball player Michaela Mitchell signed a national letter of intent to play at basketball John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill., next year. Pictured above, from left, in the front row, are: John Wood head coach Norman Rodriguez; Michaela Mitchell; and Southwest head coach Brad Phillips. Second row: father, Charlie Mitchell; sisters, Shannon Mitchell and Jessica Mitchell; and mother, Lisa Mitchell.

For Southwest High School senior Michaela Mitchell the dream of playing basketball collegiately came true on April 19 as she signed with John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill.

"It feels great to know that I am college bound," said Mitchell. "I have always enjoyed basketball, because you have to work hard every day. The game has been very good to me."

Mitchell has been a key cog in the Lady Trojans' basketball wheel of success.

During her senior season, she helped the Lady Trojans capture the Blue Eye Invitational and Logan-Rogersville Classic Tournament championships.

Southwest finished the season 24-4 as the, undefeated Ozark 7 Conference champions. The Lady Trojans were also ranked 10th in the state among Class 2 schools..

Mitchell's personal accomplishments are equally as impressive. She totaled 1,288 career points, and averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game this season for the black and red.

John Brown University and William Jewell recruited Mitchell, but it was the up-tempo play that helped John Wood land the talented senior.

"I have known Brad Phillips (Southwest's coach) for years," said Lady Blazers coach Norman Rodriguez. "He called me one day and told me that I should take a look at one of his players. After watching some video of Michaela, I told him he was right."

The Lady Blazers run a wide-open transition style offense that is predicated on aggressive defense and fast-break opportunities.

"We work hard from day one," said Rodriguez. "Teamwork and chemistry are the keys to making our style of play work."

For Mitchell, this philosophy was the key selling point.

"I was able to go and watch them play a couple of times this year and was really impressed," said Mitchell. "I really liked the flow of their games. The fast pace and defensive aggressiveness really suits my game."

Mitchell will be asked to handle the ball at the next level.

"Michaela is an all-around scorer," said Rodriguez. "She can overpower smaller guards and post down low. She has a nice touch and can score from anywhere."

Coach Phillips knows what he is losing in Mitchell.

"You can't replace what she meant to our team this year," said Phillips. "Michaela is a true competitor and was our leader."

Mitchell thanked her parents, Charlie and Lisa Mitchell, for being her biggest supporters and fans. She also offered a piece of advice for the younger players.

"Every day you have to work to get better," said Mitchell. "You have to want to improve before you can achieve your goals."

Mitchell plans to major in nursing.

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