Mark Mitchell's play has been scrutinized and some that follow the Duke basketball program even wondered if his poor 3-point shooting was causing him to be a liability on the court -- like when the Blue Devils fell on the road against Arkansas.
Lately, Mitchell has bounced back in a big way as he is a more aggressive and decisive player in his offensive role and looks more confident while on the floor. Jon Scheyer was very clear about change, and reading between the lines, changes had to be made schematically as to how he would deploy Mitchell moving forward.
So, what's changed?
The difference is always in the details, and Jon Scheyer deserves much credit for his adjustments and recent usage of Mark Mitchell.
Duke is playing a more spaced offense, using different concepts, and running different sets that align with how basketball is played in the NBA in its motion ball screen offense. Mitchell's position is more defined; he's playing closer to the basket (dunker spot, short corner) with the freedom of playing on the perimeter as a screener, cutter, and playmaker.
Ideally, Mark Mitchell will keep his foot on the gas and remain aggressive because his importance to this Duke team is recognized on both ends of the court.
He is averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game -- both increasing from last year -- and shooting 45.2-percent from the floor.
Mitchell's defense has been rock solid this season and there is no reason to believe he will regress in that area throughout the rest of the season.
The only real knock on him at this point is his 3-point shooting. He's 1-of-19 from deep on the year and ss Duke prepares for conference play, Mitchell will be one player to watch.