Apparently content with the feedback he has received from NBA teams, Donovan Mitchell decided he’s ready to turn pro.
The Louisville star announced Friday evening on Instagram that he intends to sign with an agent and forgoing the remainder of his college eligibility.
“I want to thank Card Nation for a great two years,” Mitchell wrote. I want to thank all the coaches from Coach Arjay to Coach Smith and everyone on the Louisville staff for helping me become the man that I am today.”
The timing of Mitchell’s decision is a bit of a surprise, but the outcome is not. The 6-foot-3 sophomore solidified himself as a likely mid-to-late first-round pick this past season by averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists for a Louisville team that won 25 games and tied for second in the ACC.
Mitchell was especially effective for a brief stretch late in the season when he slid over to point guard after Quinton Snider got injured. That provided scouts a tantalizing glimpse of what Mitchell looked like at what could be his future position at the professional level with more seasoning.
Had Mitchell returned to Louisville, there’s a good chance he would not have seen much more time at point guard next season with Snider returning and freshman Darius Perry arriving. That would have limited the upside of returning to school for Mitchell.
With Mitchell and Jaylen Johnson both staying in the NBA draft, Louisville’s chances of beginning the season in the top five in the polls has vanished. The Cardinals will likely land somewhere in the preseason top 15 depending on whether guard Deng Adel withdraws from the draft or not.
Louisville will miss Mitchell’s perimeter scoring ability the most. He had eight games of 20 or more points during ACC play and scored 19 in the Cardinals’ second-round NCAA tournament loss to Michigan.