My Two Cents On How Sam Mitchell Can Help One Cent
With the now imminent addition of former NBA player and coach as well as current AAU coach Sam Mitchell to Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway's staff, I thought that I would share my thoughts on how I could see him being a major addition.
Mitchell comes to the Tiger's program after a 13 year NBA playing career as well as an even longer 14 year career as a coach. He played against Penny and all indications point to Mitchell being someone that not only respected Hardaway's game on the court but also acknowledges his accomplishments off of the court as well. I've been told that even though Penny wanted Larry Brown to initially be his lead assistant, that he also doesn't feel the need to have an experienced X's and O's coach in his ear as many have reported or assumed. I believe that Mitchell is a coach that gets that and will be there when Penny needs him but not attempting to force his own will or hold the hand of the first year coach.
Mitchell was a former NBA Coach of the Year during the 2006-07 season with the Toronto Raptors. Mitchell led them to their first Atlantic Division title and what was at the time their franchise record with 47 wins. Mitchell also served many seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA so he will come in knowing how to submit as well as lead from the bench - something that Penny will truly need.
Mitchell is old school but also is wise enough to know that the game has evolved. This is evident in his current role as head coach of the Adidas EBO 17U Team which also just so happens to be headlined by the number one ranked player in the 2020, shooting guard, Jalen Green. Green is someone that is high on Memphis' priority list and he has already received a scholarship offer from Penny and his staff. Will Mitchell's time with Green prove beneficial to the Tigers? Only time will tell but having a kid that's on your radar play for a coach that's been unofficially connected to your program has to have had it's benefits.
Mitchell joins Mike Miller as another former NBA player on Coach Hardaway's bench and also solidifies as maybe one of the most name recognizable coaching staffs in the country. MIller and Mitchell weren't just former players that went straight from chilling on the couch to being assistant coaches either. Both have been heavily involved in the AAU circuit and have connections to several top players. Mitchell has coached players including UCLA's Jaylen Hands, Arizona's DeAndre Ayton, Duke's Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval on his former team, Team Harden. Penny's bench will include coaches that not only can talk about getting high level athletes prepared for the NBA, but can also actually prepare them from experience and not just lip service.
Hardaway's bench will be a risk being that the only member of his staff with any college basketball coaching experience is Penny's former Tiger backcourt mate Tony Madlock, but it's reward could be unprecedented. Could Penny, Miller and now Mitchell be on the verge of building an NBA Prospect Factory here in Memphis? I'm not quite sure but I'm 100% ready to see it develop on the sidelines this fall.