Tony Mitchell, a highly touted sophomore forward from North Texas, has decided to declare for the 2013 NBA Draft, according to a report from CBS Sports.
Mitchell would almost certainly have been a first-round pick last season, but wound up returning to school in order to make a run at the NCAA Tournament and possibly become a lottery pick. But after Mean Green coach Johnny Jones took the LSU job, the program stumbled to a 12-20 season under first-year coach Tony Benford.
An extremely athletic 6'8, 235 combo forward, Mitchell has a rare combination of speed and skill for a player his size. This season, he averaged 13 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3 blocks on 44/30/68% shooting.
Mitchell's ability to block shots on defense and step out and play on the perimeter on offense are what make him so intriguing, but those numbers are actually down across the board from his freshman season. What NBA teams will need to figure out is how much of that decline was Mitchell and how much was an injury-ravaged Mean Green team that wasn't able to punish Sun Belt teams for double-teaming him.
He's currently viewed as a late first-round pick, but he has the talent to move all the way back into the lottery during the pre-draft season. As is, Mitchell will be one of the most high-risk/high-reward prospects in the 2013 draft.