Casey Mitchell Playing Well in NBA D-League - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Casey Mitchell Playing Well in NBA D-League

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Former West Virginia University Guard Casey Mitchell is having a solid season in the NBA Development League. He is leading the Sioux Falls Skyforce averaging nearly 20 points per game. Mitchell is also averaging more than three rebounds per game and about two assists per game.

"I started the first couple of games," Mitchell said. "Then my coach told me he didn't have any scorers to come off the bench and help us. I told him I would come off the bench and I would come in and try to score and get the guys some more energy when I come off the bench."

Mitchell has done just that. At West Virginia, Mitchell was strictly a jump shooter. Now he has added the ability to drive to the hole to his game.

"It's easier (to drive to the basket)," Mitchell said. "It's basically because we don't have help defense in the NBA. You can't sit in the paint like you can in college, so it is hard to pass the ball off when you have someone sitting there the whole game. In the NBA you have to get out of the paint and touch a man and get back on that man the whole time, so it is easier to make plays."

Mitchell was given a brief shot at cracking an NBA roster during the preseason. He was with the Houston Rockets in training camp before the Rockets released him. It was a shortened preseason following a long NBA lockout.

"It affected me a little bit, but I still don't let me get it down," Mitchell stated. "I don't know if I would have made an NBA team if there wasn't a lockout, but I think I would have had a better chance of making a team."

D-League teams are affiliated with NBA teams, but not all D-League players are affiliated with those teams. Casey Mitchell is a free agent, so on any given day he could get a call to join an NBA roster.

"I heard a few things from my agent," Mitchell said. "A lot of teams are interested, but it is not a good time right now because the 10-day contract doesn't start until February. I got a lot of offers overseas because of how well I have been playing, so I may look into that too."

While he waits for the call, Mitchell insists he will continue working on the parts of his game that need improvement, and that includes consistency in all parts of the game.

"When I get hot I tend to settle for my jump shot because it is going down," Mitchell said. "They also see that I have a big strong body when I go to the basket, so they want me to go to the cup more."

Mitchell spent two seasons at West Virginia following a great junior college career. Those two seasons under Bob Huggins helped Mitchell prepare for the next level.

"It's definitely made me stronger for coaches in the future," Mitchell said. "When coaches talk to me now, it doesn't get to me and doesn't bother me because of what I have been through in the past and how Coach Huggins has made me more mature. I just listen to the coaches now and listen to what they tell me to do and it has made me better as a result."

Mitchell keeps a close eye on his former college team. In fact, he shared his thoughts on what he saw in the West Virginia at Syracuse game last weekend.

"I hit them up on twitter and say good game or give out a shout to them every now and then," Mitchell said. "I actually watched the game today (against Syracuse). I thought it was a goaltending at the end of the game."

Mitchell will continue to follow the Mountaineers and continue working towards an opportunity in the NBA. He believes his best chance to get there is by proving himself in the D-League.

"I think it is a great way for the NBA guys to watch me every night and be closer to the NBA and around the game," Mitchell stated. "A lot of the players in the D-League have experience in the NBA so I think I get a lot of experience from being a rookie in this league."

The Skyforce are 7-19 with 24 games remaining in the season. That includes a return trip to Erie, Pennsylvania in March.

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