We've discussed the high volume of players who have transferred out of Clemson's program in recent years. Fortunately, after feeling the negative effects of the rise in college basketball transfers for the majority of the Brownell era, we're beginning to see the positive. Now, Brownell has added his second solid addition through transfer in the past two years.
After adding Avry Holmes, a sharpshooting point guard with jaw dropping efficiency metrics, from San Francisco a year ago (he sat this past season per NCAA transfer rules), Brownell has added Shelton Mitchell, a former four-star point guard from Vanderbilt who has shown the ability to distribute the ball and drive to the basket. Mitchell will have to sit a year due to transfer rules, and then will have three years of eligibility remaining. California, NC State, and Purdue were also pursuing Mitchell, but he chose Clemson due to his relationship with Clemson assistant Steve Smith.
This is a strong addition for Clemson. While he may not have the luster he had as a four-star prospect, he's likely better than the high school recruit whose spot he is taking. A year of experience in the SEC plus a redshirt year gives him a leg-up on making an impact in 2016-17, the season we've been circling as the big one for the program. He will be competing with Ty Hudson for playing time at the point, a combo that should ensure Clemson has at least two quality guards to start as Avry Holmes could shift to the #2 guard if neither Ajukwa or DeVoe getting it done.
I was able to connect with the Editor of Vanderbilt's SB Nation site, Anchor of Gold, for some further breakdown on what we're getting with Shelton Mitchell.
STS: Shelton Mitchell was a highly sought after four-star prospect out of high school with offers from Wake Forest (where he was originally committed), Illinois, California, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Clemson among others. Unfortunately, in his freshman year at Vanderbilt he posted an inefficient Ortg of 88.9, eFG% of 39.8, with just 6-29 shooting from three. He also had the Commodores' worst Turnover Rate at 30.6, meaning nearly a third of the time he ended a Vandy possession it was with a turnover (1.9 TO per game in just 20 minutes per game). After averaging 4.3 ppg, is he just somebody that shouldn't be expected to score?
AOG: The turnover rate stat is a bit misleading. Shelton showed off some great passing instincts and vision at Vandy, but he was also winging passes to other freshmen who weren't quite ready for his style. Playing with a more veteran team would have helped him cut that rate, but he'll also cull it just by growing with his teammates and better understanding their capabilities. He's a smart distributor and you can see that when he plays.
Offensively, he identifies his opportunities to get to the lane, but he became trigger shy towards the end of the year. His outside shooting is his biggest question mark but there's no doubt that he sees the court well and works towards exploiting opponents' mistakes. He should become a better scorer as long as he puts the work in, and that's something he can address in his redshirt year at Clemson.
STS: On the flip side, Mitchell distributed the ball nicely with a team-best 32.7 Assist Rate. With 3.3 APG, can he be counted on to responsibly run the point and be the "straw that stirs the drink" so the speak for our motion offense?
AOG: Absolutely. Like I said, he sees the court extremely well from the point and occasionally even wound up two steps ahead of his own teammates. He can be overzealous at times, but the potential is certainly there. I've been saying that for a while now:
Shelton Mitchell has it. He just needs to keep working. Kid sees the court well, just fails to execute as a freshman. That'll change.— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) March 25, 2015
STS: At 6'4", Mitchell has some good size for a point guard. Last season we often had two players under 6'2" on the court at the same time (Rod Hall and Jordan Roper). While our defense still managed to finish as the 43rd most efficient, could Shelton Mitchell help the Tigers improve on that mark. What does he bring defensively?
AOG: Shelton's a capable defender - long armed and capable of keeping opposing guards in front of him. He got burned a few times in 2014-15 and may struggle to keep up with faster players laterally. He may never be an ACC All-Defense Team candidate, but he should still develop into the kind of player that won't burn you on the defensive end.
A Big thanks to Christian D'Andrea for sharing some insight on the newest Clemson Tiger. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below where we'll be discussing, and remember more basketball news could be right around the corner. We're still on the lookout for Ricky Tarrant, a guard who is leaving Alabama as a graduate transfer and would be immediately eligible and capable of making an impact. He is set to visit Clemson on April 24th. Additionally, Marcquise Reed, from Robert Morris will be visiting on May 7th. Reed is a freshman, so it wouldn't make as much sense after adding Mitchell, but with a 41.2 3P%, who am I to complain. Overall, it's great to see Brownell getting active in this new transfer market that has become an important part of college basketball recruiting.