Mitchell, Reed excited to come back together
Christmas came on May 30 for Clemson head coach Brad Brownell. The Tigers’ head coach got word Wednesday morning from guards Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed that they were both returning to Tigertown for their final season.
“It is a great day for sure,” Brownell said to The Clemson Insider. “I’m just really happy that those guys decided to come back. They are tremendous players. Having graduated already, it makes it a little bit uneasy, but at the same time, I think they have things they want to improve upon and have certainly enjoyed their time at Clemson.”
Mitchell and Reed withdrew their names for the NBA Draft Wednesday after going through workouts with NBA teams the last three weeks. Draft eligible players who declared themselves eligible for the draft but did not sign an agent had until 11:59 p.m. tonight to submit paperwork to the NCAA that they were returning to college.
Along with Elijah Thomas, Mitchell and Reed helped guide Clemson to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in seven years this past season, and to the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1997.
Reed led the Tigers at 15.8 points per game. He also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, while helping Clemson to a 25-10 record and a tie for third place in the ACC Standings. He also shot 43 percent from the field and 84.5 percent from the foul line.
Mitchell averaged 12.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 2017-’18, to go along with 3.7 assists per night. He led the team in free throw shooting at 85.7 percent as well, while also shooting 40 percent from the field.
With the two guards coming back, plus center Elijah Thomas, Clemson will likely be one of the favorites in the ACC next year. CBS Sports.com already has the Tigers ranked No. 23 in their preseason basketball poll for next season.
“I got calls from both of them this morning and it was good to hear from them,” Brownell said. “The excitement in their voice was good. I think their families are excited about next year. It has a chance to be another really good season.
“Those guys, along with Elijah coming back, you have three talented players that were a part of a very successful team. Certainly, their leadership will be huge in us moving forward.”
Clemson also returns Amir Simms, who started 12 games last season after Donte Grantham tore his ACL. The Tigers must replace Gabe DeVoe and Grantham as well as Mark Donnal and David Skara.
Brownell thinks Mitchell and Reed carried things to the final day of the decision because they wanted to not only test the waters of the NBA draft process, but also to take a good long breath and decide what they wanted to do with their lives a little bit.
Both players graduated three weeks ago with degrees in communications.
“You don’t think about that with guys who still have eligibility left and you don’t run into these situations as often, though I think you will now because you have guys graduating early with eligibility still left,” Brownell said. “Does it makes sense to go back and play or ‘do I want to go and start making money?’ Certainly, both guys are capable to go make money right now and start their pro careers.
“I think sometimes people kind of forget that. Those guys had to sit out a year so to go back to school for your fifth year, there is a little bit of a sacrifice that you are making, but those guys have certainly enjoyed their time at Clemson. I think they feel they have more that they want to do and they are excited to do it together.”