Razorback Quarterback Brandon Mitchell Hoping To Get Basketball Playing Time Soon

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 3:48 pm  

Quarterback Brandon Mitchell works with Arkansas basketball assistant Matt Zimmerman prior to practice on Thursday. Mitchell is walking on with the basketball team.

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas basketball practice was still a few minutes from starting, but the team’s most recent roster addition was already on the court Thursday. Quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who joined the team last week, was working out with assistant coach Matt Zimmerman.

Mitchell has only dressed out and sat on the bench for the Razorbacks in one game, and sat behind the bench in street clothes for another, but he’s hoping for more. That’s why he’s getting extra work in with coaches in hopes of soaking up as much information as he can.

"It’s been a little difficult at times, but with me being a quarterback, picking up on the plays wasn’t too hard," said Mitchell, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound small forward.

Asked if he was considering basketball full-time with quarterback Tyler Wilson returning for his senior season, Mitchell said he was still "a scholarship football player." He will continue to work out with football and work to juggle the two sports this spring semester.

Mitchell said Coach Petrino, himself a two-sport athlete in college, supported the move.

“He told me to just go out there and help the team win, go be a leader,” he said.

Coach Mike Anderson is still evaluating Mitchell, who was recruited for both football and basketball out of high school. Mitchell could potentially play on Saturday at 1 p.m. when the Razorbacks (13-5) host No. 19 Michigan (15-4) in a non-conference game.

“He won’t learn everything we do, but he’ll at least have a basic idea of the things we do day-in and day-out,” Anderson said. “He’s very athletic. He loves the game. He’s always listening.”

Coaches have been impressed with the way Mitchell picks up what they're teaching. Teammates have noted Mitchell's athleticism. Mitchell said he has played pickup ball with the team before and YouTube clips of him in a campus intramural dunk contest have been circulating for at least a year.

“He’s a freak athlete,” senior forward Marvell Waithe said. “He’s physical. He’s a football player, and that’s something he’s going to bring to the team.”

Mitchell walked on with the Razorbacks in 2009-10. He appeared in four games, totaling five points in 34 minutes.

That short-lived time with hoops wasn't enough to satisfy Mitchell's longing to contribute in baskebtll. He said the idea to try again hit him over the Christmas break. He approached Anderson once returning from a few days off following the Cotton Bowl.

Already, Mitchell said, he can tell a difference between his first and current times on the court. Anderson has brought positive change to the program.

"It's a lot different, up-tempo," Mitchell said. "Guys seem like they have more chemistry, more of a family atmosphere. It's fun."



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