March 08, 2012|By Matt Bracken | The Baltimore Sun
Maryland's plus-sized 2012 basketball recruiting class got a little bit bigger Thursday.
Half an hour before the Terps tipped off against Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC tournament, Charles Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 ½, 250-pound power forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Ga., tweeted that he would be wearing “a Maryland uniform next year.”
“I kind of knew he liked them,” said Wheeler coach Doug Lipscomb. “I knew he liked [College Park] a lot. I knew he had a good relationship with the coaching staff, too.”
A four-star prospect and the No. 76 senior nationally according to Rivals.com, Mitchell joins a Terps class that already features center Shaquille Cleare (6-9), power forward Damonte Dodd (6-9), small forward Jake Layman (6-8) and combo guard Seth Allen (6-2).
Mitchell, who took an official visit to College Park earlier this week, picked the Terps over offers from Florida State, Seton Hall, Tennessee and several others. Mitchell took a trip to Tallahassee right before heading up the coast to College Park.
“Then he came back and told me what he was going to do,” Lipscomb said. “I said congratulations. I’m sure he’s happy.”
Lipscomb first met Mitchell when he was a 6-foot-5, wide-bodied eighth grader. The future Terp joined Wheeler’s powerhouse varsity squad the following fall, biding his time as a backup to four-star forwards Richard Howell (North Carolina State) and Ari Stewart (Wake Forest, USC) on a state championship team.
Conditioning was an issue throughout Mitchell's high school career, but Lipscomb said he’s much improved in that department. Evan Daniels, Scout.com’s national recruiting analyst, said staying in shape will be key for Mitchell in college.
“He was definitely one of the better available post prospects in the 2012 class,” Daniels said. “He’s a guy at 6-7, probably 250 pounds or so, that can really take up some space. He’s got a good set of hands and is pretty tough around the basket. And when he’s motivated, he can really rebound the basketball. He let his body go a little bit last summer, but he’s got a chance to be a good player at Maryland.”
As a senior, Mitchell averaged around 17 points and 12 rebounds for an injury plagued Wheeler squad that was eliminated in the Sweet 16 of Georgia’s 5AAAAA tournament.
“He’s been a blessing to have around,” Lipscomb said. “We’re going to miss him. If you think about Wheeler basketball the last four or five years, you think Chuck’s been in high school a long time. He’s been on varsity a long time.”
Daniels, who ranks Mitchell a three-star prospect and the No. 27 center nationally, said the future Terp fits in well with Maryland’s statuesque 2012 class – a Top 15 group in the country. Mitchell and Cleare will be expected to provide “beef in the interior.” That’s a role Lipscomb is confident his star player can fill.
“I think his ability to rebound and finish around the bucket and defend” will stand out, Lipscomb said. “I think it’s going to be a growing process with him. That’s always the case with most freshmen at the college level. That’s why it’s college. It’s a faster game. Him getting up there in the summer, working out with the guys, it’s going to be nothing but beneficial.”