Boys basketball

Mitchell's transfer from M.C. to Marquette has worked out well on and off the court

2014-03-11T17:00:00Z 2014-03-18T19:36:15Z Mitchell's transfer from M.C. to Marquette has worked out well on and off the courtJim Peters james.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

Marquette High School is a short 4-mile drive across town from Michigan City High School.

For Richie Mitchell, it may as well have been on the other side of the world.

"It was a lot different coming in," said Mitchell, who transferred to the small catholic school in 2012.

Mitchell was a public-school student through his sophomore year, when he played and started some games for the Wolves.

The basketball experience, he said, wasn't an issue, but Mitchell was looking for more from the academic side.

"Educationally, I thought it was better for my future," he said of Marquette. "It was the main reason I came here to check it out. I wanted to stay close to Michigan City. I talked to the coach (Donovan Garletts) and I liked it, so I decided to make the move. It was just a better spot for me. My time at (M.C.) helped me realize it."

Leaving old friends at one school and making new ones at another, all while joining a new team, wasn't an immediate process for Mitchell. In time, he settled in, both on and off the court.

"I definitely made the right decision," Mitchell said. "It helped my grades. It's easier to focus here. It's a lot better environment. It's all about school. I've learned a lot of my life lessons."

As a private school, Marquette doesn't benefit from having players who grew up at the same school on the same team. It is not bounded by districts. Mitchell's arrival coincided with that of Braxton Miller, who came from NorthWood, and Nathan Flores, who came from Lake Station.

"The school is really focused on getting kids accepted in the college of their choice, not just college," assistant coach Jim Bracewell said. "If you don't get the grades, you don't play. When Richie walked in here, it was like a fresh beginning. We didn't dwell on Michigan City at all. It was matter of him getting comfortable with the coaching staff and vice versa."

Mitchell shared time at point guard last season and took over the position this year.

"I feel a lot more comfortable, knowing what's expected of me," he said. "My role on the team is to be a playmaker, take it to the basket and if they stop me, dish it off. I think I can do a little of both."

Third in the Blazers' balanced lineup in scoring (11.5 ppg.), Mitchell leads the teams in assists (3.6 per game) and free throws, where he has made 66 of 76 (87 percent). In the Class A Morgan Township Sectional championship victory over 21st Century, Mitchell poured in 24 points, 14 of them coming at the foul line.

"I didn't want it to be my last game," Mitchell said. "It was a motivational thing. It felt amazing. It's something I've never felt before. It was a good moment. I'll remember it forever."

As happy as he is with Mitchell's progress on the floor, Bracewell is even happier to see him develop outside of basketball.

"He's adjusted very well academically," Bracewell said. "When he came here, he was very quiet. He still is quiet, but there's more interaction with the other players, where last year, he kind of did his own thing. He makes sure he gets all five guys involved. It's fun to see an adolescent mature, to come along as a player as well as a nice, young man."

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