From Field to Court, Mitchell Leads

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

image1 (4)When the game clock struck triple zeroes in the season finale of Robinson’s football season, most players shifted focus to next season. The same can be said for Iyan Mitchell (’16), but he didn’t have to wait until August. When the pads came off, his shoes were laced up and squeaking on the hardwood floor.

“You don’t ever get bored. There’s always something to do,” Mitchell said. “But playing two sports, you have to work 10 times harder.”

Just over two weeks after Robinson’s 21-6 loss to Jefferson, in which Mitchell scored the Knights’ only touchdown, he put up 26 points in Robinson basketball’s season-opening win against King. The sport had changed, but the production had not. Neither had the leadership. Mitchell, who served as a captain of the football team in the fall, is in full swing of captaining another team. Two different sports, same leadership.

“I think I just have it in me. I always want to win and I will do anything to get the W,” he said. “I want to lead my teammates because I feel like we all need each other to win. You need all the parts to create the puzzle.”

Even if his motivation isn’t in the stands, it is still with him.  A close friend of his, Jamarie Hodges, died in November of 2012 at the age of 16. The two friends regularly spoke before games, and to this day, Mitchell still speaks out loud to Hodges before every game.

“I have my motivation that comes from the friends that I’ve lost,” he said. “I think about them every minute of the day.”

That motivation has led to consistency on the field and the court. In his senior football season, he caught 38 passes for 461 yards and four touchdowns. Through 10 games of his final basketball season as a Knight, he is averaging 14.8 points per game.

Iyan Mitchell ('15) blocks Jesuit's players. Mitchell lead the team with 14 points.

Although he is no stranger to being a two-sport athlete, Mitchell will experience something new on Saturday: playing a football game in the middle of basketball season. He will suit up for the West in Saturday’s Hillsborough County East/West All-Star Game at Raymond James Stadium.

“[Saturday] gives me the opportunity to just forget about the past and all the struggles I’ve been through and release it through the way I play,” he said.

While he says it will feel great to be back on the football field, he admits this week’s weight-lifting has messed with his shot.

When the game clock hits triple zeroes again on Saturday night, Mitchell will have no real break. Monday afternoon, he will lead the Knights back on to the court, opening the City of Tampa Tournament.

As the pads come off, it’s back to the court once again.