Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Dillon Mitchell wants another chance at a national title

Assad Malik

Sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell reflected on the brand new Texas men’s basketball team and his decision to stay in the program after his promising freshman season.

“I want to win the national championship, and I’m gonna keep the main thing, the main thing,” Mitchell said about his goal for his second year.

After a long run to the Elite Eight last season, both Mitchell and current junior guard Tyrese Hunter declared for the NBA draft. The two later withdrew in exchange for another season on the Forty Acres. 

Hunter, after announcing his withdrawal, was one of the main contributing factors in Mitchell’s own return. Hunter told the young athlete that he has to be consistent in order to succeed.

“That was one of the biggest things I told him. I was on the phone with him when he made the decision of coming back,” Hunter said. “I was talking about, me, you come back together. We  can help the program, keep that uprising going.’”

With at least one more year as a Longhorn, Mitchell, who averaged 4.3 points per game last season, now wants to focus on his defensive game so he could be ready for a future NBA draft.

“The next step in the NBA, they’re not drafting for a player to come in to score 30 points, they draft it for players that can make an impact right away. And, I think one of the biggest ways I can get it back is defensively,”  Mitchell said. “I think that’s one part of my game that I really want to show this year, that I’m one of the best defenders in the country.”

Mitchell is one of only eight returners to the team, with a majority of the roster made up of freshman or transfer students. Graduate guard Max Abmas was an addition that impressed Mitchell upon meeting. Abmas led Oral Roberts to a stunning Sweet 16 run in the 2021 NCAA tournament, becoming the first player since Stephen Curry in 2008 to notch at least 25 points per game in the first three rounds of the tournament. On top of being the leading scorer for the Oral Roberts, Mitchell thinks that his leadership abilities are also a notable part of his game and will be very beneficial to Texas in the upcoming season.

“I think one of the biggest things is that Max is a leader. Him, being one of the smallest guys on the court, he holds his ground. He leads, and he talks and he communicates,” Mitchell said. “And, I think just the relationship we have off the court  really helps on the court.”

One of Mitchell’s main reasons for taking on another Texas season is the craving for a national championship. After nearly making the Final Four, Mitchell believes that there will be adversity along the way, but, with progress, he can see his dream of a championship being a reality. 

“I think it brought up a lot (of emotions) for some of our returning players like Tyrese and Brock (Cunningham), knowing that we’re right there. And we could have went all the way but you know, we fell short,” Mitchell said. “And, it just builds a lot of, not anger, but just that want. We want it.”

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About the Contributor
Assad Malik, Photo Editor
Assad Malik is a sophomore RTF major at UT and serves as the Photo Editor for The Daily Texan.