While not a traditional assistant coach at Illinois last season, Branden Miller didn't lose his desire to recruit. He has quickly started to recruit and one of his first targets at Butler is Devin Mitchell from Collins Hill (GA) High School.
The 6-foot 3, combo guard helped lead the Eagles to a record of 19-11 and trip to the state tournament. The 2012-13 season was a vast improvement from 2011-12, where they won just 9 games and didn't qualify for the state tournament.
Mitchell led Gwinnett County in scoring at 22 points per game, while averaging 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
"Scoring kind of comes naturally," Mitchell said. "I've been told I can fill it up pretty easily and I can find other guys. My favorite thing is when everyone gets going."
Mitchell is working to refine his game this summer, and focus on the little things that make a great all-around player.
"I'm definitely working on on-ball defense," Mitchell said. "I'm a good help-side defender. This year I really improved that and just understanding defenses. We play zone at my high school, so I've figured out the little parts of the zone. Defensively I know what I'm supposed to be doing, I just have do it all the time."
College coaches across the country have taken notice of his hard work.
Mitchell currently has offers from Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama, Charlotte, LaSalle, Cincinnati, UAB, Georgia Southern, and Richmond, while Miami (FL), NC State, Marquette, Houston, and Butler all seem to be on the verge of offering.
While Mitchell has a lot of options, he isn't ready to narrow his choices yet.
"I'm still open to everybody," Mitchell told IDP. "My biggest thing is coaching. Whatever coach I really feel comfortable with, that's where I'm going to end up going. I also like basketball schools. I want to go to a basketball school."
One of the first offers that Mitchell has received is from Georgia, where he has also visited.
"The Georgia offer was pretty special, because I'm in Georgia," Mitchell explained. "When the hometown school offers you, it's always big. That was the first visit I took and it was good. I like Georgia. It was definitely a football school, over basketball. It seemed like it was a nice place. Basketball could get rockin' and rollin' there if they get the right people."
With a variety of offers in hand, Mitchell could see himself playing almost anywhere in the country.
"I definitely think I can play in the Big Ten," Mitchell explained. "I think that my skill set is good enough to play there. Definitely the Big East and ACC. I think I need to get a lot more athletic to play in the SEC, which I'm working on right now."
Butler has joined the recruitment of Mitchell recently.
"I actually just met Coach (Brandon) Miller last week," Mitchell explained. "My middle school coach actually knew Coach Miller for a while. He said he wanted me to call him. We talked for a little while and he explained Butler was a good place to be for basketball. I was telling him I was interested and he will start recruiting me. He will be out to watch me in the spring."
Miller and Stevens will have plenty of opportunities to see Mitchell and his Georgia Stars AAU team in action over the next few months, as they travel to California, Virginia, Texas, and Minnesota for tournaments.
With all the national exposure for the Bulldogs over the past few seasons, Mitchell is familiar with Butler.
"Butler is definitely a big basketball school, and I heard their arena is awesome," Mitchell said. "I know Coach Stevens is a great coach and he knows what he is doing both offensively and defensively. He seems like a loyal guy too, most of the players that he has on his team have been there awhile. He seems like a good guy."
Mitchell will make one official visit in the spring, which is yet to be determined, and the rest next fall. He plans to make a decision in the early signing period.
Butler currently doesn't have a commitment in the Class of 2014.