Donovan Mitchell, the rookie of the year candidate, did not want to declare for the 2017 NBA draft. No matter how crazy this sounds today, he was ready to come back to Louisville for his third year.
Paul George and Chris Paul helped convince Donovan Mitchell, who was afraid of going undrafted, to declare for the 2017 draft. Less than a year later, Mitchell and the Jazz eliminate George in the first round and are set to take on Chris in the second round
"When I left school, my room was still clean, full of stuff," Mitchell said. "I never packed. I was coming back for the third year. In my head, 100 percent, coming back."
It's safe to say Pitino wanted to keep Mitchell in Louisville. Donovan paid all of his expenses when he traveled to Thousand Oaks last spring to participate in the Creative Artists Agency pre-draft camp because he wanted to maintain his eligibility at Louisville.
Chris Paul and Paul George worked out with Mitchell at the camp and helped convince him he was already good enough for the league.
"He's really good," George told reporters recently, calling Mitchell the steal of the draft. "He's a tough, fearless kid. We all saw that working out with him this past summer. I knew he was going to blossom."
Paul and Mitchell still talk several times a week.
"He can really, really play," Paul said. "I'm not surprised by it at all. He can play. He's strong, and he loves the game -- both ends, whether it's offense or defense. I don't know if it's because he's in Utah, everybody's surprised by it. I'm not."
Here are some of his sophomore year highlights from Louisville.