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Elite ’14 point guard Shelton Mitchell picks Wake Forest

While middling through an unimpressive season thus far, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons received some terrific news on Friday night, with the verbal commitment of stellar 2014 point guard Shelton Mitchell of Cuthberson (NC). Mitchell is a skilled and savvy point guard with 6′-3″ height on his 175 pound frame, and is easily the best recruiting score that coach Jeff Bzdelik has landed during his short tenure as the head coach at Wake Forest. Mitchell had a bevy of high-major scholarship offers, including the Arizona Wildcats, Connecticut Huskies, South Carolina Gamecocks, Illinois Fighting Illini and others.

Mitchell announced his verbal commitment via his Twitter account, which came as somewhat of a surprise in terms of timing, due to the fact that his stock continues to rise.

Mitchell ranks at No. 34 overall in our 2014 class rankings, but more importantly comes in as the No. 7 point guard. Still, he could just as easily be better than that, as beyond elite lead guard prospects Emmanuel Mudiay of Texas and Tyus Jones of Minnesota, there is an argument Mitchell could climb up with a ceiling as the No. 3 point guard overall in the class. Along with his on the court skill set, he’s got a winning attitude and unselfishness that is sometimes unique among talented prospects.

The first recruit in the 2014 class at Wake Forest, Mitchell rates as a necessary building block in helping to bring in talent. Also, Mitchell plays on the grassroots circuit for the CP3 All-Stars, with Chris Paul, of course, being a former ACC rookie of the year and elite pro as a Wake Forest alum. It would be useful for Wake Forest to land a teammate on the talented CP3 All-Stars of Mitchell, if possible.

Realistically, it’s still difficult to see the trajectory of the Wake Forest program. The transition to Bzdelik has not worked as expected. The prior head coach, Dino Gaudio, had three winning seasons and two NCAA tournament berths, while Bzedlik’s first two team’s have not approached a winning record or ACC competitiveness. That could be a danger sign in an ACC that will continue to get better through new school additions. Mitchell is definitely a huge positive though.

Wake Forest has two prospects signed for 2013 thus far, forward Greg McClinton and wing Miles Overton. That duo placed Wake Forest as the No. 9 class for the early signing period in the ACC.

As it stands, there’s no reason to expect that Mitchell won’t challenge to start as a freshman. The current freshmen class is getting plenty of minutes, most notably guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. Still, Mitchell is a pure point guard and table setter, and if he continues his development he could certainly work alongside Miller-McIntyre going forward.

About K.J. Hassenstab

K.J. Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and Hoopniks.com. He founded Hoopniks.com in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's HighSchoolHoop.com, and NBCSports.com, along with other publications in the past. Hassenstab has covered grassroots, high school and basketball recruiting for over a decade. Follow on Twitter, @Hoopniks.

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