By Chris Fahrendorf

Lamar “Tre” Mitchell, a redshirt sophomore guard on Phoenix College’s men’s basketball team, picked up his first NCAA Division 1 offer from Central Connecticut State University recently, but the road he took to get there was rocky.

His freshman year, he was playing in a game against Arizona Christian’s JV team. Early on in the game, Mitchell got a steal and went up for the layup, but a defender undercut him in midair and he took a nasty spill.

“I fell instantly, banged my head, blacked out and had a seizure,” Mitchel says. “I was out until the paramedics came and took me to the ER. Luckily all the tests came back negative and I just had a bad concussion for three months.”

Although Mitchell could not play, he was still going to all of the practices to “watch and learn.” He admits doubt crept into his mind because he had so much downtime.

“I had so much time to think about my future,” Mitchell says. “I wasn’t able to pick up a basketball or go shoot around. I just had so much time to think about other stuff I could be doing.”

Looking back now, he believes his concussion may have been a blessing in disguise. The injury forced him to miss the rest of his freshman year season and was granted additional year of eligibility.

“Being able to play college games and then having a whole year basically to watch the games taught me more about what I needed to know going into next season,” Mitchell says. “That was big on me coming back for next season.”

And boy did Mitchell come back.

This season, Mitchell averaged 20 points per game, 3.5 assists per game and 3.3 rebounds per game. To start the season, he scored 30 or more points in five out of seven games.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, he sustained an ankle injury that cost him seven games. When he returned, it took him a couple games to get going. Mitchell finished the season strong, scoring 20 or more points in three out of the last five games.

Through his two injuries, his father offered him support.

“He’s just always been there for me, supporting me in everything I do,” Mitchell says. “He just always motivated me to stay on track and not lose focus of what I wanted. He’s always told me to stay the course, pray on it and speak it into existence.”

After hard work and patience, Mitchell’s dream of playing Division 1 basketball is looking like less of a dream and more of a reality.

Although he has only picked up the Division 1 offer from CCSU, Mitchell says he is garnering interest from other programs. He’s waiting until he’s 100% ready to make a decision.

“It’s just me being patient. I just have to have more talks with my family and coaches. Everybody will be important in me making my decision,” Mitchell says. “My biggest challenge is making sure that I know 100% that I’m ready to make the decision that’s going to change my life for the next two years.”

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