Gary Williams reflects on time spent in Cole Field House
COLLEGE PARK--Charles Mitchell has slimmed down.
Now, he’s still not a small man. Let’s not be crazy. They’re not lining up around the block to take a charge from the re-energized, revitalized 6-8, 250-pound sophomore from Georgia. But still, he's slimmer.
After trimming off close to 20 pounds in the offseason, head coach Mark Turgeon says Mitchell has cut off another eight over the past two weeks as Maryland prepares for its regular season opener on Friday against Connecticut.
“I’m flying around everywhere, playing above the rim,” Mitchell said. “I feel like a whole new person, so it’s great going into the season.”
Mitchell’s new-found explosiveness and conditioning were key on Sunday afternoon in Maryland’s 84-39 exhibition win over Catholic, a game in which he finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Early in the game his shots around the rim weren’t falling, but he was persistent and used his size to his advantage against a smaller Catholic front line to rebound his misses and put them back up.
He played 19 minutes, but was actually stronger once the second half rolled around. He wasn't laboring at the rim when rebounding his misses and was able to keep up when the Terrapins got out in transition.
“After practice, before practice, the treadmill became my best friend,” Mitchell said. “Just every day before or after practice running for 35, 45 minutes just to get extra conditioning.”
Turgeon said he plans on using Mitchell, fellow sophomore Shaquille Cleare, or center Damonte Dodd on the floor at all times this season as a traditional center, which means Mitchell will see major minutes.
On Friday against Connecticut, he’ll battle a front line that includes athletic forwards DeAndre Daniels and freshman Kentan Facey.
“I haven’t had a day off since three weeks ago,” Mitchell says proudly. “Just running and getting extra conditioning and in practice giving it all I’ve got.”