March 3, 2016
By Jack Shields
– In two years at Georgia Tech, Charles Mitchell has made his reputation around the ACC as a ferocious rebounder, a player who compete with passion and has fun both on the court and in the locker room. He has 15 double-doubles this season for the Yellow Jackets and is bidding to become the first Tech player to finish a season averaging in double digits in both points and rebounds. He has more than 1,000 career points and 900 career rebounds.
As someone who likes to have fun and make jokes out on the court during practice, do you think that benefits the team by loosening them up a bit? Is that sometimes your motivation for doing that?
“Everyone knows I’m the joking type. Even in serious moment I might crack a joke just to loosen somebody up, or I just feel like everybody’s too tense – their shoulders are raised, their face is tense. I’m the type of person who smiles a lot, even in bad times. I try to find the good things in everything. Sometimes it loosens them up, and sometimes they’re like ‘you’re kind of playing too muc.’ But it’s never going to stop, because that’s who I am and that’s the type of person I am. I’m always joking, laughing, smiling type just high-fiving for no reason. It just gives off positive energy when you see someone smiling. It’s just a good thing.”
You, Adam, Nick and James all decided to come back to your hometown to play your final years of college basketball. Were you drawn back by the fact that it’s home, or is it something else about Atlanta or Georgia Tech that appeals to you guys?
“First of all, it’s just home and family. Your family gets to see you. We all transferred, so it’s like a second time to make a first impression. It just ties in as one big thing that happened for all of us, which is a good thing. I get a chance to graduate from Georgia Tech. They get a chance to get a graduate degree. We get to play on a team where we all know each other; we’re from the same neighborhood and played AAU together. It’s just one of those happy moments where you never can go wrong.”
You were able to lose 20 pounds and get in much better shape in the offseason. What kinds of dietary and fitness habits helped you to reach that goal?
“When it’s the off-season, you still have to do stuff with your team, but it’s the stuff that you do when you’re not around your team that really helped me the most. I never used to just get up and run or get up and work out, but mentally, I knew I had to do those extra things outside of the things I was doing. And when that kicked in, I knew I had to start doing this for myself, and then everything fell into place and it just happened.”
What do you usually do to kill time on a road trip before a late game?
“I think anybody will tell you I sleep anywhere – on the bus, on the plane, in the lobby waiting on the keys to the hotel room. Any little time I can get to take a nap, even if it’s like 15 minutes, I’m taking that 15 minutes. When we have late games, as soon as we get to the hotel, I don’t only get under the covers, I get the extra blanket out of the closet, and I just fall asleep on the bed. And then I just wake up and go downstairs for dinner and our meeting.”
In your time in college basketball who has been the toughest player to guard, and why? “I have three players, and this was when I was younger and I didn’t understand the game of basketball as well. My two years at Maryland, I didn’t get to play a lot, but I practiced against Alex Len every day. And I used to get so upset, because I’m like ‘why is he so much better than me?’ I remember a stretch of practice where I scored on him a couple of times, and after that I didn’t score on him for about 10 practices in a row. Just guarding him knowing that he’s an NBA-caliber player was tough for me, but it helped me mentally. Then I had James Michael McAdoo my freshman year or sophomore year. He was a high-energy player. He ended up ripping my jersey that game. And Mason Plumlee, just because he was so athletic. Even though I could rebound, he was just taking the rebounds over the top of me. So those are the three players I will always remember. It was those three moments.
What is the best advice that Coach Gregory has given you since you’ve been here?
“You can’t think about the past. Anything you’ve done today is over with. What you do today is going to show tomorrow, like how you work today. If you dwell on the past, you can’t focus on what’s up next. That’s something I always used to struggle with, dwelling on the past and what I’ve done before, even if it’s good or bad. I was always dwelling on it. He said I couldn’t worry about what happened yesterday. All I can worry about is today. Focus on tomorrow. SO that’s something I’ll always take with me.”
In your two years playing at Georgia Tech, what’s been the biggest thrill?
“Just walking out on the court knowing I’m playing in the city of Atlanta, and just that energy and that vibe you get, knowing I played high school, middle school and finished my college career here. It’s kind of special to me.”
What thoughts will be going through your head on Senior Night?
“I can’t believe it’s finally here. I was always told, when you get college, it will go by quick. But I’m nine games away from my last home college game. It’s going to be emotional for me, but I’m walking out with my family knowing they’ve been through these last two years with me, and they’ve seen my progression. I’m going to be happy, but it will be a bittersweet moment, because the real world kind of hits. I’m just taking it all in.”