The Monday before Christmas Florida received seasons greetings in the form of an unofficial visit from fast-rising junior guard Donovan Mitchell of Brewster Academy.
If you're not familiar with Mitchell, don't worry, you're not alone. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard has flown a bit under the radar primarily as a result of playing for a couple of small schools in New England, combined with breaking his wrist last May, which caused him to miss time on the AAU circuit.
However, things began to change when Mitchell transferred to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH.
"When I ended up going to Brewster, all of the schools that never came to my old school for open gym came to see us," said Mitchell of the Academy whose list of recent alumni includes Gators guard Eli Carter, Mitch McGary (Michigan), T.J. Warren (NC State) and C.J. Fair (Syracuse).
"The name Brewster in itself attracts attention. I never thought I'd be playing at Brewster, but one thing led to another and I'm here. I like playing for a coach (head coach Jason Smith) that has coached so many great players," Mitchell continued.
Mitchell's stock is rising and with him attending school in New England, getting him on campus for an unofficial visit, while his team was in-state for the City of Palms Classic, was a big deal for the Gators.
"This was the biggest high major visit we've taken yet," said Mitchell who was accompanied on the visit by his mother and younger sister. "Coach (Rashon) Burno took us around the athletic facilities and we talked to the academic counselor too. The campus is big which I liked. Fans were tweeting to me while I was on the visit, I was surprised they knew who I was. But that told me they have a good fan base. Coach Donovan said he was very interested in me and going to come see after the new year. Overall it was a good visit."
Currently holding offers from Providence, Boston College, Iowa, Iona, Cincinnati, St. John's, Seton Hall, Creighton, Marquette, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland and Fordham; Mitchell didn't name any favorites but said that all the schools that have offered are recruiting him the same. He's also hearing from Kansas, but they hadn't offered at the time of the interview.
When it comes time to decide on a school Mitchell knows what factors will be important.
"First of all it's not about the name of the school," he said. "It could be a big name or a small name school, but I do want to play my freshman year. I'm looking for a great relationship with the coaching staff, not just with me but with my parents too. Someone my mom and dad can trust. And I'm looking for a school that has a fast pace offense."
Brewster Academy's philosophy under Coach Smith is to not publicize player stats, but instead focus on winning games. However, Coach Smith did tell Inside the Gators via text that Mitchell has started every game he's played for Brewster and is averaging about 27-28 minutes per game (they play NCAA rules -- 40 minute games).
Mitchell is currently rated as a three-star prospect, ranked No. 104 on the Rivals150 for the class of 2015.