Ohio State basketball standout Kelsey Mitchell always looking for improvement

Posted at 12:00 PM, Jul 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-09 19:34:43-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kelsey Mitchell was a finalist for every major national college women’s basketball award last season. She was a consensus All-American.

But, the Ohio State junior guard is also mindful of self-assessment on the court and in the classroom.

The 2014 Princeton High School graduate is working on improving her shot this summer in daily team workouts. She plays basketball every day. Anywhere.

She worked out with her brothers Kevin and Cameron this week. She will play games at Columbus State Community College.

And she is taking a children’s literature course along with a challenging global politics class on campus. She was on the Dean's List during the spring semester.

“I’m trying to stay consistent, trying to stay confident,” Mitchell told this week. “You know confidence has always been one of my main things that I’ve been working to focus on.”

Mitchell has been active in the weight room working to improve her upper body strength and her legs to prepare for the grind of 40 minutes a game. She likes to joke she’s always in a running mode, too.

Summer is not the time to relax for Mitchell for the Buckeyes (26-8 in 2015-16), who lost to Tennessee in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season. Mitchell said the team goal is to at least reach the Elite Eight.

The camaraderie for such a goal is built this time of the year.

“For her being an upperclassman, I think she will take even more of a leadership role,” said Princeton High School coach Jill Phillips.

Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff agrees. Mitchell has the spotlight so often because of her awards and stats, but she also has been team first in high school and college.

“She’s such an outstanding young person and it’s really neat to see the growth in her leadership skills,” McGuff said.

Ohio State workouts this month in Columbus emphasize ball-handling and emphasize consistency on offense.

“Kelsey is in the midst of having a terrific summer,” McGuff said. “She is working extremely hard as usual, but probably more importantly, she is doing great at positively impacting her teammates on and off the court.”

As a sophomore last season, Mitchell broke her own single-season school record with 889 points. She led the Big Ten in scoring average and was third nationally at 26.1 points per game.

Mitchell scored an Ohio State NCAA Tournament record 45 points in the win over West Virginia on March 20. That was fourth-most points in a single game in NCAA Tournament history.

Ohio State opens the season Nov. 14 in an intriguing matchup against South Carolina. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 2 nationally in last season’s opener that the Buckeyes lost by eight points.

Also of note, Ohio State will also host the University of Cincinnati Dec. 4 at Value City Arena. The complete schedule will likely be known by late September.