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Texas F Dillon Mitchell declares for 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining eligibility

The Florida native was considered a potential lottery pick entering his freshman season, but proved to be extremely raw offensively.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Penn State vs Texas Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Another Texas Longhorns player is declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining their eligibility with Wednesday’s announcement from rising sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell, who joins rising junior guard Tyrese Hunter.

A 6’7, 205-pounder from Tampa, Mitchell was a huge recruiting coup for the Longhorns in the 2022 class, choosing Texas over 15 other offers, including Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. Mitchell arrived on the Forty Acres with high expectations as a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the No. 5 player nationally and the No. 2 power forward in the 247Sports Composite rankings — the Montverde alum was considered a potential lottery pick and one-and-done prospect thanks to his elite athleticism.

Mitchell proved to be a hard worker and a good teammate capable of making highlight-reel dunks and blocks, but despite starting for the Horns, only played 17.4 minutes as a freshman, averaging 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Notably, opponents started leaving Mitchell alone offensively other than to keep him from getting dunks or offensive rebounds, as he proved incapable of regularly beating opponents off the dribble or creating shots away from the basket — he led the team with 32 dunks, but didn’t attempt a three and only went 7-of-32 shooting on far twos while making just 40.5 percent at the free-throw line.

The poor free-throw shooting for Mitchell bodes poorly for his ability to develop a jump shot, resulting in a tumble on draft boards well out of the first round. The question for Mitchell is whether coming back for another year and failing to address his deficiencies would further hurt his draft stock or whether some offensive improvement could add some diversity to his game and allow him to score in different ways.

Otherwise, Mitchell is going to have trouble lifting his stock back into the top of the first round where he was projected a year ago or even into the first round at all.