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Texas F Dillon Mitchell ‘leaning towards’ staying in 2023 NBA Draft

After one season with the Longhorns, Mitchell has raised his stock this week at the NBA Draft Combine.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional- Miami (FL) vs Texas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Longhorns forward Dillon Mitchell said Wednesday that he’s “definitely leaning towards” remaining in the 2023 NBA Draft a little more than a month after declaring while maintaining his collegiate eligibility.

On Thursday, Creative Artists Agency announced Mitchell as a client, another likely step towards an immediate professional future for the Florida product.

All of that news comes in the midst of an impressive NBA Draft Combine performance by Mitchell, who has experienced a rollercoaster year since signing with the Longhorns as the nation’s No. 8 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. As Mitchell prepared to arrive on the Forty Acres, a 2023 mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathon Givony slotted Mitchell as the No. 7 pick thanks to an impressive senior season.

However, on a deep and experienced Texas team as a freshman, Mitchell was lost in the shuffle at times — he 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 lack of offensive production from Mitchell resulted in a slide down draft boards following the season, positioning the combine as massively important for his stock. Mitchell responded, verifying his obvious athleticism with a 30.5-inch standing vertical and 37-inch max vertical while posting a 10.92 lane agility time that ranked 15th overall. More importantly, Mitchell showed off a retooled jump shot in drills, hitting 16-of-25 three-point attempts and generally impressing observers.

The improvement didn’t immediately translate to a scrimmage in which Mitchell missed both three-point attempts and was 1-of-6 shooting overall, but he did hit a jumper off the dribble and has made quick strides with his shooting since the season ended.

With Mitchell’s strong combine, his draft stock is rising again and projects towards the end of the first round or early in the second round, almost certainly enough improvement to officially end his time at Texas in the coming days.

Mitchell currently has a pre-draft workout scheduled with the Indiana Pacers, who hold the No. 26, No. 29, and No. 32 picks and have a need at the power forward position.