Updated: Apr 11, 2020
For the next installment of the Q&A series, Pro Insight presents the 2019 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Tre Mitchell, from Woodstock, Connecticut:
Pro Insight: You were named 2019 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year. What did that mean to you?
Tre Mitchell: It was nice to be recognized for the hard work I’ve put in over the past couple of years, transforming my body and my game. I’ve been getting deep into basketball, more than I ever have before, so it was nice to be recognized for that.
PI: Talk a little about the body transformation.
TM: When I got to Woodstock last year I came in around 270 [pounds] and 33% body fat. Today, I’m 240 [pounds] and 16% body fat. So, it just shows what hard work can do over the course of a year or two.
PI: Describe your game. What are your greatest strengths?
TM: As a big, I think I can stretch the floor pretty well. I think my overall feel for the game is good, like I know how to position myself for rebounds. I can pass the ball extremely well and I can cause problems for another big by stretching the floor and making him actually move off pick and rolls or pick and pops.
PI: What are your weaknesses or areas you are trying to improve?
TM: Just continuing to transform my body and improving my motor.
PI: Your coach at Woodstock Academy, Tony Bergeron, has been a successful coach in New England for a while and he’s coached some pros over the years. What have been the most important things you’ve learned from him over the last two years?
TM: One of the most important things was being able to take in what someone says to you and dissect everything they’ve said and pick out the more important parts of what they are saying and have it translate on the floor. He taught me how to be a leader and know when to talk to my guys and help pick them up. And, really, he taught me to not overthink on the basketball court, just do what you do.
PI: Out of all the guys you have matched up with, who was the toughest? Why did he give you so much trouble?
TM: No one particular comes to mind… but the toughest matchup was probably last summer against James Wiseman. He was probably the most difficult guy to guard. He’s so lengthy so he brings a lot of different things to the floor. He can stretch the floor so you can’t really forget about him. His length is just incredible, he interrupts a lot of shots, you can just tell how much impact he has on someone driving to the hoop.
PI: Do you watch more college or NBA basketball? What are you looking for when you watch?
TM: In the NBA, there are a couple players I watch more to break down their game a little bit. But I actually look more into college basketball because that’s where I am going to be next year. So, I’m trying to get a knack for some of the bigs, things that they can do and what they struggle with and see how movements get different guys open, how the defense reacts to certain things.
PI: Who are some of the NBA players you like to watch?
TM: Al Horford is someone I look to for my game. Demarcus Cousins, how aggressive he plays, his presence. Guys like that, who can stretch the floor but also play in the post and pass the ball.
PI: College or pro, current or former player – do you model your game after anyone?
TM: As I was growing up my mind was all over the place so I was trying to take parts of different guys games, like LeBron or KD, those top name guys. But once I started getting serious about basketball I looked more for people that were similar to my play type, like Al Horford.
PI: Who would you say has influenced your life the most up to this point?
TM: Definitely my mother. She’s always been there for me, always pushing me to do more. She never accepted anything but the best for me and continuously raises the bar for me to do better.
PI: Name 4 words that best describe you.
TM: Chill. Loyal. Self-motivated. Passionate.
PI: What, or who, is your biggest motivation in life?
TM: The people around me, like my mother. And when I’m on the court, my teammates. Just doing everything I can to make sure we get a win, or make sure at the end of the day that my mom is pleased with everything I’ve done and how I’ve grown up.
PI: What’s an obstacle you’ve overcome? What did that teach you?
TM: It’s an ongoing thing, people doubting me all the time. I have a couple people in my corner that continuously push me and know where I can be. But there’s those people that always have something to say, always trying to bring the negative into play, saying I can’t accomplish something if I go somewhere. When I came [to Woodstock Academy] there were people telling me I would never make it anywhere and just because you are going so far away to play basketball doesn’t change who you are or what you can do. It’s all just motivation really.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Who was it from?
TM: A coach at Wake Forest, I always dwelled on a play that happened or what I should have done, but he told me that you can’t change what happened, you just have to focus on the next play.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want people to remember you for?
TM: I want people to remember me because they doubted me and I proved them wrong. All those people who continuously say that I can’t do something. I want them to think ‘that kid was driven and he changed his life, he worked hard on and off the court and is getting the best out of this world that he can.’
PI: 10 years from now, where do you want to be?
TM: Hopefully I’m playing [basketball] professionally, making as much money as I can, enjoying life and leaving a nice legacy to continue.