HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s been over a year since Davion Mitchell last returned to his hometown of Hinesville. This time, he returns as the 2021 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and a national champion.

“It feels great to be back home. This parade means a lot to me. I just hope I can inspire the little kids and the kids in high school right now,” Mitchell said. “Just keep working hard and believing in your dreams, and everything will work out.”

Mitchell was met at Liberty County High School, his alma mater, to an entire community ready to celebrate his achievements.

All of his hard work was rewarded by receiving a key to the city of Hinesville, as well as a county-wide holiday made in his honor.

“Therefore be resolved, Liberty County Commission officially declares April 15, 2021, as Davion Mitchell Day in Liberty County,” said Donald Lovett, commission chairman.

Friends, family and coaches gave their remarks and well-wishes to Mitchell. Jimmy Martin, director of the Liberty County Recreation Department, shared his memories of watching Mitchell succeed over the years.

“He won an AAU national championship as a 7th grader. He won the GSA state championship as a senior here at Liberty County, and now, a NCAA Men’s Basketball national championship with the Baylor Bears,” said Martin.

For Mitchell, community outreach is something he’s always dreamed of, but for now, he has his eyes set on Brooklyn, New York — the location of the 2021 NBA Draft.

“A national championship was one thing, but this is just a different league. In the NBA, the national championship doesn’t matter, so I have to work 10 times harder,” said Mitchell.

“I just hope I can inspire the kids in Hinesville and Liberty County,” he added.

Mitchell is currently projected as a top-14 lottery pick in this summer’s upcoming NBA draft and plans to start meeting with agents as early as this weekend.