HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – Ever since he was a boy, Hinesville native Davion Mitchell told people that he wanted to play in the NBA.
He made those dreams a reality Thursday night when the Sacramento Kings selected him with the No. 9 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.
Mitchell is coming off a prolific final season at Baylor, where he won a national championship and several individual honors including the Naismith Award, which is given to the best defensive player in the country.
During this 2020-21 campaign, Mitchell averaged 14 points per game and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field.
Mitchell was a key part of the 2016 Liberty County team that won the 4A state title. He was teammates with Cleveland Browns safety Richard LeCounte and Oregon point guard Will Richardson.
“Davion got here through soul and work ethic,” said his former coach Julian Stokes. “Just putting his head down and grinding. He is deserving of what he wanted and where he wanted to get to. For the kids down here to see that as an example of not having to leave to go to a better school … you just have to put in work.”
Dozens of Mitchell’s friends and family packed into JJ’s Bar and Grill in Hinesville to watch Mitchell get selected.
The crowd exploded when commissioner Adam Silver called his name.
“He’s living the dream,” said childhood friend Brandon Hayes. “He put in a lot of hard work with his uncle and everybody. The whole city is behind him. Everybody is just really proud of him. We’re just really enjoying this moment right now for him.”
Stokes said that Mitchell was a once-in-a-lifetime player.
“I don’t know when or if I’ll ever have another opportunity like this again so just to know that in my first year, this was my first bunch, this is the result of the first group of kids that I had, it means a lot to me personally.” Stokes said.