High School Sports

All-Area boys’ basketball: Fort Mill’s Tanner Mitchell is the player of the year

Fort Mill's Tanner Mitchell makes his way to the free throw line as Fort Mill hosts Nation Ford in boys varsity basketball.
Fort Mill's Tanner Mitchell makes his way to the free throw line as Fort Mill hosts Nation Ford in boys varsity basketball. Special to The Herald

Fort Mill was picked to finish fifth in Region 3-4A in the coaches’ preseason poll. Senior Tanner Mitchell is a big reason why the Yellow Jackets won the region.

The Herald’s 2015-16 All-Area player of the year was the top scorer on the area’s best team, but he got his points within the team’s offense, without forcing the issue.

“There may be better scorers in our area, but just as far as a pure basketball player, there weren’t any better,” said Fort Mill coach Dwayne Hartsoe, who is The Herald’s coach of the year.

Mitchell was not only the team’s leading scorer with more than 17 points per game, he also led the Yellow Jackets in taking charges. In Fort Mill’s season-ending loss to Spring Valley in the third round of the 4A playoffs, Mitchell had an off shooting night with 23 points. But took five charges, indicative of his ability to influence a game even when his shot was off.

“You don’t find that very often,” said Hartsoe.

Mitchell’s importance to Fort Mill was shown last season after he sprained his knee in early January. Fort Mill was 11-3 when its leading scorer went down; he missed the next month, returning for the final two games, though he didn’t make much of an impact. The Yellow Jackets were 4-5 in that span.

Hartsoe commended Mitchell for coming back mentally from the gruesome injury.

“His kneecap was over there where it’s not supposed to be,” he said.

The 6-foot-2 guard is hoping to get a shot to play in college at the Division II or III level. He’s a gym rat that’s improved continually.

“When we got him two years ago he was just an outside shooter,” Hartsoe said.

Mitchell learned to play inside the arc, driving and drawing contact to get to the free throw line. He shot 131 foul shots this year, allowing him to affect games even when his shot wasn’t falling.

2016 All-Area boys’ basketball

Player of the year: Tanner Mitchell, Fort Mill

Coach of the year: Dwayne Hartsoe, Fort Mill

First team

▪ Malik Williams, Chester: The Cyclones didn’t have the best season, but Williams did. The junior guard scored an area-high 25 points per game, to go with six rebounds and four assists per outing. He made 3A All-State and was the Region 3-3A player of the year.

▪ Quay Brown, South Pointe: Stallions senior did a little of everything for his team this season. Brown averaged 15 points, six assists, five rebounds and nearly two steals per ball game and was named All-Region 3-3A and 3A All-State.

▪ Tanner Mitchell, Fort Mill: Senior guard made 4A All-State after averaging 17 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Yellow Jackets. Mitchell had four games with 30-plus points , shot 80 percent from the foul line and 38 percent from beyond the arc. He also led Fort Mill in charges-taken, with 12.

▪ Quise Robbins, Clover: The Region 3-4A player of the year was one of the most explosive scorers in the area. for the Blue Eagles. Robbins, a junior, averaged 22 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists and two steals per game on the way to 4A All-State honors.

▪ Quantra Taylor, Indian Land: The Wingate committment was an anchor down low for Indian Land. The 6-foot-8 All-Region 4-2A senior averaged a double-double of 13.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, as well as two blocks.

Second team

▪ Mike Hill, Lewisville: Five-foot-11 junior averaged 17.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and six steals per contest for the Lions. Hill was a 2A All-State selection.

▪ Tracus Chisholm, York Prep: junior shooting guard averaged nearly 18 points per game, shot 46 percent from 3-point range and dished out 3.6 assists per game for York Prep. Chisholm had several games with 30 or more points, including a 42-point effort, and has recruiting interest from Stetson, Lipscomb, Furman and Presbyterian.

▪ D.J Burns, York Prep: The best college prospect in the area, 6-foot-9 freshman Burns averaged a double-double of 12.8 points and 10.7 boards per game for York Prep. He also blocked 3.5 shots per game and was second on the team in assists, 2.4 per outing. Burns has offers from Winthrop, Tulane and N.C. A&T and interest from Tennessee, N.C. State, South Carolina, Hampton, Charlotte and Dayton, among others.

▪ Myliek Durham, Northwestern: Smooth, 6-foot-2 guard had a nice junior season, averaging 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per contest for the Trojans. Durham shot 35 percent from 3-point range and had six games of 20 or more points.

▪ Mark Morton, Indian Land: With Darnell Rogers departed, Morton picked up the scoring for the Warriors, pouring in 21 points per game, along with 4.9 assists and 3.1 steals. Morton was an All-Region 4-2A pick.

Honorable mention

Demetric Hardin, Chester; Aaron Milner, Clover; Ben Tuipulotu and Cameron Holmes, Nation Ford; Jaquarious Clowney, Northwestern; Andrew Barber and Japree Perry, Rock Hill; Derion Kendrick, South Pointe; Jaron Williams, York Prep; Devon Busby, Westminster Catawba.

2016 All-Area boys’ basketball

Player of the year: Tanner Mitchell, Fort Mill

Coach of the year: Dwayne Hartsoe, Fort Mill