• 77°

Mitchell ready to face old friend

GREENSBORO — North Rowan coach Andrew Mitchell said he’d talk basketball to anyone willing at the western regional press conference at the Greensboro Coliseum Monday morning.
When you’ve got three state championships under your belt, there’s naturally a lot of folks who’ll lend an ear.
East Rutherford assistant Rob Boykins was one. Mitchell and Boykins are not only linked because their teams are facing each other Thursday, but there’s another bond from the past.
Boykins was among Mitchell’s first recruits when Mitchell was an assistant at Johnson C. Smith. They’ll be on opposite sidelines at Fleming Gym in the regional semifinal. East carries a 21-5 record and rolled Forest Hills 81-58 Friday to reach the regional for the fourth time. North brings a 19-5 mark into its fifth regional appearance
“Rob and I go way back,” said Mitchell, who played at Catawba in the 80s. “We laugh and talk all the time.”
Boykins starred at Erwin Triton High in Harnett County in the early 90s. Mitchell made the trip to Erwin to build up the Golden Bulls to a young Boykins, then called ‘jumping jack.’
“He came down to my high school and I was running track at the time,” Boykins said. “He actually waited for me and sold me on Johnson C. Smith. I never thought in this lifetime that I’d be coaching against him.”
Mitchell’s playing days are done now, but back then he still had enough skill left over from his time as an Indian to be persuasive. North’s leading scorer in 1984, Mitchell had enough moves to beat Boykins on the court.
“When we recruited Rob, that was back in the days I was still playing. I told Rob ‘if I beat you, then you come to Johnson C. Smith. I beat him twice and he came to Smith.”
Boykins has two sons that have absorbed his basketball acumen. DeVince is a sophomore on the team at Marshall and DeVonte is a senior on ER’s squad that averages double-digit points and has committed to Georgia Southern.
“That tells me how old I am that I’m now coaching against his son,” Mitchell quipped.

Mitchell stands with 98 wins in four years at North. A regional championship will give Mitchell 100 wins at North. Mitchell carries a 98-18 record at North after guiding the Salisbury girls to a pair of state 2A championships. North has reached the regional three times in the last four years.

North, East, Smoky Mountain and Hunter Huss comprise the four-team bracket. There’s championship lineage as North, East and Huss all won state titles in 2011. North was 1A and Huss 3A that year. Rowan fans may remember East hitting seven 3-pointers in the third quarter of a 69-56 win in the regional semifinal against Salisbury to stun the highly touted Hornets team that carried Darien Rankin, Romar Morris and John Knox.
Meanwhile, Smoky Mountain is the only unbeaten boys team in the state at 27-0. The Mustangs are the west’s top seed.
“It’s a grind to get to the championship,” Mitchell said. “We’ve played some good teams just to get here and it’s prepared us for this week.”

Contact Ryan Bisesi at 704-797-4287 or rbisesi@salisburypost.com

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

I-85 road rage incident results in assault, child abuse charges

Crime

China Grove man arrested for sex crimes involving woman with disabilities

Education

UNCC chancellor talks about strengthening partnerships in Rowan County

Local

City adopts 2021-22 budget, discusses third quarter financial report

Landis

Landis, Kannapolis discuss extraterritorial boundary change with 1,000-home subdivision planned

News

Bill retires many NC coal-fired plants, boosts renewables

High School

High school baseball: East escapes with eighth-inning homer; South also wins in first round

Elections

Board of Elections moves forward with purchase of new voting equipment, software

Sports

‘New energy’ coming from QB Darnold

News

Museum loses contract over event deemed racially insensitive

News

NC tax revenue soars, $6.5B windfall predicted by mid-2023

News

Police: Grandmother of man who shot at officers found dead

Crime

Blotter: Gold Hill man charged with statutory rape

Crime

Man charged with killing 28-year-old found dead in crashed car

Crime

68-year-old woman identified as Jackson Street murder victim

Crime

Man arrested in Jacksonville for Salisbury murder

Local

Rowan-Salisbury Schools finalizes normal, five-day schedule for fall

Local

Council to vote on budget, consider permit for child care center near downtown

Landis

Landis adopts budget with reduction in residential electric rates, no tax increases

Local

Political Notebook: Budd campaign touts boost in voter support after Trump endorsement

Local

Seventh Dragon Boat Festival scheduled July 24

News

NC rights groups say GOP bills impede voting access

Local

Sgt. Shane Karriker’s funeral procession travels through downtown Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: June 14