What had begun as a smooth transition in college soon became testy when he found himself at loggerheads with his coach Bobby Gonzalez in 2010 as the two feuded about the player’s on-court minutes. Mitchell’s numbers dipped from the previous season with the relationship soon proving to be irreparable, and Mitchell was no longer part of the team as of Sunday, March 14, 2010 for publicly criticizing the coach (statements that Mitchell now says he wishes he never made).
“Me and the coach wasn’t really seeing eye-to-eye, and it affected my numbers,” says Mitchell. “People still knew I could play, but it didn’t put me back on that upper echelon where I should have been.
“ I actually took myself off the team after I made those statements. I regret putting him out there, and putting myself out there, ‘cos that’s not me.”
The banishment from basketball would prove to be the least of Mitchell’s worries in the coming days. According to police reports, on Monday, March 15, 2010, Mitchell and one other man allegedly entered a private home in South Orange, New Jersey, demanded cash and drugs from the occupants. The police claimed the duo bound their eight victims with duct tape and pistol-whipped them.
Mitchell denied he was involved but he had well and truly had well and truly deviated from his original course by now.
The Seton Hall standout was charged with kidnapping, burglary and weapons offenses; “Horrendous charges. I mean it was all propaganda,” maintains Mitchell.
In the end he agreed to a plea bargain with prosecutors at the lesser charges of criminal restraint and burglary (vindicating his professions of innocence to the original charges), but not after spending almost eight months in jail waiting to be bailed out.
“Stix’ was sentenced to five-years probation as part of his plea agreement.
If there’s one thing about jail, it’s that it gives you a whole lot of time to think. Mitchell looked back at his life – where it began, and ultimately where it went wrong. He knew changes had to be made if he were to become the man he knew he was capable of being.
A much more level headed, mature, Mitchell accepts the blame for the situation ending the way it did.
“This whole thing was me being involved with the wrong people, and being naïve and being a young guy, taking for granted my position and who I was in the community. It was just me being around the wrong people,” muses a contrite Mitchell.
“I should’ve just got the hell out of there.”