By Colton Pankiewicz, Sports Editor
At six-foot-eight, 240 pounds, Frank Mitchell is tough to miss on the court. After being ineligible in his first year at Canisius, Mitchell is on fire to start the season. Averaging a double-double with 10.9 points and 10.3 rebounds a contest, Mitchell was named Hercules Tires MAAC player of the week on Monday for his four-game stretch from Nov. 20–26 where he averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds en route to his team’s 3–1 record over that span. Despite his presence on the court, there’s a lot more to Frank Mitchell than the average viewer sees.
Growing up in Toronto, Mitchell was energetic and loud as a kid, remembering that he had a friendship with everyone in his elementary school. As a college student, not much has changed — Mitchell is still a ball of energy that leaves a mark on anyone he comes across. Whether he's in the hallway, in the library, in the dining hall or walking down Jefferson Street, if you see Mitchell, expect that he’s talking to someone. “I’m very friendly. I like talking, and you could even say I’m a social butterfly. My mom’s not the same way, my dad’s not the same way, and my brother’s not the same way. I'm just an odd person [compared to] the family,” said Mitchell.
One of the most frequent places you’ll spot Mitchell is the LECOM Harborcenter, known as the home of Canisius’s hockey team. The relationship that the junior shares with hockey dates way before Canisius. Hockey was actually the sport of choice for Frank growing up, playing until he was 14. During high school, Mitchell didn’t play a sport, but instead he joined the trades program. In that program, he worked in carpentry, using the skillset he felt was his best: his hands.
The now Division One player had his eyes set on the carpentry union after highschool before what he called a “fluke opportunity” came to him. Oakville Prep was willing to give Mitchell a chance, despite him never playing organized basketball before that point. The big man made the most of his opportunity there before spending his first year of college at Vincennes University before transferring to Humber College, where he was a part of a program that won the CCAA National Championship.
In his season at Humber, Mitchell won numerous awards, propelling him into the spotlight to be selected to Team Canada’s U23 Global Jam Training Camp. While working alongside NBA pros, Mitchell came across Michael Meeks, a Canisius basketball alum. Meeks introduced Mitchell to the coaching staff, ultimately convincing him to transfer to Canisius.
Mitchell’s first year with the program, he was ruled ineligible to play due to transfer rules, so he sat out. He says it was a blessing in disguise. “It was good for my mental. I thought I was ready, but it was a blessing in disguise. I had to get my body right, in game shape and learn how bigs play,” said Mitchell. The biggest thing he picked up from the culture set by head coach Reggie Witherspoon? “Getting lost in the fight. Being able to be so locked in that you’re lost. You’re doing everything you can to win. You don’t care about the stats, because you’re so invested in the team and the team’s success,” said Mitchell.
Frank Mitchell said joining Canisius has set a foundation of expectations for the work ethic and the personality needed to make the most of one’s time at the University and he is grateful for it, but it took quite the journey to get here.