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Keaton Mitchell

Wapello's Keaton Mitchell dunks the ball during a Class 2A substate final against Northeast in February. 

As Keaton Mitchell grew into an influential post player for the state-qualifying Wapello boys basketball team during his junior season, interest began piquing at the next level. 

One college coach in particular who kept a close eye on the 6-foot-7 forward was Jeff Horner. 

"He was heavily recruiting me," Mitchell said of the former Iowa Hawkeye and first-year Truman State University head coach. "He was saying how good that I could be and how they could really use me. They wanted me in their recruiting class." 

Mitchell announced in mid-June that he had received an offer from the Bulldogs and made his commitment to the program public Monday on Twitter. 

"I was looking for a four-year college, and I think Truman, with a new coaching staff and they're looking to build a huge team, I though I could be a good asset to that," Mitchell said.  

With the commitment out of the way, Mitchell is looking forward to one last run with Wapello in the winter. 

"I have this settled down, so I can just go in, play my senior season and then get ready for that," Mitchell said. 

Now the only returning starter for the Indians, Mitchell displayed vast improvement this past season. 

Offensively, he averaged 14 points per game, up from 4.9 the previous season. He also improved his field goal percentage from 47.7 to 62.1. 

On the defensive end, his blocks per game increased from 0.8 to 1.7, and his rebounds per game jumped from 4.9 to 9.0. 

"What helped was I started AAU that year," Mitchell said. "My sophomore year, I only played like half the season and I wasn't as aggressive. I wasn't as confident as I was going into my junior year, so that really helped. I went in a lot during my sophomore summer to work on my shot, work on my game, and that really helped me." 

Despite Wapello graduating four starters, Mitchell still has high expectations for the upcoming season. 

"Honestly, this goal may seem crazy since we lost six, seven seniors, but I'd love to make it back to state," Mitchell said. "That was really fun, and I feel like if everyone gets together and really puts that in their mind, then we do have a shot." 

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Sports Reporter