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Mitchell brings athletic pedigree

Posted May 11, 2010

Browns wide receiver Carlton Mitchell honed his athleticism on the basketball court at Gaither High School in Florida.

Predicting a child’s future in athletics is far from an exact science, but in the case of Browns sixth round draft pick Carlton Mitchell, one could have figured he would have a future in sports.

Mitchell’s father Carl played professional basketball in Europe, including a stint in Spain, while his mother Angela was a “cut-man” for former IBF, WBC, The Ring and IBO light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver.

Instead of taking his talents into the ring, Mitchell stuck with football and basketball throughout his career at Gaither High School before becoming a wide receiver at the University of South Florida.

“As an athlete, where do you start? He’s probably one of the most athletic kids I’ve ever coached,” said Dwayne Olinger, boys basketball coach at Gaither High School. “His agility, in terms of the size kid he was, he was able to go from one end to the next and turn around and make stops and just be a tremendous athlete. He had such great endurance; he could go forever. All of the things you think about with a guy being a great athlete, speed, quickness for a guy his size, he just had the complete package as it related to athleticism.

“Carlton’s one of, if not, the best athlete I’ve ever been around,” Olinger added.

That’s high praise coming from Olinger, who has been around good athletes before.

Prior to coming to Gaither High School, Olinger coached Mark Davis at his first stop in Southeast Louisiana and later, Chucky Atkins, who went on to play for eight different teams in the NBA, including the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

“He wasn’t like a prolific scorer or that kind of kid,” Olinger said. “In high school, he was very good for us when it comes to being athletic, rebounding, defending and that kind of thing.”

Mitchell’s athleticism was only part of his overall make up.

He is a respectful person off the fields of play and people sometimes doubted whether he could compete among the highest levels of talent. That is until they saw him play.

“He’s a ‘Yes sir, no sir’ type guy and with that said, it’s construed that because he’s a ‘Yes sir, no sir’ type kid that he doesn’t have maybe the aggressiveness which he needs, which is far from the truth,” Olinger said. “He’s not just passive saying ‘Yes sir, no sir’ just to get him to do what you want him to do, but he’s going to compete. He’s a total team player; he’s willing to work to get better. Whatever you ask him to do, he’ll do it.

“I was taught if you have two of the three things, heart, skill and endurance, you can be pretty darn good and if you have all three, you’ll be great,” he added. “As it relates to a kid like him, he has heart, skill and endurance. Endurance is not just physical, but willing to stay on the path on the way to get it done. The heart speaks a lot to his character and the skill is a given with the fact that he’s been able to continue to play.”