It took him until the final minutes of the game to grab that tenth rebound, but he was able to get a 9th consecutive double-double to start the season, the longest streak of any Georgia Tech player in the ACC era. Not only that, but he is the only player in the country that has recorded a double-double in every game this season. This is a testament not only to his ability as a player, but also his importance to the team by being a strong contributor in every single game so far this season.
Last year, Charles Mitchell was one of the better players on a struggling team who had some fantastic games, like against Syracuse and Notre Dame, but also was a non-factor in several others. Coming into this season, Mitchell needed to improve his focus, conditioning, and foul problem if he was going to improve his consistency.
Last year, Mitchell admitted that he did not give his all during some practices and that hurt his ability to compete in every game. This year, Brian Gregory has called Mitchell the best practice player on the team and his commitment to practice has shown in his improvement this year. Mitchell missed minutes last year due to his conditioning. He came into this year noticeably in better shape. He lost a lot of weight and put on muscle. This has allowed him to stay on the court for longer stretches and the added strength has allowed him to be even more ferocious on the boards. The other major factor limiting Mitchell's playtime last year was that he was constantly in foul trouble. This year he has stayed out of major foul trouble in almost every game which is especially impressive with the new rules. He is doing a much better job of staying on his feet and defending the rim without using his body, which was an issue for him last year. This has allowed him to stay on the floor and make an impact in every game.
The final factor that has improved to make this streak possible. When Mitchell first got to Tech, he was a decent offensive big man, but he got most of his points from put backs and easy layups made possible by other players. This year Mitchell has improved his game in the post; his hook shot has become a big part of his game and Georgia Tech's offense. Mitchell posting up has become a legitimate threat and complements his still excellent cherry picking game.
These four improvements have led to a fantastic start to the season for Mitchell and this record breaking streak is the result. He already has more double-doubles than he did all of last season. I doubt this streak lasts much longer because that level of consistency is extremely hard to keep up. He should keep it going against Georgia this weekend, but he may have limited minutes against some of the weaker teams remaining on the non-conference schedule. This has been a fantastic start to the season for Mitchell and let's hope it continues.