FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KRDO) — Aiyana Mitchell is the best basketball player, boys or girls, in southern Colorado.
“It’s very nice to hear in a humbling way,” Mitchell says. “I’m always super thankful that people think like that and that kind of thing. And I just like to compare myself to other people who are better, so that way I continue to get better.”
She’s so good, she’ll be playing college basketball in the SEC with Vanderbilt. She’s got the brain to match the talent.
“It’s really cool because just a couple of years ago, you know, I was a little nervous,” Mitchell says. “I didn’t know where I was going to go, what I was going to do. So it was kind of like a little nerve wracking. When I got the call was like, ‘Hello?’ You know, it was really it was really encouraging.”
Mitchell is a nightmare for opposing defenses. She’s a skyscraper of a young woman, 6-feet-4-inches tall, and as strong as anyone in the state. She ran track, and played volleyball. She could have been successful playing just about anything, but basketball is where her heart is.
“It’s just such a physical game. So I feel like I get to really be there and be active while I’m playing. So it’s just it’s more fun and more engaging.”
Mitchell comes from a family of athletes. Her older brother, Kaleb, plays at Adam’s State. Her younger sister, Keira, is her teammate. Their success is fueled by endless competition. Family game night involves a game called Farkle, and according to Mitchell, it’s likely to get heated.
“Everything that I do, I take personally. Even on the court, I love to have fun because I love my teammates. I love the game. But there’s always that competition side of it where I’m like, ‘Okay, you know, like, we got to we got to lock in,” Mitchell says. “We’ve got to get this done.”
While her time at Vanderbilt has yet to begin, her time playing every day with her sister is winding down.
“I think it makes me value the time that I have with her a lot more during this season because, you know, I played with her for so long that it never like dawned on me, you know, that it was coming to an end. So now it’s like really like, okay, I got to, you know, I got to take every moment and really take it in.”
Mitchell is a gifted student, and a gifted athlete. She’ll fit right in at Vanderbilt. She has the skill to play professionally, and the mind to do whatever she wants.
“Those early mornings, late nights, extra time in the gym, all of that stuff; it was definitely a little tiring at times,” Mitchell says. “It was all worth it. I’m definitely driving through college and I’m going to kind of see where where it takes me, where I end up, because I might not want my basketball career to end. It’s just a great feeling. I know I’m going to get great coaching, and all of that stuff, in the sport that I love. I know I’m going to continue to get better, and that’s basically all I could wish for.”