Portland senior standout guard Mitchell Eagle announced his verbal commitment to play college basketball at Bryan College.
Eagle, a four-year member of the varsity Panthers basketball team, chose Bryan over Trevecca and Bethel University.
The point guard from Portland is patiently waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to end so that he can sign papers with his family and friends at the school.
“As of right now, I have verbally committed and am waiting for Bryan to come up the Portland once this coronavirus is over with,” Eagle said. “If not, they (Bryan) will shoot me an email, and after I sign, I will mail it back to them, but I am hopeful to be able to hold a signing ceremony at the school.”
Eagle will join fellow Sumner County hoopers Kavon Blankenship and Eli Thurston in Dayton next season.
“I think it will be a great thing to play with those guys,” Eagle said. “I can enjoy my time and not spend so much of it getting to know everyone. I think anytime you go somewhere you know other people it is a bonus.
“Bryan gave me the best offer and have been good to me,” Eagle said of his decision to sign with the Lions. “I enjoyed a great visit, sat through classes, and was able to play with some of the guys on the team. I enjoyed my time there. I also enjoy fishing, and with a huge lake there, I know it will make my time that much more enjoyable.”
As a senior, Eagle was named to the District 9-AAA team and First Team All-Sumner County following a stellar campaign that led Portland to their best record in 18 years.
“Our defense and rebounding is what made the difference for us this year,” Eagle recalled. “We were not winning games solely on our offense, and we knew that if we wanted to do something this year, it would be done on the defensive end.”
Eagle credits the defensive buy-in to a meeting before the season with the players.
“I was asked to take on a little bit of a leadership role this year, so we sat everyone down as a team and talked about what we wanted from the season,” he said. “We all agreed what we needed to work on, and if we did buy-in on the defensive end, we would do something special this year.”
Eagle led the Panthers to the most wins in District 9-AAA since joining the league in 2009 with five including upset wins over Lebanon, Beech and Gallatin.
Signing with the Lions, Eagle credits his hard work in the offseason as to why he will get the opportunity to realize a life-long goal of playing college basketball.
“The end of my junior year, I could feel things starting to change,” he said. “I fixed my jump shot, gained confidence when attacking the rim, and worked on my ball-handling. I never played point guard before this year, but coach (Darryl Travis) came to me and told me I needed to move to that position. I worked on that part of my game every day through my AAU coaches, coach Darryl Travis and Marty Stone. They all helped me get to the point where I am now.”
Those coaches, plus the aid of two district coaches, helped Bryan College find Eagle.
“The only contact I had with Bryan was my very last high school game,” he said. “Coach Seth Massey (Station Camp) and coach Troy Allen (Mt. Juliet) put a word in for me with Bryan, but coach Massey told me not to leave until I met with coach Rekoski (Bryan) because he was there for Kavon (Blankenship) and Eli (Thurston). We talked, and he got my number, called me the next week and asked me to come down, and I was immediately hooked. I cannot thank those two guys enough for doing that for me, and I do not even go to their school.”