TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Dee Mitchell is the perfect example of how hard work can pay off.
On Janurary 17, 2019 Mitchell tried out for the Oklahoma State basketball team. The Jefferson native was impressive enough to earn a spot on the team as a walk on. Earlier this school year life took a turn and tough decisions had to be made. His father lost his job during the pandemic and his mom let him know that classes would need to be dropped.
“I decided that I didn’t want to drop classes,” Mitchell said. “I plan on graduating early. I ended up get a job so I could pay for school.”
That job was as a stocker at Walmart in Stillwater. It did not come without challenges. Mitchell worked full-time and was enrolled in 15 hours of classes.
“The thought was never to give up on basketball but was to step away from the team to make money and pay for school,” Mitchell said. “With as cool as Coach Boynton is he allowed me to play basketball and also go to work and handle business.”
Mitchell said it was not uncommon to see Coach Boynton in the store shopping for groceries. What was uncommon is what happened on Sunday. Mitchell was called off the floor and asked to go to the back and take a safety evaluation. Once in the back he ran into Boynton and a couple of university staff members. With his teammates watching on a zoom call Boynton let everyone know that Mitchell’s hard work paid off and was getting a scholarship.
“I am still trying to believe it,” Mitchell said. “It is crazy like a dream. [I want people to get] that don’t ever stop working. Hard work goes a long way. There was a point where I was down and didn’t want to go to work ad nd barely wanted to play basketball and I just kept working. The work helped me get through those situations. Always think about the end goal.”