February 5, 2015

Mims altering his future

Kevin McCarthy

After entering an alternate universe after his limited high school hoops participation and grayshirting a year at Cosumnes River College (CRC), 6-foot-11 Donald Mims is leading the state of California in blocked shots at 4.8 per game. There's no one close and this doesn't even account for altered shots or any intimidation factor.

photo of Donald Mims

How? Why? The answer consists of multiple factors.

“I just always had a love for basketball,” Mims explained. “I've had a basketball around since I was a baby.”

Yet this was someone who didn't play organized hoops in middle school and was cut from the high school (Center High) team as a freshman. Speaking of the latter, Mims offered, “t first, it put me down. But I wouldn't let myself fail and I knew I would get to be where I wanted to be. I saw it as a setback that would get me better.”

He worked harder. A neighborhood park became his second home, the basketball court in particular. “I grew up in that park, got bullied there, but it made me stronger.”

Possessing career prep averages of 5.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots and lettering twice, he's now the top shot rejector in the California junior college ranks while also averaging 6.7 points, 5.7 rebounds a contest and shooting 61% overall.

“It's just me wanting it and my parents supporting me.”

So how did enrolling at Cosumnes River College come about? “I struggled in school and knew I would go the junior college route,” Mims said. “I had played there [at CRC] in high school and loved the court with its pull-out baskets. So I took a tour and got to know the coach.”

But what was probably most critical was that “in high school I didn't play all that much but the CRC coach [James Giacomazzi] had faith in me.”

However, there was a delay in taking to the court. “My first year, I grayshirted.” That was planned to get him better acclimated. What wasn't on the agenda was Mims subsequently suffering a knee injury. “Because of it, I couldn't even practice, it was tough.”

Now he is back on the floor and changing games when opponents enter the paint.

But he sees matters more from a team perspective. “My best moment [so far] was a home tournament this year that we won. It's defending your court. That's important.”

Safeguarding is something in which he takes a personal pride. “As a defender, it's knowing not letting anybody in the paint. It's like someone breaking into your house with your mother and sisters inside -- you protect it. You don't them in.”

Mims assesses his best talents as “blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, running the floor and scoring around the post.” Another CRC element he now appreciates is “we have a feel for each other off the court, a love for each other.”

So with recruiting, his parameters are “to go where the best offer is but I want a family-oriented feeling about the coach and team.” This will be after another season at CRC.

Looking to major in kinesiology at the next level, Mims wants to work around athletics. About rehabilitating injured players, he said, “I think I could imagine myself in their shoes.”

Also, despite a prodigious appetite, he currently weighs in at 185 pounds. While many would sell their first born for such a turbo-charged metabolism, Mims knows greater weight and strength will be necessary so he has now exchanged the park for the weight room as his second residence.