Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell wears jersey No. 45. Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell wears jersey No. 45. But it’s not just their similar names or jersey numbers that the two basketball players have in common.
Many have wondered if the two are related (they’re not), and have had to do a double take watching them play. Even former Weber State star Damian Lillard, now of the Portland Trail Blazers, joked about the similarity on Twitter recently.
Both Donovan and Davion pride themselves on their defensive abilities, are roughly the same height (Donovan is 6’1, Davion is 6’2), have a similar looking shot form and have been known to throw down a pretty ferocious one-handed dunk.
To top it all off, their birthdays are just two years and two days apart. Donovan was born on Sept. 7, 1996, and Davion was born on Sept. 5, 1998.
“It’s crazy that his birthday is two days before mine,” Donovan said on Friday. “I know he’s two years younger than me but it’s two days before mine, which I think is the craziest part about it all, but he’s a competitor, man.”
And the competition hasn’t stopped for Davion, the 2020-21 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in college basketball who has helped Baylor to a national championship appearance. In his run through the NCAA Tournament and with a future in the NBA in mind, Davion has been in contact with Donovan, who has sent encouraging words and tried to give advice to the NBA hopeful.
As Donovan has watched Davion play recently he said he’s seen a lot of himself.
“I think the coolest part is everybody knows that he can defend, and he can do so many different things,” Donovan said of the Baylor standout. “But he’s shooting the ball well off the dribble, getting his teammates involved and just being the leader as a whole. Understanding that he can shoot the ball every time, but he defers and finds ways to get everybody involved collectively.”
The two have shared pleasantries and been in contact, but Donovan said on Thursday the two had a longer conversation. He wouldn’t share the details of what the two talked about, but said that being in a position to help a college player and give advice has been inspiring.
“For me that’s what it’s all about,” Donovan said. “Just being able to have that conversation was big for him, but also big for me because it was just really cool to have that moment. Hopefully down the line we’ll keep in touch and hopefully he gets out there and wins a national championship.”
Davion had a double-double Saturday with 12 points and 11 assists as the Bears beat the Houston Cougars 78-59 to advance to Monday’s title game, where they’ll play the winner of Gonzaga and UCLA.