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Oklahoma State guard Dee Mitchell was working at Walmart in Stillwater on Sunday afternoon when coach Mike Boynton and his staff suddenly showed up in the back hallways of the store.
Boynton and his quarantined players, there virtually in a Zoom call, were there to officially award Mitchell a scholarship — something that brought the former walk-on to tears.
Nobody works harder than Dee Mitchell. He joined the Cowboys as a walk-on this day in 2019, and is paying his way through school thanks to his job at @Walmart.
But @thacoachmike has a surprise for Dee ...#NewEra I #GoPokes pic.twitter.com/4iyDKM6Sap
— OSU Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) January 18, 2021
“It meant everything to see my mom,” Mitchell said in the video after video calling his mom to share the news. “I didn’t know what was going on. It was real surprising. It’s breathtaking … I really admire Coach Mike, and I look up to him. I plan to be someone like him in the future, hopefully touch people the way he touched me.”
Mitchell was separated from team due to COVID-19
Oklahoma State paused activities last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program. Mitchell, however, was spared from contact tracing as he hadn’t been around the team much at all.
The Cowboys opted not to actually dress walk-on players due to the pandemic, in an effort to keep up social distancing.
So, while his teammates were stuck isolating, Mitchell could keep attending classes normally and working his job at Walmart — something he started last summer to help his family.
Boynton, however, recently had a scholarship open after freshman Montreal Pena left the program due to personal reasons, according to The Oklahoman. Pena, per the report, never played in a game and hadn’t actually practiced in months.
Though Mitchell hadn’t seen the court much at all this year — he’s played in just one game, and been on the bench twice — the Jefferson, Texas, native had done enough to prove to Boynton he was worthy of the scholarship spot.
Mitchell landed on the team after a tryout in January 2019 and made five appearances in the second half of that season. He then appeared in 19 games last year and made two starts.
“It was three years ago today that he came and tried out for our team,” Boynton said in the video. “Today we feel like we can pay back to him what he’s given to us for the last two-plus years, so I’m excited about it.”
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