Konnor McIntosh @Easymoney_mac
For 7-foot tall Donald Mims, his familiarity with a common system has made the most of his uncommon size at the Junior College level.
Weighing 180 pounds, Mims has a much lighter frame than most big men at his position. This allows him to play both power forward and center. This size also makes Mims a reliable rebounder adding to his defensive presence.
Because of his athletic frame, Coach James Giacomazzi doesn’t have to sit him when the team wants to implement its full court press. “We want to speed the other team up and play at our tempo,” Giacomazzi stated “our guards can be more aggressive on the ball because they know he acts as the safety valve behind them.”
Mims had 6 blocks in the Hawks’ recent playoff victory over Diablo Valley College and while being a shot-blocker has its downsides (Mims did pick up five fouls), he is able to stay on the court because of the depth the team has.
Mims has steadily improved on his overall output even since high school, posting the highest offensive average of his career this season at 7.7 points per game. While he provides the most value with his rebounding and blocked shots, Mims has shown the capability of being a scorer at times throughout his career.
At the 2014 Chabot Classic, Mims, while still playing under Coach Giacomazzi at Cosumnes River College, earned all-tournament honors by averaging 13.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 blocks per game.
Giacomazzi originally discovered Mims while he played AAU ball as a 15-year-old and thought he was a diamond in the rough because he didn’t have the best scoring numbers at the time. He described the challenges that community colleges face in recruiting and how Mims was a perfect player to overcome those challenges: “California community colleges can’t offer scholarships, and there is no letter of intent, so loyalty to the athlete and his family becomes more important.”
While most of the scoring on this team comes from the backcourt trio of Kameron Johnson, Caleb Baskett and Keith Hunter, the fast paced nature of LPC’s offense requires good offensive rebounding from missed threes and layups. “We do try and get Mims involved offensively in the half-court, but most of his damage is done cleaning the glass and getting put back layups and dunks. Finding the balance between feeding Mims down low and being more aggressive myself is something that adds extra versatility to the offense,” said Johnson.
Mims’ long arms and large hands give LPC extra possessions to compensate for the increased degree of difficulty for LPC’s three-point oriented offense. The coaching staff reiterated how
Mims is shooting at an above average 60 percent this season despite not being the main focus of the offense. In addition, despite being tied for the most minutes played on the team, Mims has only 25 turnovers this season.
The noted improvement since Mims first joined Giacomazzi goes way beyond his improvement shooting, as his overall skillset has improved as he has gotten older. “He is way more coordinated and skilled and has a better understanding of the game,” said Giacomazzi
“To be that long and quick his a huge asset for us and will serve him well at his next college destination.”
Mims’ production on the court, while highly valued by the Las Positas coaching staff, has come at some costs. The motor that turns within Mims sometimes runs hot and at times jeopardizes his availability.
Earlier in the season during a road game at City College of San Francisco, Mims’ high-octane defensive effort boiled over to five fouls thus disqualifying from the game late in the fourth quarter. Considering the stage of the game and what was at stake, nursing a dwindling 10-point lead, Mims became visibly frustrated.
Kicking of chairs and punching water coolers ensued as Mims nearly picked up a technical foul.
After the game, Giacomazzi expressed his love for Mims’ drive and fire saying they don’t want him to change a thing about his game or demeanor. The support from his coach would be essential, as Mims has maintained his competitive spirit while playing on that edge just as his coach wants him to.
LPC still has unfinished business this season, and Mims will be an integral part of the Hawks’ quest to qualify for the state tournament and be in a position to build on a successful 2015-2016 and continuing to reap the rewards of Mims growth under coach Giacomazzi’s system.