At 24 years old, Kelsey Mitchell has achieved things that some can only dream of.
Drafted second overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2018 WNBA Draft, Mitchell has quickly become one of the top young stars in the WNBA. Only midway through her third season, she has quickly established herself as one of the top scorers in the league, becoming the second fastest player in Fever franchise history to reach 1,000 career points.
However, on August 7th, she accomplished something even more profound, with a foresight beyond her playing career.
She earned her master’s degree in Sports Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
“It’s important for me for life after basketball, so I think I accomplished a lot,” Kelsey said with a smile.
“To be honest, it didn’t really set in until August 7th hit and then I was like ‘Dang, [there isn’t] a graduation ceremony. Tiffany [Mitchell] and Teaira [McCowan] kind of made me feel like I graduated because they got me Class of 2020 banners, and it was amazing.”
For Mitchell, the importance of education was instilled in her from a young age not only by her parents but also by her grandfather, who passed away earlier this year.
“My grandfather recently passed away and education was extremely important [to him]. If you weren’t getting an education, you weren’t doing something right to him. So, I’m really excited to know that I did accomplish that even though he passed away [before I graduated].”
Another layer of support came from the Fever organization, including President/COO Dr. Allison Barber and General Manager Tamika Catchings.
“When I told [Tamika] that I got my masters, she couldn’t believe it and was like this is going to be great,” Kelsey replied with a wide smile. “Once I told her what I got it in, she was like there will be a lot of things you can do with it based on your love for the game. So, I look forward to being able to pick her brain and Dr. Barber’s. So, it feels good to have the Fever organization and family support me.”
Mitchell already has a degree from Ohio State, which she completed in 2018. Today, in the U.S., about 13.1 percent of U.S. adults have an advanced degree, according to Census, which for Kelsey was a huge shock to learn.
“Honestly, that is crazy, I didn’t even realize that,” Kelsey said. “My mom and dad kind of pushed the envelope on making sure I got my degree, while I have the opportunity to do it and to utilize my resources to get it. So, at first, I was complaining about it, but now that I got it and I know that I am part of that 13 percent, it feels even better.”
Mitchell took a heavy load of her classes online, while playing basketball overseas which wasn’t always easy due to the eight-hour time difference among other challenges. Nonetheless, Mitchell says she is considering going back to school for her PHD.
“Actually, I just submitted my application to try to get my PHD through North Central University,” Kelsey replied. “Getting your PHD is very expensive, but my mom is trying to persuade me. I really want to take a break, but I did submit my application, so we will see.”
In the meantime, Mitchell’s focus will continue to be on her team’s play in the Wubble but one thing is for sure, she will continue to attack her education, like she attacks a defender on the court, with a purpose.
“Obviously, my game is a little bit different than others and everyone’s game is different, [but] I think mine is when I want to play downhill and make every opportunity count and that’s how I try to treat life. When it comes to education, as long as I’m in it and I got the resources behind me to finish it, I’m going to try to do it.”