RALSTON — When his father played at Omaha Burke, scoring outbursts like the one all-state senior Shereef Mitchell unleashed Tuesday at the Metro Conference boys basketball tournament were known simply as “The Alvin Show.”
Shereef showed in third-ranked Burke’s 62-49 quarterfinal win over Omaha Westside at Ralston Arena that he has a similar talent for entertaining offensive performances as Alvin Mitchell, a former first-team Super-State guard who went on to play collegiately at Nebraska and Cincinnati in the late 1990s before finishing his career at Nebraska-Omaha.
Shereff, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, scored 26 of his 32 points after intermission, including 13 in a 15-0 Bulldog run that turned a two-point deficit into a 54-41 lead with 5:35 left in the game.
“It was a good time for him to get started,” said Burke coach Kevin Kobs, whose 8-1 Bulldogs take on Millard North (4-5) in the semifinals at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. The Mustangs knocked off fourth-ranked and previously unbeaten Millard South (8-1) 75-71 in the last quarterfinal.
The other Wednesday semifinal at 7 p.m. pairs top-ranked Creighton Prep (8-0) against No. 6 Omaha Central (6-3).
“Shereef played with a chip on his shoulder in the second half,” Kobs added. “He wasn’t happy with what was going on in the first half. He did the talking at halftime, and he got everyone energized. Maybe I’ll have him do that more often.”
Shereef had the whole arsenal on display in the second half. He knocked down a pair of three-point shots, converted a pair of three-point plays after being fouled on layups, knifed through the Warriors defense with his quick first step and speed off the dribble for a number of baskets, and delivered an assist to 6-6 Chris Hickman for a breakaway dunk after getting a steal on the defensive end.
In addition to his 32 points, Mitchell also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, dished out three assists and registered two steals.
“We didn’t like the energy we played with in the first half and we wanted to change it,” said Mitchell, who came into Tuesday’s game averaging 24 points per game. “All of us wanted a spot in the semifinals really bad.”
Unlike his father, who had numerous Big 12 scholarship offers before deciding to be a Husker, the major Division I offers haven’t come in yet for Shereef. He currently has offers from South Dakota State, Bradley, Omaha and Loyola Chicago. Right now, his plan is to reclassify into the class of 2019 and attend a still-to-be-determined prep school next year after he graduates from Burke.
“I need to get stronger and develop my game a little more,” Shereef said. “I’m not ready right now for the physicality of Division I.”
He said his decision to delay his college career would change if Nebraska or Creighton were to offer this season.
Shereef says his father has had “a big influence” on his basketball career. “He was a great player, and he gives me tips all the time on how I can improve my game, and I appreciate it.”
But there’s still plenty to play for yet this season before Mitchell begins thinking about a college career. Burke hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2002 and their last Metro Conference tournament title came in the 2000-01 campaign.
“I want to be their leader and do everything I can to achieve those goals,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell wasn’t the only guard on the court to go off Tuesday. Westside sophomore 6-1 Jadin Booth scored a team-high 19 points, 14 of which came in the first half.
“Jadin’s a really, really good player and he’s just a sophomore,” Mitchell said of Booth. “He has a chance to be a special player the next two years.”