Donovan Mitchell visits Kearns High on Tuesday to hand out backpacks and T-shirts

Tribune staff photo by Andy Larsen | Donovan Mitchell hands out backpacks with his mother, Nicole, at Kearns High School on Tuesday.

Kearns • Good things come to those who work hard.

That was Donovan Mitchell’s message to hundreds of Kearns High School students on Tuesday morning, when he was the surprise guest speaker at a special assembly on the second day of school. There, he gave away backpacks and T-shirts to students who had earned the privilege, whether through higher GPAs or through other accomplishments the school wanted to recognize.

“I just wanted to give back to you guys for your hard work,” Mitchell told the students, and pledged he’d be back in the future with more rewards.

The students were appreciative. The loudest cheers came when Mitchell gave away his autographed shoes to the first student to answer a trivia question — “what is the first name of my sister?”

And some students got free advice. Emmanuel Andrew, a standout basketball prospect who plays for Kearns and AAU’s Exum Elite team, appreciated what Mitchell told him after the backpacks were handed out.

“He just told me to not chase big-name schools, just find a school where you’re going to fit in and make an impact as a freshman,” Andrew said. “I was blown away, like, this guy is really here.”

As for Mitchell, it’s part of a busy schedule that has included traveling to Houston in recent weeks to work out with Chris Paul and James Harden. Mitchell wants to take advantage of this part of the summer before most of the team will gather in Salt Lake City for workouts at the Zions Bank Basketball Center for much of September.

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