AUSTIN, Texas – How new Texas men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard recruits, teaches his defensive schemes or interacts with the Longhorn faithful remains to be seen. What is not unknown is that Beard, perhaps as well as any coach in the country, has established he can lure talented transfer players to join him and his new team.
Beard earned yet another commitment from an elite transfer candidate when former Massachusetts center/forward Tre Mitchell announced his intent to head to Austin to join the Longhorns.
“What’s that think y’all say???” Mitchell wrote on his Twitter account.
“Austin, you ready?”
Because of the extra year of eligibility granted to NCAA athletes because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mitchell will arrive at UT with three years of eligibility remaining.
To say Mitchell was the Minutemen’s best player last season would be an understatement. He led his team in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game … and it wasn’t close – guard Carl Pierre was next at 12.7 per game. Mitchell’s average of 7.2 rebounds per game led the UMass team … and it wasn’t close – freshman forward Ronnie DeGray III pulled down 4.6 per game. On the defensive end, Mitchell’s team-leading 20 blocked shots were twice as many as the 10 swatted away by guard Javohn Garcia.
For his efforts, he earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors.
Where he fits will be revealed once the Longhorns take the floor, and Beard starts to put the pieces of his new puzzle together, after he and his staff get an in-person look at exactly what each of the new Longhorns – and because the coaches are gearing up for their first season in Austin, the returning players – can and can’t do.
There are some similarities between Mitchell and Jericho Sims, who reportedly has filed his paperwork to go through the NBA Draft but has not signed with an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning to UT. They are similar in size – if his listed size of 6 feet, 9 inches and 240 pounds, Mitchell is an inch shorter and five pounds lighter than Sims. Mitchell is not as consistent a shooter as Sims – Mitchell shot .519, hitting 83 of 160 field goals, compared to Sims’s .696 shooting (94 of 135). The difference is that while Sims shot (and missed) just one three-pointer at UT, as a freshman in 2017-18, Mitchell presents a perimeter threat, more of a “stretch 4” forward who connected on 14 of 40 (.375) from three-point range.
How Mitchell will translate to the Longhorns is impossible to project. At UMass, he was the unquestioned leader of the Minutemen, but the competition he faced in the Atlantic 10 was not the same caliber as that he will encounter in the Big 12.
Nonetheless, he is unquestionably a gifted player with a Div. I frame and athleticism, and is widely regarded as a future NBA product.
Other top transfer players who have committed to play for Beard and the Longhorns this season include:
Guard Devin Askew (Kentucky)
Center/forward Christian Bishop (Creighton)
Forward Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt)
Guard Timmy Allen (Utah)