Orangebloods - UMass transfer Tre Mitchell commits to Texas
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UMass transfer Tre Mitchell commits to Texas

When Chris Beard was hired at Texas, he mentioned “the Portal,” in a true Texan accent, often when describing the changes in college basketball and how to build a roster. In less than three months, Beard hasn’t just recruited the NCAA Transfer Portal. He’s used it better than anyone in college basketball.

This evening, Texas added arguably the top available transfer when UMass big man Tre Mitchell announced his commitment to Texas following an official visit this weekend. Mitchell became the sixth transfer to commit to the Longhorns. He’s the most talented and accomplished of the bunch, which is a loud statement considering Timmy Allen and Dylan Disu’s resume.

Listed at 6-9, 240 pounds, Mitchell averaged 18.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks last season. He was a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection as a sophomore and was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year during the 2019-20 season. Mitchell shot 51.9% from the floor, which is lower than typical dominant bigs but that’s because he can legitimately shoot the ball from beyond the arc. Last season, Mitchell connected on 15-of-40 three-pointers (37.5%) after making 33.0% of his triples during his freshman campaign (37.9% during league play).

A highly skilled big, Mitchell lived at the free throw line during his sophomore season and finished No. 2 in the A10 in free throw rate. Mitchell can score with his back to the basket, showcasing a variety of moves and he can even facilitate offense with an excellent feel for a guy capable of pushing people around in the paint. In fact, his assist percentage last season rated better than every Texas player besides Matt Coleman and Courtney Ramey.

Beard and his staff believe in “postionless” basketball, meaning players aren’t restricted to filling a traditional position - in this case, a center - and instead the aim is to get the five players on the floor capable of complimenting each other. So, while Mitchell profiles as a five, his skill level gives Texas the flexibility to play him with multiple other frontcourt players, like Christian Bishop.

Speaking of Bishop, this probably moves the Creighton transfer to being a rotational player rather than starter and probably signals the unofficial end of the chances Jericho Sims would return to Texas. Sims was among the players invited to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, a great sign about his chances of being drafted. He has until July 7th to pull out of the draft and retain his college eligibility.

With the addition of Mitchell, the Longhorns now have filled 10 of the available 13 scholarships for next season; Jase Febres doesn’t count towards the 13-man limit because he’s a returning senior and it’s unclear if incoming guard Gavin Perryman will be on a full hoops scholarship. Are the Longhorns done adding transfers? Don’t bet on it. Regardless, Texas has arguably the top roster in the Big 12 on paper and is poised to be a preseason top 10 team in 2021-22.