Kentucky lands West Virginia transfer Mitchell

Kentucky has landed a commitment from West Virginia transfer Tre Mitchell, just days after he entered the portal following Bob Huggins’ resignation as men’s basketball coach.

The Wildcats were the prohibitive favorite for Mitchell as soon as he entered the portal Friday morning, immediately bringing him on campus this past weekend for a visit.

The school officially announced his signing early Monday afternoon, with coach John Calipari tweeting about Mitchell’s arrival.

“Tre is from Pittsburgh and I’ve known him for years,” Calipari wrote. “This was a unique situation, but as soon as he put his name in the portal, he was a player I knew we needed to pursue. He brings leadership, experience, size and versatility and is a great fit for what we want to do. I know this is a win for us and I believe this will be a win for him too. We are excited to have him as a part of our program.”

Mitchell also announced his decision via social media.

“Mountaineers!! I can’t thank you enough for the love and support you’ve shown,” he wrote. “You guys are truly one of a kind. I have a dream and I have the opportunity to live it out. I’ve gotta think about my future and ensure myself the best opportunity to follow that dream. I know you guys will understand, if not today then you will one day. WVU will always hold a special place in my heart but it’s time to bet on myself.”

Kentucky will be the fourth school for Mitchell, who started his career at UMass for two seasons before transferring to Texas and then West Virginia. The 6-foot-9 big man started 32 games for the Mountaineers last season, averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. With Oscar Tshiebwe leaving for the NBA and freshman star Aaron Bradshaw’s offseason injury issues, the Wildcats needed an experienced frontcourt player who could start right away. Mitchell fits that mold.

His arrival is Calipari’s second big success story in the past week, after guard Antonio Reeves opted to return to Lexington instead of entering the portal. Reeves averaged 14.4 points last season for Kentucky. He and Mitchell give the Wildcats two proven college producers in the lineup to go along with the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class.

Mitchell was one of three West Virginia players to enter the portal last week as the school’s search for Huggins’ replacement dragged on without a resolution. The Mountaineers announced Saturday that assistant coach Josh Eilert would be the interim coach for the 2023-24 season. Following Eilert’s promotion, Kerr Kriisa announced he was withdrawing from the portal and returning to Morgantown. Guard Joe Toussaint remains in the portal, with Kansas State, Texas Tech and Alabama among the schools in pursuit; he’s also considering a return to West Virginia. Reserve forward Mohamed Wague entered the portal Monday morning.

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