Gophers basketball adds Pepperdine transfer Mike Mitchell Jr. to 2023 roster

Mike Mitchell Jr. #1 of the Pepperdine Waves dribbles past James Bishop IV #11 of the George Washington Colonials during the second half of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic game at SimpliFi Arena on December 23, 2022 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  ((Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images))

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team added a talented backcourt player to the 2023 roster on Tuesday with the addition of Pepperdine transfer Mike Mitchell Jr.

He verbally committed to Ben Johnson and the Gophers last week, and made it official by signing on Tuesday. Mitchell spent his first two seasons with the Waves before entering the NCAA transfer portal. He’ll join the Gophers this summer, and they needed guard talent with Jaden Henley and Jamison Battle entering the transfer portal after a 9-22 season.

Before Mitchell, the only returning guard on the roster with playing experience was sophomore-to-be Braeden Carrington.

"We’re really excited to have Mike join our program," Johnson said. "As an older player with great experience, Mike brings a strong leadership presence to our back court. Coming from the respected West Coast Conference, Mike was really a productive player in that league the past two years. I love his ability to play in ball screens and his perimeter shooting capability at 44 percent last year. We’re looking forward to getting him on campus this summer."

A 6-2, 185-pound guard, Mitchell started 63 games at Pepperdine and averaged 11.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He also shot 43 percent from the field in 33.6 minutes per game. He led Pepperdine with 73 made 3-pointers, shooting 44 percent from the perimeter and scored in double figures 18 times last season.

He started 32 games in his first year and was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.

The Gophers aren’t done adding talent from the transfer portal. Ta’Lon Cooper and Treyton Thompson also left the program after the season. Cam Christie is an incoming freshman that will help at guard, and the Johnson still has as many as three scholarships to fill for next season.