Gophers: Pepperdine transfer guard Mike Mitchell Jr. commits to Minnesota

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))

After losing Ta’Lon Cooper and Jamison Battle to the transfer portal after the season, the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team found a guard for the 2023-24 season on Tuesday.

Pepperdine guard Mike Mitchell Jr. announced he’s headed to Minnesota to play for Ben Johnson. Mitchell played two seasons at Pepperdine, averaging 11.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and five assists this past season. He shot 43.3 percent from the field and 44 percent from the perimeter. That three-point percentage would’ve led the Gophers last season.

Ironically, Cooper on Tuesday announced his commitment to South Carolina. After going 9-22 in his second season, Ben Johnson lost four players to the NCAA transfer portal. Treyton Thompson is headed to Stetson, Jaden Henley committed to DePaul and Jamison Battle is still looking at options, including playing professionally.

Mitchell will join a team that features Dawson Garcia and Pharrel Payne in the front court, Joshua Ola-Joseph on the wing and Braeden Carrington at shooting guard. Johnson and the Gophers should also get Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen back next season after both sat out with knee injuries this year.

Mitchell was also in contact with Oklahoma, Clemson, San Diego State and UNLV, but the Gophers were the first to contact him and get him on campus for a visit, which was last weekend.

The Gophers aren't done bringing in talent from the transfer portal, either. They have three more scholarships to use, and likely need another guard and wing for next season.