The Kentucky Wildcats have one final exhibition game on Thursday before the regular season officially tips off.
Unfortunately, the Cats are still missing 21 feet of players as Aaron Bradshaw and Ugonna Onyenso remain sidelined with injuries while the NCAA is still deciding on an eligibility ruling for Big Z.
With their absence, West Virginia transfer Tre Mitchell is anchoring the post for the Wildcats as the 6-foot-9 forward fell in Kentucky’s lap late.
Through the summer games in Canada and one exhibition, Mitchell is filling the void in the post and showing just how big of an impact he will have on this team.
Last Friday, he led the team in points (22), rebounds (9), and blocks (3) while knocking down four threes, proving that he will provide spacing and shooting from a big that we haven’t seen in a while at Kentucky.
Orlando Antigua met with the media on Monday and had a lot of positives to say about Mitchell who he has spent a lot of time recruiting.
“Tre is a young man who I’ve known for a long time. Recruited him three different times and am glad I’m getting a chance to coach him now. He’s a great basketball player, but he’s an unbelievable human being.”
Antigua continued, “He’s been great for this group as a connector and as a guy who helps facilitate. He’s got so many layers to his game. You guys are just getting a chance to see a little of that. His passing, his feel, we’ll have to find opportunities for him around the basket as well. He’s a matchup problem for guys because of his ability to shoot the ball and his ability to play out in space.”
Kentucky’s rim protection is a big question mark without all three of their 7-footers available. However, Antigua doesn’t think Mitchell gets enough credit for his defensive ability.
“I don’t think Tre gets enough credit. Obviously, everyone can see his ability to move the ball, to pass the ball, to shoot the ball. He did have three blocks in that game, and he’s got great timing, great anticipation.”
Mitchell has already proved to be a key piece on this team with his skills and leadership ability. For now, he is forced to be the team’s center, but to this point he is doing an outstanding job of filling that void.