Bob Huggins is out as the West Virginia men’s basketball coach, and that created a clear rift between the program and players that were recruited by the long-time, high-profile coach.
One of those was Tre Mitchell, who quickly went to the transfer portal. Mitchell would later commit to John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, giving the team some much-needed experience.
Coming from WVU, Mitchell has already played four years in college, spending two of those at UMass, one at Texas and the other at West Virginia. He averaged north of 17 points per game in his first two collegiate seasons.
With the Mountaineers, he averaged 11.7 points per game and shot 47% from the field. Mitchell was a coveted transfer, and the Cats were able to get a look at the 6-foot-9 power forward because of Calipari’s long-time ties with his family.
These ties are through Mitchell’s stepfather and go back prior to even him being born.
“Honestly, that’s something that goes way back before I was even around. That’s older than me. He’s had a relationship with my stepfather since before I was even born. I guess they did some camps together back in the day, and who knows what they were doing back then, but it’s way before my time,” Mitchell said of Calipari at a recent press conference.
Mitchell also discussed what stood out to him about Calipari during the visit to Lexington before committing to the Cats.
“He (Calipari) kind of more emphasized, just watch practice and tell me what you think type of thing,” Mitchell said. “And after watching practice, it was just like...I’m an experienced guy, and I can see what’s going on, and I’m like, ‘you guys are super talented. But you’re missing that piece.’
“And he was like, ‘good. That’s what I hoped you saw.’ He was like, ‘I knew that’s what you’d see at the end of it.’ It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s hard to pass up on.”
The Wildcats lost several key frontcourt players this offseason, including Chris Livingston, Oscar Tshiebwe, and Lance Ware. While 5-star center Aaron Bradshaw is set to join the team once he recovers from foot surgery, having the experience and depth will only be positive for the Cats.
Expect the 22-year-old forward to have an immediate impact on Kentucky, adding a key veteran voice to what should be one of the younger locker rooms in the nation.