(Image via UK Athletics)
While I won't pretend to know absolutely everything there is about the West Virginia transfer who has just been a Wildcat for not even 48 hours, I can say I have watched a lot of film on him over the last twenty four hours and I think I can make an early hypothesis on what he could be for this team.
First off, he came at a desperate moment for this staff which immediately increases his value to this roster before ever even throwing on a jersey. But more importantly, Kentucky has a lot of production it needs to replace down in the post with the loss of Oscar Tshiebwe (16.5 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 33.5 mins.), the backup physical threat that Lance Ware brought as an option, and the potential of what Daimion Collins is expected to blossom into before he exits college some day. Tre Mitchell brings extensive size, standing at 6'9" just behind only Ugonna Onyenso (6'11"), and a wingspan much larger than Tshiebwe's was. While the rebounding production will drop obviously, I'd bet that the shot blocking and rim protection value will increase significantly this season. Less floaters will be ran through the paint and the inside shots will be second guessed before attempted. Covering a whole lot of area will be what he's used for the most, I believe.
My next checkmark on the transfer and what he adds, which happens to also be my favorite of them all, is his experience. Tre brings in over 102 collegiate games on his resume which total for over 2,800+ minutes on the court. Outside of Antonio Reeves, this team consists of seven freshmen and two sophomores. The overall experience is lacking big time and adding these two in less than a week's time was so crucial in this offseason's movement. Experience is huge at this level of the sport. I can't overstate that enough. You bypass the preseason nerves, you know what it's like to fail so you're more precise in your actions in chasing team success because of your limited time left in college, and are very aware of the pressure and the grind of what being a D1 athlete consists of. All of this is the difference in someone who can ride a bicycle on a trail versus someone who is just trying to graduate from the training wheels. Experience is everything. It prepares you for the next round rather than facing it for the first time.
The third piece that he brings to this roster is a jump shot. Yes, a jump shot. Across four full seasons in three different programs, his averages round out to 47% from the field, 33% from the three-point line, and 73% from the free-throw. We had guards on the roster who didn't shoot like that last season. Now, he's on a more (projected) talented team than he's ever been on, so his touches won't be as much, but if you can shoot you can shoot. So one could assume that the touches that he does end up getting, should be good more than not.
Tre Mitchell's addition came at the perfect timing for the 2023-24 roster and while we know Oscar Tshiebwe's absence will be felt, I am confident that a good chunk of that can be replaced even if it means it comes in a different style. If it wasn't this, our frontcourt would consist of sophomore Ugonna Onyenso (16 career games, 110 total minutes) and a freshman Aaron Bradshaw. I'd prefer the vet come in and guide those two rather than the other way around.