Gophers men’s basketball got transfer win but still has lots of roster work to do in portal

Point guard Mike Mitchell Jr. could be one of possibly four incoming transfers

Maryland Terrapins forward Donta Scott (right) defends against Minnesota Gophers forward Jamison Battle (10) during the first half of a second-round Big Ten tournament game March 9, 2023, in Chicago.
Maryland Terrapins forward Donta Scott (right) defends against Minnesota Gophers forward Jamison Battle (10) during the first half of a second-round Big Ten tournament game March 9, 2023, in Chicago.
Kamil Krzaczynski / USA Today Sports

The Gophers men’s basketball program brought in a starting-caliber point guard for next year’s roster on Wednesday, but Minnesota likely is only 25% done adding players via the NCAA transfer portal this offseason.

Minnesota gained a commitment from Mike Mitchell Jr., but still has three of 13 total scholarship spots open for next year.

Mitchell, who played two seasons at Pepperdine, will assume Ta’Lon Cooper’s ball-handling duties after Cooper entered the portal in mid-March, then committed to South Carolina on Wednesday.

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Minnesota has openings after promising freshman guard Jaden Henley transferred out and committed to DePaul, little-used sophomore center Treyton Thompson did the same and pledged to Stetson. and junior wing Jamison Battle entered the portal two weeks ago. But a key piece last year has yet to announce his next destination.

To-be junior forward Dawson Garcia is the Gophers' best returning player (15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game) and the Savage native is the focal point for Minnesota to make a jump from a last-place finish in the Big Ten in 2022-23.


Pharrel Payne and Josh Ola-Joseph each played more than 600 minutes total as freshmen in 2022-23; those two Minnesotans are expected to see bigger roles in the front court next season.

Shooting guard Braeden Carrington dealt with a few injuries but still played 439 minutes as a true freshman a year ago. He and incoming freshman Cam Christie, a four-star prospect from Arlington Hills, Illinois, are the current top backcourt options alongside Mitchell.

The loss of Battle stings, especially with his decision to enter the portal instead of his initial plans to try his luck in the professional ranks. That leaves a key small forward roster spot vacant.

The Gophers are hoping wings Isaiah Ihnen and Parker Fox can return from multiple knee injuries to contribute next season. Head coach Ben Johnson said in early March both players had made positive progress.

Minnesota also appears to be in the market for another big man without 7-footer Thompson and former signee Dennis Evans III released from his national letter of intent and headed to Louisville.

The Gophers celebrated the addition of Mitchell, but their roster rework is far from done.


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