Beard has ‘really high expectations’ for new star Tre Mitchell

Nicholas Pannes, Sports Reporter

Two months out from the start of the basketball season, there are still more questions than answers when it comes to the Longhorns’ starting roster. But Texas fans can likely count on seeing a lot of Tre Mitchell this year.

Pundits argue the 6-foot-9-inch center from the University of Massachusetts might have been the most talented prospect to come out of the transfer portal. 

Mitchell averaged a solid 18.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 32.3 minutes per game last season while carrying the load for the Minutemen. As a proven scorer and an imposing defender, he appears a perfect fit for Beard’s fluid, defense-oriented coaching style.

Officially, Mitchell is the only player listed at the center position for Texas. That alone would demand a 40-minute schedule on a lot of rosters. But Beard sees Mitchell as another versatile piece in a team whose composition reflects the modern dilution of positional basketball.

“He’s a positionless guy,” Beard said on Wednesday. “I don’t see him as a center, he can really shoot the ball. He might be our best shooter, (and) I know we have some really good ones.”

Offensively, Mitchell remains one of the best in the country. But in a team stacked with elite scoring talent, it’s likely he’ll have to earn his playing time by working both sides of the ball.

Beard described Mitchell as a talented, agile defender and a natural shot blocker who knows how to use his size and can guard really well against the pick and roll. And he only continues to get better.

“Defensively, I’ve made it.” Mitchell said on Wednesday. “You can ask coach, I’ve made some strides … I’m starting to do some things that I didn’t even know I was capable of.”

Still, Mitchell himself said there remains a lot of work to be done.

“For me, it’s a day-by-day process,” Mitchell said. “I know that I’m nowhere near where I know I can be, so I wake up every day just thinking about what I can do to improve. In the long run, you put all those days together and you can accomplish something amazing.”

Mitchell is the third player so far to make an appearance in Beard’s weekly meetings with the media. His balance of confidence, focus and humility echoes that of fellow transfers Marcus Carr and Timmy Allen, who all said the players had no issue dropping personal egos to focus on the team as a whole.

“It just comes down to everyone’s character, honestly,” Mitchell said. “Everybody wants to see the person next to them get better and we push each other every single day.”

According to Beard, that selfless attitude was a key trait he sought in the players and staff he scouted.

“I don’t think you can win championships when you have guys in that locker room who think they’re better than the next guy,” Beard said. “The world doesn’t revolve around you. The University doesn’t revolve around us. To have that Texas swagger, that Texas brand … you gotta have that confidence, and you gotta have the willingness to back it up. But on the other hand, you have to have some humility to be in our locker room.”