NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Duke vs Vermont

Former Duke forward Mark Mitchell is headed to Missouri for his junior season, he announced Friday. The versatile 6-foot-8 athlete ranks No. 6 in the CBS Sports Transfer Rankings and is the latest high-profile acquisition for a Mizzou program seeking to reboot following an 0-18 SEC campaign.

Mitchell started 67 games over two seasons with the Blue Devils after ranking as a five-star prospect and McDonald's All-American in the Class of 2022. He averaged 11.6 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 54% from the field for Duke in the 2023-24 season.

With Duke bringing in the nation's top-ranked recruiting class headlined by No. 1 overall prospect Cooper Flagg, who plays a similar position as Mitchell, he opted for a change of scenery. Third-year Missouri coach Dennis Gates is assembling a talented roster for the 2024-25 season. Among the pieces acquired so far, Mitchell stands out for his size and versatility.

He played as a small forward for Duke as a freshman in the 2022-23 season before shifting over to the power forward role this past season. The transition came with mixed results as Mitchell's 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 35.2% to 27.5%. Mitchell was nonetheless an effective player for the Blue Devils for much of the season until a quiet finish in the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri rapidly rebuilding its roster

Landing Mitchell marks more evidence that Missouri could be in for a major turnaround in coach Dennis Gates' third season. Gates also has commitments from No. 13 transfer Tony Perkins, No. 39 transfer Jacob Crews and four-time all-Horizon League guard Marques Warrick. The program's five-man freshman class also ranks No. 4 nationally in the 247Sports Composite.

As the freshmen get up to speed, the transfers are good enough to immediately raise the floor and return the Tigers to the promising trajectory they enjoyed during Gates' first season. Missouri finished 25-10 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the 2022-23 season after Gates arrived from Cleveland State.

But that team lost its top-three scorers, and the nation's No. 40 transfer class failed to make up for the lost production as Missouri finished just 8-24 and failed to win a conference game for the first time since the 1907-08 season. The 2024 transfer class is significantly more talented than Gates' 2023 class, and Mitchell could be its star.

What Mitchell brings to Tigers

If Mitchell can refine his outside shot, he could play his way into first round consideration for the 2025 NBA Draft. His defensive versatility is appealing, and he's a strong finisher at the rim. Here's more on his game from 247Sports director of scouting Adam Finkelstein.

"This year as a sophomore, 60% of his total field goal attempts came at the rim, and he made 79% of them," Finkelstein wrote. "He was a threat rolling off of ball screens, finishing above the rim, taking less mobile bigs off the dribble for a few bounces in straight lines, as well as a very dangerous offensive rebounder.

"His impact on the defensive end of the floor has been a constant. In fact, Duke's opponents shot under 45% on the year when he was on the court, and over 48% when he was off the floor. He's strong enough to be physical in the post, but also mobile for his size, so he has the versatility to defend multiple frontcourt positions and play in various ball-screen coverages. He's also an energy giver who is active and able to cover the court while rarely fouling."