Pepperdine transfer Mike Mitchell Jr. officially became a member of the Gophers basketball team on Tuesday by signing his letter of intent.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore from San Jose, Calif., averaged 11.4 points, 5.0 assists, 4.1 rebounds and shot 44% from three-point range this season. He led the West Coast Conference in assists during conference play and started all 63 games in his career the last two seasons.

Mitchell was also named to the WCC all-freshman team after averaging 9.1 points and 4.9 assists at Pepperdine in 2020-21.

"As an older player with great experience, Mike brings a strong leadership presence to our backcourt," Gophers coach Ben Johnson said in a statement. "I love his ability to play in ball screens and his perimeter shooting capability at 44 percent last year. We're looking forward to getting him on campus this summer."

Other schools that recruited Mitchell heavily included Oklahoma, Clemson, San Diego State and UNLV. After entering the portal on March 13, Mitchell developed a strong relationship with Johnson and assistant Marcus Jenkins, a California native.

After his official visit March 25-26, Mitchell committed to the Gophers last week.

"I felt most comfortable with them," Mitchell said. "Looking at the team, I can see they have great players coming back. We can just make a big run in the Big Ten, I feel like."

The Gophers (9-22) return leading scorer and rebounder Dawson Garcia, but freshman Braeden Carrington is the only guard coming back who saw minutes this past season.

Johnson landed four-star Illinois high school guard Cameron Christie, who is expected to help immediately. But the Gophers have contacted more than 30 players in the transfer portal to add more experience to the backcourt for the 2023-24 season.

Johnson spoke generally on recruiting the portal during a Q&A with the Star Tribune last week.

"I think there's a thousand names in there right now," Johnson said. "We'll look to add pieces in the portal that add to that perimeter depth and are different than what we have. That will put us in position next year to really be competitive."

Among the abundance of transfers who have talked with the Gophers, North Alabama sophomore Daniel Ortiz narrowed his list recently to six schools, including Minnesota.

Charleston Southern sophomore Claudell Harris Jr. talked with the Gophers on a zoom call and has interest in visiting after taking trips to Boston College and Florida this month. Wofford's Jackson Paveletzke, a Wisconsin native, was a candidate to visit the U as well.

The Gophers, who still have three scholarships available for next season, also did a video call with East Carolina's Javon Small, but his only reported visit is with Oklahoma. Other transfers recently contacted by Johnson and his staff were Northern Arizona's Jalen Cone, Iowa State's Caleb Grill, Florida State's Caleb Mills, and North Texas' Tylor Perry, who won MVP honors leading his team to the NIT title.