Considering Likely Next Domino to Fall after Makhel Mitchell’s Decision

Makhel Mitchell, Arkansas basketball, transfer portal
photo credit: Kentucky Athletics

Another domino has fallen for next year’s Arkansas basketball team, as Makhel Mitchell entered the transfer portal Friday afternoon.

The big man spent one year with the Razorbacks and will now be searching for a fourth school to play his super senior season.

His departure raises an immediate question: What does it mean for his twin brother, Makhi Mitchell? The pair signed with Maryland together in the Class of 2019, transferred to Rhode Island together in 2020 and then committed to Arkansas together last offseason.

That would seem to indicate Makhi will follow his brother into the transfer portal, but he had a much larger role than Makhel this season and could also be inclined to stick around for his bonus year of eligibility.

So far this offseason, Makhel Mitchell is the only Arkansas player to hit the portal, which is in the middle of a 60-day window for players to enter. It closes May 11.

Because this is his third transfer, Mitchell will have to graduate from the UA to gain immediate eligibility for his final year of college basketball at his next school.

Makhel Mitchell with Arkansas Basketball

A former four-star recruit who spent one year at Maryland and two years at Rhode Island before his arrival in Fayetteville, Makhel Mitchell — and his brother — brought an interior presence to the Razorbacks.

Listed at 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, he was the biggest player on the roster. Mitchell appeared in 30 of 36 games, including nine starts, and played 12.8 minutes per game. He averaged 3.6 points on 63.5% shooting, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but they were actually pretty solid when accounting for his lack of playing time. His 10.0 rebounds per 40 minutes was third on the team, just behind Kamani Johnson (10.7) and Makhi Mitchell (10.6), while his 4.7 blocks per 40 minutes was the best mark by an Arkansas player in nearly a decade. Moses Kingsley averaged 5.3 as a freshman in 2013-14.

Although his minutes were sporadic throughout the season, Makhel Mitchell played a big role in certain matchups that called for the Razorbacks to go big, which involved him starting alongside his brother.

Arguably his two best games came within a three-game stretch beginning with a 9-point, 13-rebound, 7-block performance against Texas A&M on his birthday. A week later, he and his brother played a significant role in limiting Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe to 7 points and 7 rebounds in a win at Rupp Arena. He had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 5 blocks in that game.

Razorbacks’ Roster for 2023-24

Makhel Mitchell is the first Arkansas player to enter the portal this offseason, but far from the only departure. Nick Smith Jr. and Ricky Council IV are definitely leaving to enter the NBA Draft, while Davonte Davis is testing the waters and Anthony Black is widely expected to declare, but has yet to do so.

The biggest looming decision is whether or not Jordan Walsh will return for a sophomore season, as he is a potential NBA Draft prospect. Trevon Brazile, Jalen Graham, Joseph Pinion and Derrian ford have announced they’ll be back for their second seasons with the Razorbacks.

It’s also worth noting that Mitchell’s decision to enter the transfer portal opens up a scholarship for Eric Musselman to use on another transfer. If Davis remains in the draft and/or when Black declares, that would open yet another spot or two in the 13-man limit, as would any further departures.

On the other incoming side of the Arkansas basketball transfer portal, the Hogs have announced two incoming transfers so far: Keyon Menifield Jr. and Tremon Mark. It appears the next to announce will be former Temple shapshooter Khalif Battle.

Here’s a rundown of what the roster looks like so far…

  1. Jalen Graham — super senior
  2. Makhi Mitchell — super senior (yet to announce his decision)
  3. Davonte Davis — senior (testing NBA Draft waters)
  4. Trevon Brazile — redshirt sophomore
  5. Anthony Black — sophomore (likely to declare for NBA Draft)
  6. Jordan Walsh — sophomore (yet to announce his decision)
  7. Keyon Menifield Jr. — sophomore (transfer from Washington)
  8. Joseph Pinion — sophomore
  9. Derrian Ford — sophomore (announced he is returning)
  10. Barry Dunning Jr. — sophomore (appears to have confirmed his return)
  11. Layden Blocker — freshman (2023 signee)
  12. Baye Fall — freshman (2023 signee)
  13. Tremon Mark — junior (transfer from Houston)


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