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Grad transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long commits to UNLV basketball

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Steve Marcus

T.J. Otzelberger, UNLV’s new men’s basketball head coach pumps his fist during a news conference at the Thomas & Mack Center Thursday, March 28, 2019.

One day after wrapping up an official visit to UNLV, grad transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long committed to the Rebels for his final collegiate season.

Mitrou-Long, a 6-foot-1 guard who played at Texas last year, made the announcement via his Twitter page:

Mitrou-Long played in 36 games for Texas last season, including nine starts. He scored 5.6 points per game while shooting just 33.8 percent from the field. He attempted 2.9 3-pointers per game but struggled with his accuracy, connecting on a career-low 32.0 percent from 3-point range.

The Rebels will hope to get the 2016-17 version of Mitrou-Long, who started 35 games at Mount St. Mary’s as a sophomore and averaged 15.0 points while hitting 38.2 percent of his 3-pointers.

As a grad transfer, Mitrou-Long will be eligible to play immediately for UNLV in 2019-20.

Mitrou Long said he anticipates sharing the backcourt with returning junior guard Amauri Hardy.

“Coach T.J. said I’m going to be a point guard,” Mitrou-Long said. “Obviously there’s another guard there — Amauri is also a one, two, so we’re going to work off of each other. [Otzelberger] wants me to do what I do, and that’s being an impact player overall, whether it’s scoring, passing, getting other people involved, leadership.”

Mitrou-Long played his first two seasons at Mount St. Mary’s, where he overlapped with another incoming UNLV signee, guard Jonah Antonio. Mitrou-Long sought out Antonio’s opinion on Otzelberger and liked what he heard.

“I asked Jonah who [Otzelberger] is and why he respects him so much as a coach and person, because Jonah always talked so highly of him,” Mitrou-Long said. “He said ever since he stepped on campus, coach T.J. hasn’t changed or switched up. Not a lot of coaches are able to tell you one thing and stick with it. When he told me coach T.J. is a straightforward guy, you can’t not respect a man like that. I want to play for somebody like that.”

Mitrou-Long, who grew up in Alberta, Canada, is also excited to wear the same uniform as one of his childhood heroes — former UNLV star Anthony Bennett.

“I feel like I’ve always had a connection with UNLV since I was young, because of Anthony Bennett,” Mitrou-Long said. “A lot of people thought he was a bust, but he mentored me and a lot of kids coming up from Canada, making it known it can be done at a place like UNLV when he went there.”

Mitrou-Long has to finish his course work at Texas and graduate before he is eligible to enroll at UNLV and join the team, which he expects to happen early in the summer.

With Mitrou-Long's commitment, UNLV has one remaining open scholarship for the 2019-20 season.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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