With the coronavirus outbreak shutting down conventional college basketball recruiting, Mitchell Sueker's familiarity with the UND coaching staff was vital.
On Thursday, Sueker, a 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward from Marshall, Minn., announced his verbal commitment to graduate transfer from South Dakota School of Mines to UND.
"They did a great job recruiting me and letting me know how I'd fit in," Sueker said. "They sent me film of the team, I was able to text some guys and that made me comfortable."
UND head coach Paul Sather, who will enter his second season in Grand Forks next year, was the head coach at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D., when Sueker was a prep. Sather offered Sueker a scholarship out of high school.
UND assistant Nate Kaeding is also a former assistant coach at Southwest Minnesota State in Sueker's hometown and Sueker attended camps put on by Kaeding as a youth.
Sueker averaged 14.3 points per game for Mines, scoring more than 20 points on six different occasions. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds.
Sueker is a rare grad transfer, as he earned his electrical engineering degree in three years. Because he redshirted his first season at the Rapid City, S.D., NCAA Division II school, he still has two years of eligibility remaining. Sueker plans to pursue a master's in biomedical engineering at UND.
South Dakota School of Mines went 17-13 overall last year and lost in the semifinals of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament.
"I loved my time there," Sueker said. "There are great people there. I knew I was going to graduate this summer, and I wanted to push myself and try to play against higher competition. UND was a great option for me. I loved talking to the coaches."