Justyn Mutts wants to test himself against the nation’s top college basketball players and teams.
The 2017 St. Augustine Prep graduate will get that chance with Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Mutts graduated early this spring from the University of Delaware and transferred this week to Virginia Tech. The Millville resident will have two years of eligibility left and will be eligible immediately. Delaware plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, a mid-major conference.
“I got nothing but love for Delaware,” Mutts said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I know I had a great opportunity there, but being that I graduated early, I want to put myself in the best position to get to the next level.”
Last season, the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Mutts shot 53.8% from the field and averaged 12.2 points and 8.4 rebounds for Delaware, which finished 22-11. Mutts played both power forward and center for Delaware but will be a power forward at Virginia Tech. The Hokies finished 16-16 under first-year coach Mike Young last season.
“I want to be able to develop and expand my game,” Mutts said. “Not that I couldn’t do that at Delaware, but being able to play the best competition, being in the ACC, that will allow me to (become) my best version of myself on the court.”
With his length and athletic ability, Mutts can defend both on the perimeter and inside. On offense, he was most effective inside for Delaware.
“I’m excited to put the work in and be in the gym 24/7,” he said. “I feel when the games start, the work will show. The game is now is about versatility. It’s about being able to do everything.”
Mutts chose Virginia Tech over Mississippi State and Houston. Mutts said one of the reasons he chose Virginia Tech was its relative proximity to New Jersey.
“I feel their style of play really fits me,” he said. “It’s fast-paced. I feel like I’ll be able to go there and showcase what I can do.”
Mutts was the 2016-17 Press Boys basketball Player of the Year. He finished his St. Augustine career with 1,389 career points. In his four seasons there, the Hermits were 107-12 and won three Cape-Atlantic League, two South Jersey Non-Public A and one state Non-Public A championship.
Mutts graduated Delaware with a nearly 3.2 GPA and a degree in psychology. At Virginia Tech, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in agriculture and life sciences with a concentration in education.
“I value education,” Mutts said. “I value being able to learn grow and develop. One day, I want to be able to work with kids and help them develop and grow.”
Mutts, 21, began his college career at High Point University in North Carolina but transferred to Delaware after his 2017-18 freshman season when coach Scott Cherry and High Point parted ways. Mutts sat out the 2018-19 season under NCAA transfer regulations.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Mutts said. “I’m happy with life. I feel if you put good things into the universe and you get good things back.”