Truell played one year of high school basketball at George W. Wingate High School. He then attended Southeastern Iowa Community College in Burlington, Iowa, before transferring to WVU. At SEICC, Truell caught the attention of many major college coaches by averaging 14.3 points and hauling down 12.7 rebounds per game. Coach Bucky Waters considered him to very agile and quick and going to provide valuable assistance in the area of board strength. Coming into his junior year, Mike was considered capable of playing all the front court positions. In 1969, he pulled down 104 boards while averaging 3.6 points. Returning his senior year it was believed that Mike was one of three Mountaineers (along with Bob Lowe and Mike Heitz) who must give West Virginia the strong rebounding play needed to complement its shooters.