The Morning Mix

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– The big news of the day is that Baylor men’s and women’s basketball teams were found to have made several hundred impermissible texts and phone calls to recruits. This all took place on the same day that star forward Perry Jones III decided to enter the NBA draft. But Gary Parrish takes an astonishingly brilliant angle on the possible sanctions: If this is all they get busted for, they should be happy. Quincy Miller will make his NBA decision later today. Rush The Court ponders the age-old question: Do the ends justify the means?

– Members of Florida International’s basketball team walked out of their banquet last night in protest over the school’s firing of head coach Isaiah Thomas

– Eamonn Brennan provides your must-read of the day: A riveting list of all the “what-ifs” from the 2011-2012 season

Jeff Eisenberg provides an interesting take on why Trent Johnson would want to leave LSU for TCU

– Ryan Fagan lists the top-ten first round upsets in tournament history. This past season’s tournament is most certainly represented

– Hey look, another person doesn’t think the new NBA draft deadline is helping the players. Is anybody at the NBA offices reading this?

– Michigan guard Trey Burke will return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season, despite reports last week that he was expected to declare for the draft. With Burke running the point, and a talented recruiting class on the way in, the Wolverines will be one of the favorites to win the Big-Ten

– Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, one of the darlings of the NCAA tournament, is staying in school for his senior year. Let him tell you why he decided to come back

– Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler will attend Pittsburgh, but it is still unclear if he will be able to play in 2012-2013 or if he will have to sit out a year

– Vanderbilt star guard John Jenkins will forgo his senior season in order to enter the NBA draft

– Kansas junior Thomas Robinson is officially declaring for the draft, and the issue of his real height should be the topic of many a pre-draft debateMinnesota has granted Chip Armelin his release, meaning the sophomore guard is free to transfer. it also means that the Golden Gophers will have a scholarship available to use on Trevor Mbakwe, who has granted another year of eligibility

– Not all is lost in Arkansas. freshman guard B.J. Young has decided to return for his sophomore season in favor of entering the draft

– North Texas fresh Tony Mitchell, a likely first round draft pick, has decided to return to school for his sophomore year. Mitchell initially committed to Missouri in 2010 but did not qualify academically. With the dominant forward back, the Mean Green are being considered by some as a preseason top-25 team

– After becoming one of the first players to declare for the NBA draft early, South Florida’s Victor Rudd Jr. has made the smart decision and will return to school next year

– Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham will not return for his senior season in Corvalis, opting to head to the NBA instead

– Matt Fultz provides a nice little SEC recap on NBA draft decisions

– In case you missed it, College  Basketball Talk unveiled their “Dunk of the Year” Awards yesterday. The Top-10 Dunks of the Year will be released later today

– You won’t find a more in-depth, detailed season-in-review post on Clemson’s 2011-2012 campaign as the one you will find at Shakin’ in the Southland. You just won’t

– In case you missed it, Georgia State is leaving the CAA and will become a member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-2014

– I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but if you haven’t make sure you have. It’s post-game locker room video following Kentucky’s national championship victory

– Speaking of Kentucky videos, the Wildcat’s bench mob, dubbed the W.B.A (or White Boy Academy) released a legit music video honoring BBN’s eighth National Championship

– Delaware women’s basketball phenom Elena Della Donne threw out the first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies home opener. If you watch until the 2:10 mark, you may notice The Philly Phanatic breaking the most sacred of all mascot rules: NO TALKING!

– Speaking of baseball, Kentucky’s Darius Miller is going to throw out the first pitch for a Lexington Legends Class-A game next week. We already know he can’t possibly do any worse than John Wall

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.