Oregon State v Washington - Quarterfinals

Early Entry Breakdowns: Under the radar picks

Leave a comment

Read through the rest of our Early Entry breakdowns here.

G J’Covan Brown (Texas): Brown is a household name for many given the fact that he was the leading scorer as a junior at Texas. But with many projections placing him at the back end of the second round, he could end up being a pick that provides more value than expected. Brown averaged 20.1 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, both significant improvements from 2010-11. And while his decision-making could still use some refinement, Brown’s assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and turnover percentage (16.0%) in 2011-12 were the best of his career in Austin.

G Jared Cunningham (Oregon State): First-round athleticism but Draft Express has Cunningham slotted into the early part of the second round. That likely means that Cunningham is a player who could work his way into the first round with good workouts, provided he display the ability to consistently knock down perimeter shots. Cunningham shot just 33.8% from three as a junior and 34.4% for his career in Corvallis, but his scoring (17.9), rebounding (3.8) and assist (2.8) averages in 2011-12 were all career highs.

F Moe Harkless (St. John’s): With more names entering the draft Harkless slipped from teetering on the edge of the lottery to the latter stages of the first round. That may be a bit low for a guy who along with D’Angelo Harrison carried much of the offensive load for the Red Storm in 2011-12. And while the Big East Rookie of the Year didn’t experience a great amount of success in the wins department, Harkless’ versatility was evident on a nightly basis. And Harkless did this while playing at the ‘4’ on most nights; more freedom to roam at the next level could pay off for whichever team selects him.

F Hollis Thompson (Georgetown): Thompson improved both his scoring (12.8) and rebounding (5.5) numbers as a junior, but it feels like he left Georgetown without realizing his ceiling in college. At 6-8, the Los Angeles native is capable of being a match-up problem on the wing, shooting 47.7% from the field and 43.9% from three in three seasons. Thompson didn’t take too many shots at attacking foes off the dribble in college, and if he can show in workouts that he’s capable of doing so at the pro level Thompson could rise up draft boards.

F Royce White (Iowa State): White had an outstanding season at Iowa State, leading the Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005. But pro drafts tend to also mean the digging up of past foibles (“red flags”), which could lead to a drop in his stock. And while there is a need for teams to do their due diligence that would prove to be a mistake with White. If teams were to use this as an excuse to drop White out of the first round, someone’s going to end up with a steal early in the second.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.