Eastern Washington Weber St Basketball

NBA draft breakdown: The top 10 point guards

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All this week at CBT, we’ll be spotlighting the top players at each position for the 2012 NBA draft. To start? The point guards.

1. Damian Lillard, Jr, Weber State: Lillard is the best point guard prospect in a weak year for point guards. While he has good size, terrific athleticism and the ability to score in bunches (he’s an excellent, efficient shooter), the question that surrounds him is his ability to run a team. Is he truly a point guard or a scorer that handles the ball?

2. Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina: There is no questioning Marshall’s ability to pass the ball. I don’t think it would be possible for me to overstate how well he sees the floor or his willingness to pass. But is he quick enough to defend NBA point guards? Can he be a consistent three-point shooter from the NBA’s line?

3. Marquis Teague, Fr, Kentucky: Teague had a bit of an up and down season. As is the case with most of Calipari’s freshman point guards, Teague struggled to acclimate to his role early in the year, but ended up becoming a very effective player down the stretch of the season. His jump shot needs work, but he proved himself to be capable of facilitating an offense during the NCAA tournament.

4. Tony Wroten, Fr, Washington: Wroten is the most interesting prospect at this position to me. He’s got loads of talent and potential: he’s 6-foot-4, he’s a terrific scorer, he can score in bunches and he can make highlight reel passes. But he’s a mediocre shooter that has questionable shot selection and decision-making.

5. Tyshawn Taylor, Sr, Kansas: Taylor, like Wroten, is an enigma. He’s an extremely talented player, as evidenced by the two month-long stretch during Big 12 play that he was the best point guard in the country. But he’s has a tendency to turn the ball over and is prone to bouts of inconsistency.

6. Scott Machado, Sr, Iona: Machado thrived in Iona’s uptempo system, as he is excellent leading the break and has terrific court vision. His jumpshot improved this season and he got into better shape during the offseason, increasing his athleticism and explosiveness, but there are still questions as to whether those two aspects of his game are NBA caliber.

7. Casper Ware, Sr, Long Beach State: Ware can flat out score. We all got a glimpse of it this past season when he went for 28 points in a win at Pitt. The LBSU point guard also made a name for himself by earning MVP honors in LA’s famed Drew League. But he’s only 5-foot-9.

8. Tu Holloway, Sr, Xavier: Holloway has proven himself to be a tough scorer with a knack for making shots in crunch-time. He’s also a terrific defender. But what does he do at an NBA level?

9. Tomas Satoansky, Czech Republic: Satoansky is a 6-foot-7 guard that can play both positions. He can create off the dribble, but his struggles defensively and his lacking jump shot are major question marks. Draft Express says it is “difficult to point out any one part of his game that will translate seamlessly to the NBA.”

10. Jordan Taylor, Sr, Wisconsin: Taylor is an elite floor general that really understands how to run a team and excels in pick-and-roll situations. He lacks elite athleticism, however, and struggles not only to beat his man off the dribble, but to finish around the rim. But with his ability to shoot and avoid turnovers (particularly what he did as a junior) makes him a viable prospect.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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.