The Morning Mix

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The first week of “the new & improved” Morning Mix is complete. Aren’t you glad that it’s back? I know I am. There’s not another place on the internet that will provide transfer updates and coaching changes in such entertaining fashion. Yeah, I said that.

Enjoy.

– Nerlens Noel, the flat-topped  heir apparent to the #BBN throne at Kentucky, had a cameo in music video. The song, “Skyline” by some dude named Moufy, features the shot-blocking sensation throwing an assist during a pick-up game. The song is actually pretty good, Nerlens Noel or not.

– If you are currently in the market for a luxurious new estate to call home, how about Rick Pitino’s $2.2-million home in the Mockingbird Gardens community outside of Louisville?

– Our very own Raphielle Johnson breaks down the top ten power forwards in the upcoming NBA Draft.

The Crosstown Shootout is changing. It sucks and I don’t like it. I didn’t like Skyline Chili that much either

– The North Carolina Tar Heels lost a lot of size to the NBA draft. But with a crop of young guards on their way in to Chapel Hill, Roy Williams looks to rely on a backcourt-heavy offense

– Mike DeCourcy is high on Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart

The incoming class of new Big-XII coaches is kinda loaded. LAst year the ACC saw the most high-profile coaching changes, but the ever-changing mid-southern-eastern-north-western power conference has a bevy of new sideline generals

– Providence has lost a couple of players to transferring, but has picked up a few in return.  The most recent addition to Ed Cooley’s arsenal is North Caronlina State forward Tyler Harris

– Speaking of Roy Williams, he commented on the UNC academic scandal by saying “It’s not a basketball problem”

More on the interesting development on a company that’s been hired to monitor the social media accounts of college athletes

– I’m rooting for a bunch of guys in the upcoming NBA Draft. Iowa State’s Royce White is one of those guys

– Today marks a new day for the recruiting process. Starting today, Coaches will be able to use modern media to contact recruits in a way they were never allowed to. Rutgers coach Mike Rice is one of the coaches who is excited about the change

 

– Am I the only one who is kinda over the whole recruitment process of the Harrison twins? I can’t tell you how happy I am that they’ve decided to get this thing over with

– Highly touted Virginia Tech-transfer Dorian Finney-Smith has decided to attend Florida. (I just met my hyphen-quota for the week in one sentence)

– Don’t look now, but Larry Brown has reeled in another transfer at SMU. Everybody questioned Brown’s ability to recruit. Looks like there isn’t an issue with transfers

– Michigan-transfer (and All-Name Teamer) Carlton Brundidge has decided to transfer to Detroit

– In case you missed it, the CAA has decided to increase their exit fee to $million in the wake of Atlantic-10/C-USA defections. But the JMU Blog wants to know “What’s the deal”?

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

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.