Scott Machado

Some good collegians didn’t hear their names called on Thursday

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With only 60 draft picks there are some talented players who won’t get to hear their names called on draft night.

And thanks to some teams preferring to use their second round selections on European projects they can stash overseas for a couple years, there’s bound to be fans up in arms over some of the players who aren’t picked.

Here are some of the surprises from Thursday’s NBA Draft, including a point guard who some thought had a shot of getting into the first round at one point in time.

1. PG Scott Machado (Iona)
Machado not being drafted was a surprise, especially when his hometown Knicks could have used some help at the point with pick number 48. But the Knicks went in another direction, selecting small forward Kostas Papanikolaou instead. All Machado did last season was lead the nation in assists per game (9.9), and for a draft that so many said was weak at the point guard position it’s bizarre that he wasn’t picked.

2. SF Kevin Jones (West Virginia)
Have to wonder if the fact that Jones played power forward for much of his time in Morgantown hurt his draft prospects. But the fact remains that Jones averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, and there were more than a few people who felt that he should have been Big East Player of the Year.

Is he in some regards a man without a position at the next level? That can definitely be argued, but given Jones’ production it’s hard to believe that no one felt compelled to draft him in the latter stages of the second round.

3. PF Drew Gordon (New Mexico)
Gordon’s career may not have gotten off to the best of starts at UCLA but he was highly productive in two seasons at New Mexico. Gordon averaged a double-double both seasons, leading the Lobos to the Mountain West tournament crown and a five-seed in the NCAA tournament last season. Having averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, Gordon’s going to warrant a long look for a summer league spot.

4. PG Tu Holloway (Xavier)
Holloway’s senior season was short-circuited in some regards by the brawl between the Musketeers and rival Cincinnati in December. But in spite of his (and Xavier’s) mid-season issues they still reached the Sweet 16. Holloway averaged 17.5 points and 4.9 assists per game, and he’s a tough floor general who can get his own offense while running a team.

5. SG William Buford (Ohio State)
Buford returned to school looking to redeem himself from his offensive performance in Ohio State’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky. But while he left Columbus as one of the school’s all-time leading scorers Buford’s shooting percentages dropped considerably, as he shot 42% from the field and 36% from three. If Buford can show himself to be a consistent shooter on a summer league team he could earn a training camp spot.

The good news for these players (and the others who weren’t drafted) is that they’ll get chances to prove themselves in the NBA Summer League.

While draft night is the “glamorous” way in which to enter the NBA, there’s no rule saying that an undrafted free agent can’t play their way in.

Plus, going undrafted allows players to find the situation that best fits their skill set while also giving them the best chance to make a roster.

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

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

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)
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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.