Matt Roth

Matt Roth, a victim of Indiana’s scholarship numbers?

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Indiana’s scholarship situation has worked itself out, and there will be plenty of people who will have their stomachs turn over as a result of how it played out.

Heading into this summer, Indiana had 15 scholarship players. One of them — Ron Patterson — struggled enough in summer school that he saw his faculty sponsorship get taken away. He was not admitted into the University and will spend next season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.

Unfortunately, however, that was the only scholarship that opened up. No one went pro. No one was kicked off the team. No one opted to become a walk-on.

Which, unfortunately, means that Matt Roth was left without a spot on the team. From The Hoosier Scoop:

Indiana started classes last week and without him in the picture, the Hoosiers have 13 players on scholarship, which is exactly the NCAA limit. Roth, who already has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, isn’t enrolled for the fall semester, and has accepted the fact that his college basketball career is over.

“School has started, and they’ve got their guys that are there on scholarship,” Roth said. “They’ve got the right number of guys. I’m not enrolled and I’m not on scholarship. I never told them I was ready to move on, but I gotta look out for my best interest now. There’s no sense in hoping. I don’t know if it’s even possible now.”

Roth said he and Crean spoke briefly at camp, but he didn’t want to pull Crean away from coaching the young players at the camp. Roth said even though Crean didn’t directly address his status, he did tell Roth to use him as a reference for any job applications. He said he appreciated that, but it also allowed him to read between the lines.

“You kind of put one and one together there,” Roth said.

That sucks, and I truly do feel bad for Roth here. He graduated school in four years, earning a master’s in the process, but found himself a victim of the numbers game when he still had eligibility remaining. It sucks when you find our you’re not good enough. I wouldn’t wish getting cut on anyone, especially a fifth-year senior.

But I think that, in this situation, the only thing that Tom Crean did wrong was that he strung Roth along. Look, Crean honored Roth’s commitment to Indiana. He gave him four years worth of scholarships, which was enough to get Roth two degrees without crippling student loans, a trip to the Sweet 16, and a chance to experience one of the most memorable moments in recent college basketball history. He participated in Senior Night last year.

But for as good of a shooter as Roth is, would a fifth-year for him really be beneficial for the program? Would it be worth pulling a scholarship from another kid on the roster that hasn’t had the opportunity to get his degree yet?

This is big-time college sports. This isn’t YMCA basketball. If you aren’t good enough, you’ll get cut. And unfortunately, Roth isn’t good enough.

(The painful irony here is that Roth enrolled at Indiana when no one wanted to go there. His career began when Indiana was an afterthought and ends with him being forced to waste his final year of eligibility while watching Indiana make a run at a national title from the stands.)

I just wish that Crean would have told him. I wish that Roth didn’t have to say, “You kind of put one and one together there”, or that he has to admit that he’s going to be scrambling to figure out something to do with himself this year. Because he would have had opportunities. He could have transferred elsewhere and been eligible immediately. I’m sure that there are plenty of schools that would love to add a kid that shot 54.5% from three in the Big Ten.

I know why Crean didn’t. If, say, Victor Oladipo decided he wanted to transfer closer to his home in the DC area, Crean wanted to have a body to take his place. And to be fair, I think that Roth may have heard “We got a real shot at getting you a scholarship this season” when Crean said something like “If anything happens, we’ll call on you to fill the spot.” Desiring an outcome breeds optimism, and I think it’s pretty easy to realize that Roth really wanted that fifth-year as a Hoosier.

I feel for Roth, and, to a point, for Crean as well. He put himself in a tough situation.

But in hindsight, I think the best option would have been for Crean to tell this kid to move on.

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)
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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)
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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
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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.