The Morning Mix

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– Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune provides the #ReadoftheDay, in which warns us that no one in college basketball is safe from scandal

– Speaking of scandal, Harvard he entered the mix. But Gary Parrish believes that the Harvard cheating scandal isn’t necessarily a “basketball problem”. Evan Williams of Busting Brackets takes a similar stance on the issue

– Dennis Barry takes an interesting stance on the Duke/UNC scandals, thinks Tobacco Road is too big for the NCAA. Not sure I agree, but I love that he is taking this angle

– Speaking of UNC, did you know that Tyler Hansbrough’s mom is now involved in this mess? Yeah, it’s getting kinda out of control

– Maryland has had quite an interesting off-season from a personnel standpoint.  The Terps lost Terrell Stoglin and Mychael Parker due to university-related issues, but gained Albany-transfer Logan Aronhalt and Xavier’s Dez Wells recently. Now comes word that freshman Sam Cassell Jr., a 6-foot-4 Baltimore-native, is having his eligibility looked at by the NCAA. Throw in the 2011 eligibility issues of Alex Len and the frequent injuries issue to Pe’Shon Howard, and Mark Turgeon has had himself a tough go of thing off the court since taking over at the helm of the Terrapins program

– But Turgeon has not had it half as bad as Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie. I’ll spare you the details, but the latest news is that BCG is on his way to the Mayo Clinic for stress-related issues. I’m just going to leave it at that. But make sure you click all the links. You’ll get all the info you need, and Boy, there is a lot of info. Seriously, there is just so much news pouring out every hour, an entire Morning Mix could be devoted to just BCG.

– Roy Williams brought a case of jewelry with him on his in-home visit with Julius Randle. There is a Duke joke to be made somewhere in there

Mike DeCourcy gives us some great reasons why we should and shouldn’t worry about what lies ahead in 2012-2013

– If you even the slightest bit about the AAU circuit, then you know the name Sonny Vaccaro. The Godfather of grassroots basketball is out of the game and according to Dave Kindred, who provides a fantastic profile piece, is a good guy now

– USC-transfer Leonard Washington has been reinstated as a member of the Wyoming basketball team. The leading scorer from a year ago was suspended from the program after an arrest stemming from a brawl he got in back in April

– A look at some of the potential breakout candidates in the Big Sky Conference

– Highly touted recruit Anthony “Cat” Barber has trimmed his list down to three schools – Kansas, Alabama, and North Carolina State

– BeeJay Anya, a highly coveted center from DeMatha Catholic (MD) will attend Indiana’s Hoosier Hysteria

The field has been set for the N.I.T. Preseason Tip-Off. Run the Floor provides a detailed breakdown of the tournament favorites. Rob Dauster discusses which top seeds could get upset early

 

Remember, if you find an article that is worthy of being in The Morning Mix, be sure to use the #ReadoftheDay hashtag on Twitter. 

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.