The Morning Mix – Midnight Madness Edition

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Midnight Madness events across the country took place this weekend, signaling the start to the 2012-13 college basketball season. With so much taking place on Friday night, we’re providing you with a video-heavy Morning Mix of all the Midnight Madness action.

For the regular Monday edition of The Morning Mix, you can click here

– If there is something specific you are looking for, but can’t find it here, there’s a good chance that Jeff Eisenberg documented it over at Yahoo Sports’ The Dagger. Jeff put together a great running list of all the top Midnight Madness moments from this weekend

A great mixtape of highlights from Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, which is gaining a strong reputation as the premiere season tip-off event in all of college basketball, as evidence by their $300K budget. Plus, Matthew Mitchell, the head coach of Kentucky’s women’s team, has gained a nice cult following thanks in large part to his charisma and MC Hammer routine at Midnight Madness. While John Calipari won’t go to the same creative lengths as Tom Izzo, he utilizes the season-opening event better than any coach in the country. Plus, he turned the court at Rupp Arena into a projection screen TV:
 

 
 
– Speaking of Tom Izzo, Michigan State’s Spartan Madness is always one of the more entertaining Midnight Madness events, and coach Izzo and his family always dress up for the show.  This year the Izzo’s donned superhero outfits, and Tom made his entrance on a zip line in a full Iron Man suit:
 

 
 
– Baylor’s Moonlight Madness has become home to some of the best preseason dunk contests in the country. Duece Bello is one of the best dunkers in the country, Pierre Jackson has a 50-inch vertical, and even Brittney Griner can throw down. Lots of dunks were had on Friday night

– The grandfather of North Carolina State sharpshooter Scott Wood collapsed at Primetime with the Pack and was taken to a nearby hospital. He was released on Saturday afternoon

– At Wagner College, Josh Thompson dunked over both his parents at Madness Before Midnight. In 2011, Thompson dunked over his mother, and decided to bring his dad along for the fun this time around

A student hit a half court shot and won a car at San Diego State’s Madness on the Mesa

– College Basketball Talk released our list of Top Dunkers to watch in 2012-13, and Memphis’ D.J. Stephens was one of the few elite dunkers left off the list. This was a huge mistake. What you are about to watch may be the most impressive dunk I have ever seen:
 

 
 
– For Texas Tech, their Midnight Madness event signified the end of the madness that was Billy Gilispie’s tenure as head coach

A great mixtape from Minnesota’s Midnight Madness event, featuring a bevy of highlight reel dunks from Rodney Williams

– The Cleveland State Vikings took a militaristic approach to their Midnight Madness, dressing up in full combat camouflage and entering the arena in an army surplus truck

– Two years ago, Keion Bell dunked over seven people at Pepperdine’s Midnight Madness. Bell transferred to Missouri last year and had to sit out last season. He made his Tigers debut at Midnight Madness, and promptly dunked over six people

– Purdue’s D.J. Byrd punk’d the fans at the Boilermaker’s Midnight Madness. The senior guard dressed up as Dirk Hunter, a country music performer, only to remove his costume mid-performer

– The Carrier Dome held a rather interesting Syracuse Midnight Madness. The event was hosted by Scoop Jardine and his girlfriend Jasmine Jordan, the daughter of Michael Jordan. If that wasn’t enough, a man was stabbed during the event in the concourse area. Oh, and the men’s and women’s basketball team broke out some “Gangham Style” at the end of their rather-entertaining dance medley

– Speaking of “Gangham Style”, the senior class at Kansas did a spot on rendition of the viral video mega-hit. Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young shut it down:
 

 
 
– Pittsburgh held their Midnight Madness event outside, a new wrinkle to Midnight Madness that is likely to be replicated at various campuses across the country. Coach Jamie Dixon made his entrance as Jackie Moon, Will Ferrell’s character from the comedy “Semi-Pro”. This is not likely to be replicated by many coaches across the country

– At Georgetown University, Jack the Bulldog made his return from an ACL injury the 9-year old bulldog sustained on Selection Sunday back in March. He was joined on Friday night by Jack Junior (J.J.) who was making his Georgetown debut. J.J. is only ten months old and will take over game day duties in a few years

An awesome mash-up of highlights from the Midnight Madness festivities at UNC-Wilmington. While the Seahawks didn’t have the saem theatrics as Kentucky, the event was still entertaining, and provided a great atmosphere for the season tip-off

– St. John’s JaKarr Simpson threw down a a nice one-handed dunk at Red Storm Tip-Off. But the dunk was set-up by a nice soccer-flick from Orlando Sanchez

– Who doesn’t love when fat people dance? North Carolina State has the right idea

 

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.