The Morning Mix

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First and foremost, our most heartfelt condolences go out to the Majerus family. College basketball lost one of it’s all-time greats this weekend. If the sheer number of glowing articles written about his life this weekend weren’t enough of an indicator, the reactions that flooded in showed that Rick Majerus may have been as universally liked as anybody in the history of college hoops.

R.I.P. Rick Majerus (2/17/1948 – 12/1/2012)

Let’s hit the links.

 

Monday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – Eastern Michigan No. 6 Syracuse
8:00 p.m. – USC @ Nebraska
10:00 p.m. – Texas Southern @ No. 23 San Diego State
10:05 p.m. – Fresno State @ Long Beach State

 

Read of the Day:
I think the general consensus is that this is the best article written from the weekend regarding the life and times of Rick Majerus. Dozens of phenomenal articles were written this weekend about Majerus and the legacy he left, but this is the best. Read it. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Read of the Day:
Seth Davis provides an entertaining and insightful piece about his experiences with coach Majerus. Read it. (Sports Illustrated)

Read of the Day:
A phenomenal compilation of Rick Majerus quotes. There is something in here for everyone. Read it. (KBrews.com)

 

Top Stories:
Seven angles of Cashmere Wright’s buzzer-beater against Alabama: Cincinnati’s Cashmere Wright hit a fade-away jumper over a 7-footer to beat Alabama on Saturday. A shot like this deserves seven different camera angles.

Dez Wells scores career high; Terrapins headed towards success: Nobody expected Maryland to be this good this soon. Thanks to a career-high 25 points from Dez Wells against George Mason, the Terps won their sixth consecutive game. With other ACC teams struggling, this could be the time for Maryland to make it’s move.

Four Hofstra players arrested for burglary: Get this. They even robbed their head coach. One of the accused was granted a hardship waiver to play at Hofstra immediately. Following the hearing, a parent of one of the players took a swing at a cameraman. You can’t make this stuff up.

College Basketball Talk releases monthly awards for November: Duke near unanimous vote for team of the month, Plumlee and Withey leading candidates for player of the month, everybody knew this was coming for UCLA.

Turnovers and poor shooting cost Florida State in their 61-56 loss to Mercer: The Seminoles seem to have taken a huge step back since last season. Michael Snaer is not playing anywhere near the All-American level we know he is capable of playing at. More importantly, the Seminoles now have two UGLY non-conferences losses on their resume.

Isaiah Armwood is thriving at George Washington: The former-Villanova forward is excelling in his new home, as evidence by his outstanding performance against Manhattan at the BB&T Classic on Sunday.

 

Observations & Insight:
– This is pretty neat. A few top college recruits chime in on their expansionocalypse thoughts. Rarely do we ever hear about conference expansion thoughts from the athletes, let alone ones that aren’t even in college yet. (National Recruiting Spotlight)

– Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash wants to become the NCAA leader in free-throw attempts (The Oklahoman)

– Kentucky’s 55-game home winning streak came to an end on Saturday. As Gary Parrish explains, it was because the Wildcats still look like a “November basketball team”. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Thanks to some inopportune fouling, the Washington Huskies were able to escape Cal-State Fullerton with a win (Seattle Times)

– Bucknell senior Mike Muscala doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves. Scoring 29 points and grabbing 19 rebounds in a comeback win should he earn him some props. (Big Apple Buckets)

– It hasn’t been easy for Mark Lyons, but after some early-season struggles, the Xavier-transfer is starting to set the tone at Arizona (Arizona Daily Star)

– Off to a 7-1 start, Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs are exceeding expectations (ESPN)

 

Odds & Ends
– I don’t even know how to tease this for you. WikiLeaks. The Brig. Panties. March Madness. Judge for yourself (NBC News)

– We know Duke is the best team in the ACC. But who is second-best? (College Hoops Haven)

– Rick Majerus coached at Ball State, Marquette, Utah and Saint Louis during his illustrious career. He almost ended up coaching at San Diego State (San Diego Union-Tribune)

– A nice look at how Twitter reacted to UIC’s upset win over Northwestern on Saturday (Horizon League Hoops)

 

Dunk of the Day:
After a month of action, we haven’t seen too many guys throw it down better than Kansas’ Ben McLemore

Video(s) of the Day:
You won’t find a better eye-roller than Mic Cronin (The Mock Session)
source:

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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.