Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim passes Knight for 2nd on career wins list

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Brandon Triche had 25 points and six assists and Michael Carter-Williams chipped in with his eighth double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 10 assists, as No. 7 Syracuse knocked off Rutgers 78-53 in the Big East opener for both teams.

Under normal circumstances, this result wouldn’t be noteworthy.

Syracuse is supposed to beat Rutgers at home every year, especially in seasons where the Orange are slotted amongst the handful of teams thought to be potential title contenders.

Except this year is different, because this win just so happened to be Boeheim’s 903rd win, which slides him right on past Bobby Knight and into second place all-time behind Coach K.

To get an idea of just how many wins that is, think about this stat: since 1947, Rutgers has won exactly 903 games, and they’ve needed 12 coaches to do so. It’s taken Boeheim three fewer decades to reach that number. That’s pretty incredible, and Boeheim deserves all of the words that are going to be written about him in the next couple of days.

But before you take a stance on where Boeheim actually sits on the list of all-time greatest basketball coaches, I want you to stop and think about this shot right here:

What if Keith Smart misses that jumper? What if his off-balance, 15-foot pull-up rims out? What if Syracuse actually wins that 1987 national title game?

Well, obviously, Boeheim would have two national titles instead of one. He’d have one more title than Tom Izzo. And Bill Self. And Rick Pitino and Lute Olson and John Thompson Jr. He’d have as many national titles as Dean Smith and (gasp!) Bobby Knight. Since Boeheim started coaching — which happened to pretty much coincide with John Wooden leaving UCLA — the only coaches that would have won more titles than Boeheim are Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun.

I have my own issues with the way that Boeheim has run this Syracuse program. I voiced those issues after Boeheim won his 900th game last month. If you want to criticize Boeheim for the way he puts together his non-conference schedule or the number of times his team has been ousted from the tournament earlier than expected, it wouldn’t necessarily be unwarranted.

And that’s before we get to the topic of career milestones. I’ve never been one to put much value into “most (insert stat here) of all-time” lists. Being really good at something for a really long time doesn’t automatically make you the greatest of all-time.

There are valid reasons to be critical of Jim Boeheim as one of the greatest coaches of all-time.

But keeping him off of that list for having just the single NCAA title is to pin his entire legacy on one jumper from Keith Smart.

That’s a lot of weight for one shot to carry.You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.