Maryland Announces Move to Big Ten Conference

Maryland attorney general files two motions against Atlantic Coast Conference

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The moment that the University of Maryland announced its intentions to leave the ACC for the Big Ten in November, those who have anything to do with collegiate athletics had to believe that this would not be a pretty situation.

While there has been plenty of movement in recent years the feelings tend to be more raw when a league is losing a member for the first time, as was the case for John Swofford’s conference.

In the aftermath of that decision the conference sued the University to make sure they would receive the full $53 million exit fee as agreed upon (by vote; Maryland and Florida State voted against this measure) by league members when Notre Dame joined the ACC in all sports with the exception of football.

With the ACC also making the move to withhold “shared revenue payments as collateral towards the exit fee” (that’s about $3 million right now), two motions were filed by Maryland attorney general Douglas F. Gansler to get the ACC’s lawsuit (filed in North Carolina) dismissed.

The state also wants the shared revenue money that the ACC is withholding to be released to Maryland.

“They sent us a letter saying they are withholding royalties, the amount of money [the University of Maryland is] entitled to,” Gansler said. “They’re doing this because the University of Maryland owes them $53 million.

“When they sent us the letter, that triggered the ability for us to bring a lawsuit in court, saying you owe us this money. That’s what we filed. We filed it for the money and for the antitrust implications.”

According to both the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post Gansler filed motions in Prince Georges County (Md.) and Greensboro, N.C., with the latter being the city in which the ACC offices are located.

The matter of the $53 million exit fee is something that many within collegiate athletics will keep a close eye on. If the ACC gets its way and Maryland has to pay the full amount, will this keep their current (and future) membership from having wandering eyes?

If Maryland were to end up paying far less than that amount could that open the doors for other conferences to go after ACC members?

In voting against the raised exit fee in September, Maryland president Wallace D. Loh stated that he didn’t agree with the punishment of “people if they simply exit a relationship.”

Loh stressed that his objection stemmed solely from personal beliefs, and not a desire on Maryland’s part to protect itself in the event that it one day decides to leave the ACC. In fact, Loh repeatedly praised the relationship between Maryland and the ACC, saying that the school will continue to be a part of it for years to come.

Today’s action by the State of Maryland was to be expected. And with both sides looking unwilling to budge, the situation between Maryland and the ACC could get ugly. And just how ugly it gets will have an impact on the next step (if there is one) in major conference realignment.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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)
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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.