Sean Kilpatrick, Jamil Wilson

College Hoops Player of the Week: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati

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Player of the Week: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati

The Bearcats picked up arguably their biggest win of the season on Saturday, as they held on to beat No. 25 Marquette 71-69 in overtime after the Golden Eagles had fallen behind by a score of 29-13 at halftime. Making the win all the more impressive is that Cashmere Wright say the game out with a sprained knee and Davante Gardner slowly but surely fouled out the entire Cincinnati front line.

Kilpatrick was the reason the Bearcats were able to hold on. He finished with a career-high 36 points, shooting 11-23 from the field. The rest of the Cincinnati went 9-35 from the floor. Kilpatrick aslo scored seven of Cincinnati’s nine points in overtime, including the game-winning bucket on a driving layup with six seconds left on the clock. All this came after he went for 18 points in a win at DePaul.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team:

  • G: Ian Clark, Belmont: In two games last week, Clark averaged 22.0 point, 6.5 boards, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals while shooting 14-26 from the floor and 8-15 from three. More importantly, he led Belmont to wins over both Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee State, handing both programs their first loss in OVC play while moving the Bruins into sole possession of first. Making things even more impressive? Over his last five games, Clark is averaging 25.0 points while shooting 68.8% from the floor and 61.1% from three.
  • G: Corey Hawkins, UC-Davis: Hawkins had himself a night on Saturday. He led the Aggies to a win at Hawaii on Saturday night with a 40 point performance. More impressive? Not only was Hawkins 8-9 from the three, but he was 10-14 from the floor and 12-12 from the line. The 6-foot-3 guard also chipped in with 12 boards on the night.
  • G: Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche, Syracuse: It’s impossible to differentiate the two, but they deserve recognition after leading Syracuse to a win over Louisville. As MCW spent the first 24 minutes playing like he was shaving points, Triche went off, scoring 18 of his 23 points in the first half on 7-7 shooting. MCW turned it up down the stretch, however, accounting for the Orange’s last 13 points and making the game-winning and game-saving plays in the final minute.
  • F: Carl Hall, Wichita State: In just his second game back after breaking his thumb in practice and missing a month of game-time, Hall came off the bench to finish with 17 points and 13 boards, six offensive, as the Shockers knocked off No. 12 Creighton 67-64 on Saturday afternoon.
  • C: Mike Muscala, Bucknell: In wins over Lafayette and Colgate this week, Muscala finished averaged 26.0 points, 12.5 boards and 3.5 blocks. He’s too much center for the Patriot League to handle.
  • Bench: Dorian Green (Colorado State), Rodney McGruder (Kansas State), Darius Theus (VCU)

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)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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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)
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)
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.