Anthony Marshall, Anthony Drmic

Anthony Marshall leads UNLV to a win over impressive Boise State

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Yesterday, we took a look at Boise State, a team that has dealt with as many injuries and suspension as any team in the country.

When the Broncos have their entire roster available, they are, quite clearly, a dangerous team. A win at Creighton and wins over UNLV and Colorado State at home should tell you as much.

On Tuesday night, however, a full roster wasn’t enough, as the Broncos couldn’t stop Anthony Marshall down the stretch. Marshall sparked an 18-5 run after Boise State took a 56-50 lead with 4:42 left on the clock, leading the Rebels to a 68-64 win in the Thomas & Mack Center in yet another thrilling Mountain West finish.

(Before I go any further, a quick tangent: I questioned Anthony Marshall as much as anyone heading into the season. I didn’t think he was enough of a true point guard to lead this UNLV team that desperately needed a true point guard. He had 16 points, seven assists, no turnovers, shot 5-6 from the floor and 6-7 from the line last night while taking over down the stretch. On the season, he’s averaging 10.9 points. 5.9 assists, and 2.6 turnovers with shooting splits of 47.3/37.0/69/3. I’ll take my crow with salt and a little bit of sriracha, please.)

But when you look a little deeper, Boise’s performance should be as promising as the loss was disappointing.

Derrick Marks is Boise State’s leading scorer and the most dangerous player on a team that also includes Jeff Elorriaga, who hit three straight threes in the span of about a minute on Tuesday night to give Boise State that 56-50 lead. Marks averages 16.0 points and 3.9 assists, which is impressive, but not quite as impressive as the 35 points he scored in the win at Creighton or the 38 points he put on Colorado State on Saturday. Marks also had 30 in a win over Fresno State, 27 in an overtime loss at New Mexico and 24 in a four point loss at Michigan State.

Last night?

Marks was a complete non-factor.

He scored just four points in 18 minutes, finishing with more turnovers (seven) and fouls (five, although at most three of them were deserved) than points (four).

And the Broncos still managed to find themselves up six on UNLV in an arena where New Mexico, Colorado State, and San Diego State all lost in an 11 day stretch in February.

Boise State isn’t a lock for the NCAA tournament yet, but they host San Diego State on Saturday and will likely get another shot at the Aztecs in the first round of the MWC tournament. Win one of those games, and BSU can probably lace up their dancing shoes.

Don’t be surprised if they pull off an upset or two when they get there.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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)
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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
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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.