Marcus Smart

April 16th is NBA Draft’s withdrawal deadline, underclassmen still have 12 days to declare

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Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart is the nation’s most highly-regarded NBA Draft prospect that has yet to announce where he’ll play his basketball next season.

“I have not made a decision yet,” Smart told NewsOK.com on Monday evening about whether or not he will enter the NBA Draft. “I’m still talking with my parents, the team, Coach Ford, just trying to get some things situated and get more information to make my decision.”

He went on to say that his decision will be “soon, but not that soon”, which is fine, because he’s got time.

The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is April 28th. That’s a rule that was put in place by the NBA and has nothing to do with the NCAA.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

The NCAA’s rule is that any player that has entered the NBA Draft with eligibility remaining and that hasn’t signed with an agent must withdraw their name from consideration by April 16th — which is today — or lose their collegiate eligibility.

That rule can confuse people.

Essentially, what happened was that coaches at the college level were fed up with having to wait until mid-June to find out what their roster would look like for the following season. It created problems for them projecting how many scholarships they would have available and made it difficult to recruit pieces to replace the players that would be leaving. If, hypothetically, Adreian Payne entered the draft without hiring an agent back in those days, Tom Izzo would be left hanging. He could try to find a recruit to sign to fill the front court void that Payne would be leaving, but it would be difficult to convince that player to enroll without knowing just how much playing time would be available.

So the coaches moved to reduce the amount of time that a player could test the waters. At first, they pushed the date the withdraw from the draft up to May 8th, giving players all of a week and a half to make the most important decision of their lives. Last year, the withdrawal date was move up further, to coincide with the first day of the spring signing period. That eliminates any possibility of testing the waters for these athletes.

Which means that the NBA’s April 28th deadline is now the most important day on the calendar. That’s when college teams will find out whether or not they are getting their best players back.

So don’t celebrate yet, Cowboy fans. There’s no guarantee that Smart is going to be back in Stillwater next season. Just like there’s no guarantee that Kelly Olynyk is returning to Gonzaga or Isaiah Austin is returning to Baylor or Trey Burke’s supporting cast — Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. — is returning to Michigan.

You still have 12 days to sweat it out.

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)
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.