Brandon Ubel, Sandi Marcius

Sandi Marcius, Matt Painter and an ugly transfer

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Sandi Marcius is probably wishing that he thought his decision to try and earn a graduate transfer waiver through a bit more.

After Purdue’s season ended, Marcius announced that he would be leaving the Purdue basketball program in search of greener pastures. The 6-foot-11 redshirt junior had an up-and-down career in West Lafayette, but he played his best basketball down the stretch of the 2012-2013 season. It was obvious, however, that head coach Matt Painter was far from pleased about Marcius’ decision to leave in the official statement he made when the release was put out:

“We have invested four years and significant resources into helping Sandi develop from both an educational and athletic standpoint,” he said in a release. “Certainly, having Sandi here for a fifth year was in our plans and we anticipated him having a great final year in our program.”

Things have gotten worse between the two. There are reports that Painter banned Marcius from the team’s postseason banquet, and now Painter and Purdue are refusing to pay for Marcius’ summer school.

That’s right, Marcius announced that he would be leaving Purdue without making sure that he would actually be able to graduate in time to receive a graduate transfer exception. He still has a couple classes he needs to take this summer. Those classes could cost him upwards of $7,000. Purdue’s not paying it. So who is?

Well, Marcius could fork over the money himself. Or he could take out a loan. Or, obviously, he could decide to stay at Purdue instead of leave the program.

John Infante of the ByLaw Blow asks an interesting question today, as he wonders whether or not the program that Marcius eventually transfers into could refund Purdue for the money that they spend on Marcius’ summer school classes. A transfer fee, if you will. There’s a lot that would have to go on behind the scenes for that to happen, however. From Infante:

There would need to be a significant element of trust between the parties. Donors cannot earmark a donation for a specific student-athlete, and to get the NCAA to sign off on this scheme the destination school would not want if they could. So either Purdue has to enroll Marcius trusting that the second school will reimburse them or the money has to be sent trusting Purdue will enroll Marcius in the classes. And Marcius has to trust both schools to work this out.

But this could be a massive Pandora’s box that the NCAA may not want to open. The graduate transfer exception is the most visible benefit a school could get from paying another college for an athlete’s summer school. But it could also be used to get an athlete eligible before a transfer so he can receive a scholarship at the new institution. And all sorts of mischief could be had at in the junior college ranks.

The bottom line is this: Purdue is under no obligation to pay for Marcius’ summer school classes. Marcius is hoping that Painter will crack under the public pressure in the same way that Bo Ryan cracked under the public pressure when Jarrod Uthoff tried to transfer out of Wisconsin last summer.

I don’t think that’s going to work here.

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.