UNLV's Katin Reinhardt (L) shoots against California's Richard Solomon during their NCAA basketball tournament second round game in San Jose

Is the criticism for Katin Reinhardt’s decision to transfer fair?

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Much has been made of Katin Reinhardt’s decision to transfer out of UNLV this weekend, and not all of it has been good.

Doug Gottlieb tweeted “Katin Reinhardt was 2nd on UNLV in minutes/shots as a true frosh,so of course he leaves.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal didn’t hold back, either, criticizing Reinhardt for leaving after he publicly denied a report from late March that he was thinking about transferring.

“There have been rumors about this all year,” UNLV head coach Dave Rice said. “Katin and I talked about it a number of times during the season, and he always told me he planned to stay at UNLV.”

Jeff Eisenberg of The Dagger wrote: “That Reinhardt is leaving UNLV is remarkable considering the freedom he received as a freshman. On a deep Rebels team loaded with talented upperclassmen, Reinhardt logged 29.1 minutes per game and attempted the most threes and the second-most shots of any player on the roster, all despite making only 35.8 percent of his field goal attempts.”

Part of me gets it. Reinhardt was more-or-less allowed to shoot whenever he wanted to as a freshman despite the fact that he was playing on a team where he was often to fourth or fifth-best option offensively. There are few players in the country granted that kind of a green light, let alone when you take into account the fact that he was a freshman.

Some of the pushback also likely has to do with the fact that Reinhardt attended Mater Dei, and, as Eisenberg noted, eight of the nine Mater Dei players to be ranked in the Rivals top 150 since 2007 have transferred. The only one that hasn’t, Colorado’s Xavier Johnson, just finished his freshman season, so there is still plenty of time for him to join that list.

So, yeah, I get it. Reinhardt’s lack of shot selection hurt the Rebels from time to time last season. He comes from a program known for having their products transfer. His decision to transfer makes UNLV look bad.

But this wasn’t a playing time issue. This choice wasn’t sparked because Reinhardt was mad that Anthony Bennett got all the attention last year, or that he thought he should have gotten more shots.

Reinhardt wants to be a point guard. He wants to have the ball in his hands. He wants to be a decision-maker, largely because he thinks that’s his ticket to the league.

“[Katin] said that he feels his best opportunity to play in the NBA is to play more minutes at the point guard position,” Rice said. “Katin would have had an opportunity to compete for minutes at the point, but I’ve never guaranteed anyone that they will start or play a certain number of minutes.”

UNLV already has four point guards on their roster next season — JuCo transfers DeVille Smith and Jelan Kendrick (a former McDonald’s all-american), sophomore DaQuan Cook and freshman Kendall Smith. Reinhardt was likely going to be pigeon-holed into a catch-and-shoot role on the wing again this season.

He doesn’t want to be a wing.

He wants to be a point guard.

And frankly, that’s about as good of a reason as there is to transfer.

Reinhardt may not be perfect, and based on the video-denial he sent out regarding the report in March it doesn’t seem that difficult to dislike him, but I have a tough time getting up in arms because a kid is transferring so he can have a chance to play the position he wants to play.

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.