Kevin Ware  Tymell Murphy

Florida International’s postseason ban could provide three impact transfers

Leave a comment

On Tuesday afternoon, Florida International was one of the six schools that found themselves banned from postseason competition for the 2013-2014 season due to low APR scores.

The Panthers have Isiah Thomas to thank for that one.

And while I say that sarcastically about new head coach Anthony Evans’ program, there could end up being a couple of coaches that truly are thankful that Isiah Thomas took three years out of his life to wreck FIU’s APR scores, one of which is former FIU head coach and current Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino.

You see, the NCAA has a rule that says if the remainder of a player’s eligibility is to be played under a postseason ban, that player will be able to transfer to another program without having to sit out the mandatory one year. It’s the reason that Alex Oriakhi, a UConn transfer, was allowed to play at Missouri for his final collegiate season; UConn had an APR score that was too low. It was also why Keith Clanton became one of the nation’s most sought-after transfers last summer before he eventually decided to finish his career at Central Florida.

Minnesota has already earned a commitment from one former FIU player. Malik Smith committed to the Gophers back in May, and since he has one year of eligibility remaining, he should be immediately eligible for the Gophers.

And he may not be the only one, either. Raheem Buckles, a 6-foot-7 forward that had a promising-but-injury plagued three-year stint at Louisville, sat out the 2012-2013 season and was expected to be a senior on this year’s FIU team. There have been rumors that Buckles could follow Pitino from FIU to Minnesota since Pitino got the job.

There are a couple of other players who could be on the move as well.

– FIU’s leading scorer last season was New York City native Tymell Murphy, a 6-foot-5 wing that averaged 14.6 points and 6.8 boards in his one year with the Panthers. He’s a JuCo transfer and has one year of eligibility remaining. Murphy already obtained a release from FIU to pursue a transfer, taking a long look at Hofstra and Iona before announcing that he would be returning to FIU for his senior year.

– Buckles wasn’t the only impact transfer buried on FIU’s bench last season. Raymond Taylor averaged 14.2 points and 5.9 assists at Florida Atlantic as a freshman in 2009-2010, but he saw his production drop over the course of his last two years at FAU. Taylor say out the 2012-2013 season and will be a fifth-year senior heading into next year. He’s 5-foot-6, but he’s a dynamic playmaker when he’s under control.

Rakeem Buckles, Tymell Murphy and Raymond Taylor.

Keep an eye out for those three names over the summer.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.