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Kelly Oubre stands out on his own at NBPA Top 100 Camp

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Kelly Oubre is one of the hottest names in recruiting circles as the small forward from Texas continues to play well going into summer. Although overshadowed a bit on the AAU circuit thanks to top-20 teammates Justin Jackson and Justise Winslow, Oubre had a chance to shine on his own at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia, as he consistently was one of the top performers on his team.

Oubre, ranked No. 27 in Rivals’ 2014 class, enjoyed the camp experience and made it a point to come out hard every time he stepped on the floor.

“This camp has been great, if you look around you see all of these guys that have the potential to be great someday,” Oubre told NBC Sports. “If you want to stand out you have to do something different than all of these guys because they can all really play. You have to come out and play to the best of your ability, warm up hard and show out.”

Among the lessons Oubre learned was the amount of effort and dedication it takes to be an elite player. Oubre stressed the importance of taking in extra workouts like the 7 a.m. “Breakfast Club” that is optional for NBPA Top 100 campers.

“You have to do extra and you have things like the Breakfast Club in the morning and you have to do those types of things to be great,” Oubre said.

Playing in Charlottesville also gave Oubre the chance to shine on his own after playing this spring with Houston Hoops — one of the EYBL’s best teams. Although North Carolina commit Justin Jackson and five-star small forward Justise Winslow share the front court load with him in the EYBL, Oubre enjoys playing with them.

“Justin and Justise, you know they’re both great players so it’s great playing alongside them,” Oubre said. “We’ve been playing together for awhile so we feed off of each other’s energy and I just love playing with them because we can all thrive off of each other’s success.

Colleges also haven’t neglected Oubre and are showing a serious amount of interest. Kelly told NBC Sports that  Louisville, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, Georgetown, Texas, Missouri and Miami have all offered scholarships while he’s also getting interest from a few other schools.

“North Carolina is sending letters but they haven’t offered yet,” Oubre said. “Kentucky is also sending letters but they haven’t offered yet, so those are the only two (recruiting me without an offer).”

Oubre, however, is focused on the schools that have currently offered and two are standing out at the current moment.

“I’d probably say Louisville and Kansas are on me the hardest),” Oubre said. “We plan on taking an unofficial visit to Kansas soon.”

Soon, Oubre and his family plan on sitting down and discussing his future in detail.

“I’m trying to play the process out the best way that I can and find the best situation for me and my family,” Oubre said. “After this AAU season and after Peach Jam I’m going to sit down with my parents and see where I actually want to go and get serious about it.”

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

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.