Ole Miss v Wisconsin

Drugs found during May traffic stop just one of Marshall Henderson’s spring run-ins with the law

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In the aftermath of Ole Miss’ decision to suspend guard Marshall Henderson indefinitely, some wondered what triggered the school’s move. Multiple outlets reported that failed drug tests led to the disciplinary measure, with Ole Miss even reaching out to Chris Herren in an attempt to help Henderson.

The conversation between the two finally occurred on Thursday, and if anything it’s clear that Henderson’s trek to recovery won’t necessarily be a speedy one.

On Thursday it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that during a traffic stop on May 4, Oxford, Miss. police found small amounts of both marijuana and cocaine in Henderson’s car. Henderson was pulled over on “suspicion of speeding” according to the police report.

Henderson was pulled over May 4 on suspicion of speeding, and Oxford Police officer Shane Fortner smelled marijuana in Henderson’s vehicle, according to the police report. Henderson gave Fortner a bag containing “a small nugget of marijuana,” according to Fortner’s report, and a search by a police dog turned up a clear plastic bag that contained “a small amount of what appeared to be cocaine,” a report from another officer, Mark Hodges, said.

Hodges’s report notes that the district attorney wouldn’t prosecute if the bag contained less than one-tenth of a gram of cocaine.

While he was cited for no proof of liability insurance, no other charges were filed against Henderson. Unfortunately for Henderson this was not his only run-in with law enforcement during the spring, as he was stopped on two separate occasions for playing loud music in his car.

Young drivers playing loud music is something that happens quite often these days, but Henderson nearly landed in jail due to his move to turn the music back up following one of the stops.

However, after he was given his citations, [Oxford (Miss.) police officer Jacob] Abel said in his report that he had to threaten Henderson that he”d “take him to jail.”

“After this Mr. Henderson began to drive off. He turned his music back up to the same level when I stopped him. I yelled for him to stop and after he did, I approached him and explained to him that if he turned his music back up I was going to stop him and take him to jail. He complied, turned his music down and then drove off again,” Abel wrote.

In regards to the drugs, Henderson’s past issues with substance abuse have been well-publicized by this point. But to make this a conversation about the likelihood of Henderson suiting up for Ole Miss next season ignores the most important aspect of this saga.

How much help does Henderson need? That’s a tough question to answer for an outsider, but the fact that the staff would reach out to Herren exhibits a certain level of concern they have for Henderson’s well-being. There will be a time to discuss Henderson’s impact on the basketball court, but this isn’t it.

Because while basketball is a “game,” dealing with substance abuse certainly isn’t.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.