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Two possessions enough to change an opinion on ’15 combo-guard Jon Davis?

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PHILADELPHIA — Jon Davis had put on a good performance through the first day and a half at the Reebok Breakout Classic, an elite camp structured around games for 100 or so of the nation’s elite prospects.

A 6-foot-2 combo-guard in the Class of 2015, Davis plays for the DC Assault and already holds offers from DePaul, Rutgers, Towson and Delaware. He’s hearing from the likes of VCU, Cincinnati and Xavier. He’s certainly not a secret.

But he’s not on the same level as Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 3 prospect in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals, which is why what he did when his team squared off against Mudiay’s was impressive. Mudiay had singlehandedly erased a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit by hitting four straight three-pointers, capping off what was the most dominant performance of the camp.

There was still more than two minutes left on the clock, however, and after Mudiay had given his team the lead, Davis answered by attacking him on the ensuing possession, hitting a pull-up 15-footer in Mudiay’s face. The next time down the floor, Davis switched onto Mudiay and forced him into a tough, fadeaway 19-footer, which Mudiay missed.

Now, Davis’ team ended up losing that game, partly due to a sprained ankle that Davis suffered in the final minute, but the young man had made a statement: not only was he not scared of going up against the best, he was capable of beating them, too.

“That’s what you gotta do,” Davis told NBCSports.com as he crutched himself out of the Philadelphia University gym. “I know he’s cooking and he’s in a zone, and it’s not to one-up him or to get in a one-on-one battle with him, it’s just to let him know that I’m there. That this is still a game, you’re not going to do whatever you want to do on defense and offense.”

If any coaches in the gym took notice, they’ll have to find Davis in a different spot next season. Not only did he reclassify down into the Class of 2015 — he was young for his age and playing up a year — but he made the decision to transfer from National Christian Academy to Clinton Christian Academy. Davis said that reclassifying has been good and bad for his recruitment, as some of the schools after him wanted him to enroll next fall, but overall he believes that it will help him find the right school for him.

And for Davis, the right school doesn’t necessarily mean the program with the highest profile.

“I just want somewhere that I can play as soon as I become a freshman,” Davis said, “and I know that I’m going to have to work for that, but I want the opportunity to play as a freshman. I don’t want to come in and sit the bench for two years before I start really playing.”

One school that has caught his interest of late is VCU. Davis went down to the campus for a team camp, and enjoyed the campus. He likes the style and the fact that he can play both guard positions — “I can play on the ball, and I think I’m better off the ball right now.” — but realizes just how tough it is to play for the Rams, citing the Navy SEAL training that he went through on the visit.

“VCU might as well be a high-major school,” he said. “They’ve got one of the best coaches int he country, they getting players. When I went down there, they told me they were sold out for 35 home games in a row.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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)
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
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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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.

VIDEO: Jim Boeheim makes TV appearance to talk Carmelo Anthony

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has drawn attention for some recent comments about former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

After Anthony captured his record third gold medal with USA Basketball, his former college coach told Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard that Anthony didn’t have a great chance at winning an NBA title.

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

Boeheim maintains that he was speaking of Melo’s legacy being about more than an NBA title and that he’s one of the game’s greats thanks to other accomplishments like the Syracuse title and gold medals. On SportsCenter, Boeheim made sure to stress where those comments were coming from, while also making sure his kids would stop being mad at him.

It’s much easier to understand where Boeheim is coming from in this instance and it clears up something that will probably go away now.