adidas

Evolving as a point guard a continuous process for Sedrick Barefield

Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – At the end of the July evaluation period, 2015 point guard Sedrick Barefield had established himself as one of the better players in the class at his position. Possessing the ability to both create his own shot and provide for others, Barefield received attention from some of the nation’s premier basketball programs well before July.

But by no means does Barefield’s status mean that he’s done improving. In fact, July was simply the next step in a process that’s been ongoing for quite some time.

The ultimate goal for Barefield, whose team won the 16U division of the adidas Super 64, is one that many young point guards (and their coaches) have: achieving the level of understanding needed in order to have the proper balance between scoring and creating quality opportunities for his teammates.

“For him, he’s so talented, it’s about getting in and figuring out what’s going to be required of him each game,” Compton Magic Select coach A.J. Diggs told NBC Sports in a phone interview Sunday.

“There are going to be some games where he’s needed to score 25 to 30 points, and then there will be games where’s going to need to have eight points and 15 assists. That’s the next step in his development, to just continue to develop his point guard skills across the board.”

Sedrick has some quality sources to receive wisdom from when it comes to developing as a point guard, with both Diggs (Cal) and father Ray (San Diego State) having played at the Division I level.

“[Their playing experience] helps a lot,” noted Sedrick at last weekend’s adidas Super 64. “I get to hear it every day, so I know what have to do and what I have to work on. Now I just have to carry it over into games.”

For some parents, the need to balance offering their own words of wisdom with allowing the coaches to do what they need to do can be tough (or downright impossible). But that isn’t the case for Ray Barefield, who simply tries to allow the coaches to do their jobs without getting in the way.

“Earlier in his life [my experience] was a major influence, with us doing a lot of skill development daily,” noted Ray. “That’s always been there and I’m still helpful with that, but most of the stuff now is situation analysis.

“He has a great high school coach, and the Compton Magic staff does a great job of helping and mentoring him. As far as the game goes I just try to get in his ear little by little, just to help him with the knowledge of the game.”

With that comes the need to develop one’s leadership, and while many will look to point out the negatives that come with grassroots basketball it can also serve as a valuable training ground when it comes to the intangibles. Regardless of the level of basketball, few teams are consistently successful in a chaotic environment.

And as Barefield continues to progress as a point guard, he’ll become even better at knowing the pulse of his team and accomplishing the things his team needs in order to be successful.

“Being more of a leader and getting my teammates involved,” noted Sedrick when asked about the areas he’s looking to improve upon. “Just being a true point guard. You watch the [best] pros and they’re really good leaders, they run their team and they get everyone involved.”

Among the schools Sedrick mentioned when asked about his recruitment were “Kansas State, Boston College, San Diego State, USC, Fresno State, UConn and Michigan.” Rest assured that those schools, and many more, will be interested observers as Barefield looks to further refine his skills as a point guard.

Photo credit: adidas

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.

VIDEO: Jim Boeheim makes TV appearance to talk Carmelo Anthony

Leave a comment

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.