Boise State head coach Leon Rice has two of the best perimeter players in the Mountain West in Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks, two players some believe are capable of making the Broncos a contender for the conference title in 2013-14. What’s even better for Boise State fans is the fact that both are juniors, meaning that they’ve got another year of eligibility remaining beyond the upcoming campaign.
But with two guards being seniors (Thomas Bropleh and Jeff Elorriaga) the Broncos have room for some more talent on the perimeter. Saturday night the Boise State program received its first verbal commitment in the 2014 class, as 6-4 guard Chandler Hutchison made his pledge. Like more than a few of the players who have verbally committed to schools this month, Hutchison made his decision after taking his official visit to Boise State.
According to Dave Southorn of the Idaho Statesman, Hutchison chose Boise State over offers from UC Irvine, Santa Clara, San Diego and Saint Mary’s. Hutchison may not be the marksman that Drmic, Elorriaga and Marks have proven themselves to be, but his versatility could potentially be an asset to the program according to his AAU coach.
“Just a ton of upside to him,” said Hutchison’s AAU coach, Perry Webster. “He’s long, rangy and can defend multiple positions. He can really improve as a shooter, and the coaches at Boise State are a great fit for that.”
The good news for Boise State is that with Drmic, Marks and Mikey Thompson all having eligibility remaining when the 2014-15 season rolls around, they can afford to take their time with Hutchison. Boise State brings in freshman Dezmyn Trent this season, a 6-2 guard from Tacoma, Wash. who averaged nearly 27 points per game as a high school senior.
Reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time as a member of the Mountain West last season was an important step for the Boise State program. The question now is whether or not coach Rice’s program can build on that momentum and become a consistent conference contender.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.