East Carolina v Duke

College Basketball Talk Player of the Year Power Rankings

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source: Getty Images

The 2013-2014 season is sure to be a thrilling Player of the Year race, so to keep track of it, we will be posting weekly Player of the Year Power Rankings for your reading goodness.

Who’d we miss? Who’s ranked too high? We love to overlook your team’s best player and overrate your rival’s superstar.

1. Jabari Parker, Duke: Duke knocked off Eastern Michigan last week and Parker was terrific as always, finishing with 23 points and eight boards. The Blue Devils kick off ACC player on January 4th against Notre Dame.

2. Shabazz Napier, UConn: 15.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.8 t/o’s, 51.4% 3’s

There are six point guards on this list if you count Russ Smith as a point guard (Why not? He needs to be if he’s going to play in the NBA) so for those six players, we’re going to take a look at the numbers that Synergy has compiled for possessions they use vs. their efficiency when you factor in their assists.

A quick explanation of the numbers you’re looking at: PPP means points-per-possession, which is essentially a measure of how efficiency a player is offensively. Points-per-assists is a measure for how many threes those assists create; 2.500 PPA would mean that half of the player’s assists lead to three-pointers. %Rank tells you where that player ranks nationally in that stat.

PPP + assists is the key number here. It combines the points that player scores and creates off of assists, giving you a number for how much scoring a point guard creates:

source:

3. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State: 17.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.1 apg, 2.9 t/o’s, 32.8% 3’s

4. Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott continues to roll along, scoring 24 points and chipping in six boards in Creighton’s win over Chicago State. The Bluejays kick off Big East play on New Year’s Eve with a 10 p.m. tip against Marquette.

5. Julius Randle, Kentucky: Randle put together one of his best performances of the season in the first half against Louisville, going for 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting and completely dominating the Louisville front line. In the second half, he was saddled on the bench with cramping issues.

6. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse: 12.8 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.1 t/o’s, 40.0% 3’s

7. Chaz Williams, UMass: 15.3 ppg, 7.7 apg, 3.3 t/o’s, 41.8% 3’s

8. Casey Prather, Florida: Prather had just 10 points and five turnovers in Florida’s only game last week, but it came in a 76-34 blowout where Florida had given up just 11 points at half time. 

9. Russ Smith, Louisville: 16.9 ppg, 4.9 apg, 2.5 t/o’s, 31.2% 3’s

10. Keith Appling, Michigan State: 15.9 ppg, 5.0 apg, 1.9 t/o’s, 47.7% 3’s

Others: Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, Ron Baker, Cameron Bairstow, Jahii Carson, Jordan Clarkson, Aaron Craft, Joel Embiid, C.J. Fair, Aaron Gordon, Rodney Hood, Nick Johnson, Marcus Paige, Lamar Patterson, Adreian Payne, Elfrid Payton, T.J. Warren, Andrew Wiggins, Joseph Young

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)
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.