Robert Morris Athletics

The Chase for 180: Karvel Anderson leads shorthanded Robert Morris to NEC crown

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

January proved to be a tough month for the Robert Morris Colonials from a personnel standpoint. Four players, most notably freshman Jeremiah Worthem, were suspended and forward Mike McFadden made the decision to leave the program. Add this to the late-December departure of junior guard Desjuan Newton, and Andy Toole’s team was effectively reduced to eight players for the remainder of the season.

For some teams this would be an excuse to crumble, to point to the lack of bodies as a suitable reason for their demise. But that wasn’t the case for Robert Morris, which made the adjustments needed to finish Northeast Conference with a 14-2 record and win the regular season title. Defensively the Colonials played an active 2-3 zone, getting after opponents while also looking to compensate for their lack of interior depth. As for the offense, guard Karvel Anderson and guard/forward Lucky Jones were asked to do more with the former separating himself as the NEC’s best player.

According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers Anderson, voted NEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, finished the regular season with a shot percentage of 31.9%. And even with the responsibility to score (19.6 ppg) Anderson managed to shoot well from the field (51.4%) and from three (46.4%) while also making 81.4% of his shots from the foul line. And as he did last season, making just over 50% of his two-point jumpers per hoop-math.com, Anderson’s performed well in the mid-range game by making 52.3% of those shots.

A difference for Anderson as a senior when compared to his numbers from a season ago: he’s getting to the rim at a higher clip. After attempting just 9.7% of his shots at the rim last season Anderson’s taken 16.6% of his shots around the basket, converting 66.2% of those looks. Last season, Anderson shot 58.6% at the rim. Anderson has clearly been the first name mentioned in opposing scouting reports, but that has done little to keep the guard from producing and helping lead the Colonials to the NEC regular season title.

The question now is whether or not he can do so three more times, thus leading Robert Morris to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
51.6% FG, 50.5% 3PT, 85.2% FT = 187.3
Shot %: 17.2
eFG %: 66.1
True shooting %: 71.6

2) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
60.2, 50.7, 74.0 = 184.9
Shot %: 18.5
eFG %: 68.1
True shooting %: 69.8

3) Brett Olson (Denver)
47.9, 43.8, 91.8 = 183.5
Shot %: 21.8
eFG %: 58.2
True shooting %: 64.0

4) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
51.4, 43.6, 87.7 = 182.7
Shot %: 37.6
eFG %: 58.8
True shooting %: 63.7

5) Brenton Williams (South Carolina)
43.0, 42.6, 95.4 = 181.0
Shot %: 25.3
eFG %: 56.3
True shooting %: 62.7

6) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
43.7, 43.0, 93.9 = 180.6
Shot %: 29.5
eFG %: 54.3
True shooting %: 60.2

7) Anthony Brown (Stanford)
50.4, 48.5, 81.1 = 180.0
Shot %: 18.8
eFG %: 60.0
True shooting %: 64.4

8) Karvel Anderson (Robert Morris)
51.4, 46.4, 81.4 = 179.2
Shot %: 31.9
eFG %: 63.6
True shooting %: 65.6

9) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
44.9, 45.4, 88.9 = 179.2
Shot %: 22.2
eFG %: 62.2
True shooting %: 66.7

10) Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington)
45.5, 45.3, 88.3 = 179.1
Shot %: 28.0
eFG %: 57.2
True shooting %: 62.7

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts)

1) C Kevin Ferguson (Army)
64.2% FG, 1.53 points/shot

2) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
64.1% FG, 1.62 points/shot

3) F Marshall Bjorklund (North Dakota State)
63.9% FG, 1.55 points/shot

4) F Steve Forbes (IPFW)
63.8% FG, 1.70 points/shot

5) F Jarvis Williams (Murray State)
63.3% FG, 1.77 points/shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29
February 5
February 12
February 19
February 26

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.