When it was announced in early January that now-former Oregon guard Brandon Austin had officially transferred in from Providence, head coach Dana Altman stated that discussions with the Providence coaching staff alleviated any concerns with regards to why the freshman was suspended.
“That’s always something that we consider very strongly,” Altman said at the time. “But in talking with their coaching staff, we felt like this was something that was not of a serious nature and we’d be able to move on from there.”
Of course a lot has changed in the months since Austin’s arrival in Eugene, with a sexual assault investigation leading to the dismissals of Austin, Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis (no criminal charges were filed due to a lack of evidence) earlier this month. During the press conference announcing the dismissal of those players, athletic director Rob Mullens said that neither he nor Altman were aware of the sexual assault investigation that led to the suspensions of Austin and then-teammate Rodney Bullock at Providence.
Whether or not one believes that to be the case is up for debate. And apparently, so was Austin’s status at Providence according to a report by Lynn Arditi of the Providence Journal. According to Arditi’s report the school disciplinary board that looked into the allegations initially ruled that Austin should be banned from campus until the spring of 2015, only to have their decision overturned.
The board found that “a preponderance of evidence” supported a finding of “sexual misconduct I,” which includes non-consensual sexual penetration, violation No. 14 in the college’s student handbook. It voted to suspend Austin through the fall semester of 2014, the letter states.
During that period, Austin was “not permitted to be present on any Providence College owned or leased property without the express, written permission’’ of one of several college administrators.
According to the story vice president of student affairs Kristine Goodwin reviewed Austin’s appeal of the board’s decision, ruling in late December that she could not support the original decision and instead ruled that Austin would not be allowed to play in games or sit on the bench for the remainder of the season.
The question to be asked is what Goodwin saw in the original report that led to her reversal of the board’s decision to ban Austin from campus until the spring semester in 2015. But given student privacy laws, will the answer ever be learned?
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.