Kelly Kline/Under Armour

College Basketball Talk’s Class of 2015 Draft

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour

When it comes to discussions of drafts in relation to college basketball, the focus is the NBA with mock drafts projecting where college players could possibly go. But what if there were a draft for the nation’s best recruiting prospects? The staff at CBT entertained this idea, with each of us having eight selections in the “snake” draft to put together our own teams.

A couple things to be considered: only players in the Class of 2015 are eligible to be selected, so names like Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum (2016) won’t be seen here. Also, the player has to be healthy at present time, with the idea of this being to put together a group that would be able to play immediately. Unfortunately that means no Ray Smith due to the torn ACL he suffered earlier this month.

Below is the result, with each full team available for viewing after you go through the pick-by-pick results. We’ll revisit this early next week, taking a look at each team’s strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the draft below.

1. Ben Simmons: In a class filled with big men and forwards, Simmons has proven to be the best of the bunch. (Terrence Payne)

2. Malik Newman: The best scoring guard in a class that lacks elite backcourt options. (Scott Phillips)

3. Ivan Rabb: Give me the big man who can take care of business in the paint on both ends of the floor. (Raphielle Johnson)

4. Jaylen Brown: Brown’s the 2nd-best player in 2015. The 6-foot-7 power wing is a steal at No. 4. (Rob Dauster)

5. Diamond Stone: Stone is the best low-post scorer out of the elite bigs in the class. (RD)

6. Skal Labissiere: Going with the “Twin Towers” idea here. Good luck scoring in the paint against he and Rabb. (RJ)

7. Henry Ellenson: Long and skilled big man can shoot from the perimeter, get post touches and rebound. (SP)

8. Chase Jeter: The youngest player in Rivals top-10 has shown promise on the grassroots circuit, gaining experience through adidas Gauntlet and USA Basketball. (TP)

9. Isaiah Briscoe: Good size for the combo guard, who stuffed the stat sheet for Peach Jam champions, New Jersey Playaz last week. (TP)

10. Cheick Diallo: A steal at 10 as a rim protector, rebounder and emerging low post scorer. (SP)

11. Antonio Blakeney: He’s lit it up offensively this spring/summer. And with Skal and Ivan on the block things could open up for him on the perimeter. (RJ)

12. Jawun Evans: For my money, Evans is the best pure point guard in 2015, a pure-bred winner. He can run any team, he doesn’t make bad decisions and he’s a flat out winner. (RD)

13. Luke Kennard: The 6-foot-5 lefty is one of the best shooters in a class that doesn’t feature many of them. There’s a reason he committed to Duke. (RD)

14. Allonzo Trier: I’ll take another high-level scorer on the wing. It makes the PG position even more important though. (RJ)

15. Jalen Brunson: He can knock down perimeter shots and get open looks for other players at the point. (SP)

16. Brandon Ingram: For the 3-spot I’ll go with Ingram, a five-star forward who battled with consensus top-5 recruit Jaylen Brown twice in Chicago at the adidas Unrivaled. (TP)

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17. Malachi Richardson: Adding a 6-foot-5 shooter to my back court, paired with the physical play of lead guard Isaiah Briscoe. (TP)

18. Deng Adel: The Louisville commit is explosive, skilled and fills the lanes on breaks incredibly well. (SP)

19. Stephen Zimmerman: Too many bigs? Not in my view, and given the spot this is undoubtedly a value pick. (RJ)

20. Dwayne Bacon: You can never have too much scoring pop on the wing, and Bacon can fill it up as well as anyone. (RD)

21. Justin Simon: A playmaker on both ends of the floor, Simon will fit in well with Team Dauster Elite’s run-and-gun style. (RD)

22. Jalen Coleman: My team needs a point guard, so we’ll go with Coleman as a player who can also create for himself. (RJ)

23. Carlton Bragg: A top ten talent falling this far is well worth it as Bragg can score inside, rebound and has skill. (SP)

24. Elijah Thomas: Not a known as a big-time athlete but will be tough to stop on the block. (TP)

25. Jalen Adams: Another playmaking guard, who can help run the point while putting up big scoring numbers. (TP)

26. Tyler Dorsey: Can play both guard spots for me off the bench and can provide another perimeter scoring option. (SP)

27. Kevaughn Allen: The Florida commit has the ability to handle the ball, and as we’ve seen this month scoring and defending won’t be an issue. (RJ)

28. Deyonta Davis: He has all the talent in the world, his issue is effort and motivation. It’s a good thing my pregame speeches are Eric Taylor-esque. (RD)

29. Tyler Davis: A monster on the block, Davis will allow me versatility in my lineups. (RD)

30. Danjel Purifoy: A wing who can also initiate the offense. That will help with this group. (RJ)

31. Caleb Swanigan: Swanigan gives me a big body in the post and the EYBL’s leading rebounder — and three of the top five rebounders overall. (SP)

32. Montaque Gill-Ceasar: Will do more on the wing than just score, he’ll add some defensive pressure as well. (TP)

Terrence’s Team
G Isaiah Briscoe
G Malachi Richardson
G Jalen Adams
G Montaque Gill-Caesar
F Ben Simmons
F Brandon Ingram
F Chase Jeter
F Elijah Thomas

Scott’s Team
G Malik Newman
G Tyler Dorsey
G Jalen Brunson
F Deng Adel
F Henry Ellenson
F Carlton Bragg
C Caleb Swanigan
C Cheick Diallo

Raphielle’s Team
G Jalen Coleman
G Antonio Blakeney
G Allonzo Trier
G Kevaughn Allen
F Danjel Purifoy
F Ivan Rabb
C Stephen Zimmerman
C Skal Labissiere

Rob’s Team
G Jawun Evans
G Luke Kennard
G Dwayne Bacon
G Justin Simon
F Jaylen Brown
F Deyonta Davis
F Tyler Davis
C Diamond Stone

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.