(adidas)

adidas Nations Friday High School Recap: Jeter’s decision, Brown and UCLA

Leave a comment

LONG BEACH, California — Action kicked off at the fifth annual adidas Nations on Friday as high school basketball players from around the world and college counselors from around America assembled for a four-day camp. With many of adidas’ talented grassroots players in attendance, the event is a great chance to evaluate high school players one more time before the summer ends.

Five-star big man Chase Jeter is planning on announcing his college decision on Monday while five-star small forward Jaylen Brown is still planning on unofficially visiting UCLA and remains undeterred by the recent flooding of Pauley Pavilion.

Chase Jeter has made a decision — Five-star Las Vegas native Chase Jeter will be one of the first dominoes to fall among big men in the 2015 class with his Monday night announcement during the adidas Nations telecast on ESPNU. The 6-foot-10 Jeter is down to four schools — Arizona, Duke, UCLA and UNLV — and his commitment will mean one of the many elite big men in class is finally off the board.

Jeter told NBCSports.com that he already made his decision last week and is just waiting until Monday to announce.

“I made my decision last week,” Jeter said. “I’m 100 percent positive in my decision and I feel comfortable. I talked about it with my family. They said I should go wherever I feel most comfortable and that’s what I did.”

Whichever school lands Jeter is getting one of the younger players in the 2015 class as Jeter doesn’t turn 17 until September.

Jaylen Brown (still) wants to visit UCLA, and Kentucky — Much has been made about five-star small forward Jaylen Brown’s scheduled unofficial visit to UCLA following adidas Nations. The Georgia native is well aware of the current condition of Pauley Pavilion after a water main broke on the UCLA campus late this week, but he still plans on seeing the campus and has found some of the Twitter exchanges surrounding his visit to be humorous.

“[The UCLA coaches] said that Pauley is down, but it’s alright. Everybody is tweeting me like it’s going to have some type of effect on my decision or something. It’s not. It’s fine,” Brown said of his scheduled UCLA visit. “Kentucky fans have been using that to their advantage. It’s hilarious. They’re like, ‘Come to Kentucky, we have clean locker rooms,’ and stuff like that, but the UCLA fans go back at them like, ‘We’ll have brand-new locker rooms by the time you get there,’ so it’s funny to see stuff like that.”

Brown told NBCSports.com that he’d like to take an official visit back to UCLA — if things go well — sometime in late September or early October. Kentucky will also get an unofficial visit in late August or early September with a follow-up official visit likely coming in October.

After Brown plays in the Elite 24 in August, he plans on forming a list of 10 schools and mentioned UCLA, Kentucky, Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Georgia as schools that are in the running at the current moment.

Munis Tutu has a solid opening night — The Canadian team that faced Brown and Jeter’s USA Howard team was very much overmatched on Friday night by 2015 point guard Munis Tutu had a really good outing in doing everything he could to keep his team in the game.

The 6-foot-1 Tutu plays for prep school power LaLumiere during the school year, so he’s already well-adjusted to American basketball, but the guard had a solid showing on Friday night as he changed paces and used his good first step and speed to get in the paint and make plays. Tutu also got up on one dunk that surprised many in attendance and he generally played very hard on the evening while playing well against Arizona commit Justin Simon and UConn commit Jalen Adams.

Tutu told NBCSports.com that he has current scholarship offers from Kent State, Detroit, Binghamton, UMass, Auburn and Charleston while Michigan State and Robert Morris have expressed interest.

A spring decision is likely to follow and Tutu will try to make official visits during the school year.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.