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Five-star Californian to visit six schools before making a decision

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Five months after making a verbal pledge to attend Arizona, five-star combo guard Tyler Dorsey made the decision to reopen his recruitment in mid-June. And with Dorsey rated as one of the best guards in the country, the Marantha HS (Pasadena, California) senior was on the receiving end of a lot of attention from college basketball coaches.

Thursday evening Dorsey, who played on a St. John Bosco team that included UConn freshman Daniel Hamilton, cut his list to six schools. Dinos Trigonis, Dorsey’s coach with the Belmont Shore grassroots program, revealed the list via his Twitter account.

In an article written by CBT’s Rob Dauster during the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June, Dorsey mentioned the school’s guard situation as being an important factor in his decision.

“It’s looking at the guard situation,” he said. “Who’s going to stay, who’s leaving, who are they recruiting in my class, the system and how they’re going to use me in it, my relationship with the coaching staff.”

“Everybody is trying to get me on campus, but [I’ll do that] later, after I cut my list after the whole July season. I don’t have any plans for scheduling any visits.”

Arizona State has two seniors in its backcourt in Bo Barnes and Shaquielle McKissic, and they’ve already received a commitment from South Plains JC guard Andre Spight in the Class of 2015. Counting Spight the Sun Devils could have up to six scholarship guards in 2015-16, with Gerry Blakes and Roosevelt Scott being seniors. Cal won’t have a senior in its backcourt this season, with point guards Sam Singer and Tyrone Wallace and shooting guards Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Stephen Domingo (he’ll be eligible next season after transferring in from Georgetown) among the players who will have eligibility remaining in 2015.

As for the other two Pac-12 schools on Dorsey’s list, both Colorado and Oregon will lose key players at the end of the 2014-15 season. The Buffaloes will have to account for the graduation of Askia Booker, with Oregon’s high-scoring guard Joseph Young being a senior as well. Kansas doesn’t have a scholarship senior in its backcourt, with Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene all being sophomores and three freshmen (including Kelly Oubre and Devonte Graham) joining the program.

UNLV, which will host Dorsey on an unofficial visit, has some questions to answer with regards to two of their senior transfers. Cody Doolin’s request for a waiver to regain his senior season was granted, but the NCAA has yet to rule on the request for a waiver that would make him eligible immediately. The same can be said for Jerome Seagears, who played his first three seasons at Rutgers.

If both receive waivers the Runnin’ Rebels would lose three seniors at the end of next season, with Jelan Kendrick being the other. UNLV’s added three freshmen to the backcourt in their 2014 recruiting class, with shooting guard Rashad Vaughn regarded as the most talented of the bunch.

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.