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College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Oregon State’s big weekend, three-star Minnesota big man sets two visits and New Jersey big man has a final list of five with some visits.

Can Oregon State keep the momentum going?

The commitment of three-star big man Drew Eubanks to Oregon State might not appear to be a major recruiting breakthrough on paper, but the Beavers and new head coach Wayne Tinkle are hoping to ride Tuesday’s commitment into a few more verbals this weekend.

Heading to Corvallis for the weekend is Eubanks, Tinkle’s son, Tres, and Stephen Thompson Jr., the son of Oregon State assistant coach Stephen Thompson. Three-star point guard Derrick Bruce is also expected for an official visit also with the aforementioned trio, according to Oregon Live‘s Andrew Nemac.

While coach’s sons will often consider staying home and playing for their fathers, the younger Tinkle and Thompson aren’t your average recruits; they’re top-100 players in the 2015 class.

The 6-foot-6 Tinkle is Rivals‘ No. 88 player in the 2015 class while the 6-foot-3 Thompson Jr. is regarded as the No. 74 player. If you piece together those two players with the 6-foot-10 Eubanks and the three-star Bruce at point guard, then the Beavers are looking at a formidable four-man start to the 2015 recruiting class.

Not only would commitments from Bruce, Tinkle and Thompson Jr., have a big affect on Oregon State in the short-term, but it would mean that the staff was able to get talented players to play around the expected commitments from their sons.

It also gives Oregon State a head start on the remainder of the 2015 class or future classes as the new staff can sell the potential quartet of recruits to future prospects.

Of course, Oregon State has to land verbal commitments from Bruce, Tinkle and Thompson Jr., but they look like they’re in the driver’s seat in all three cases.

Alex Illikainen has two official visits lined up

An intriguing recruitment to follow the next few weeks will be that of three-star Minnesota native and power forward Alex Illikainen. The Class of 2015 product is now attending Brewster Academy for his senior season and the 6-foot-9 forward recently set up some official visits.

According to Rob Howe of Hawkeye Insider, Illikainen will trip to Iowa for an official visit this weekend and follow that up with an official visit to Oregon on September 13th.

Minnesota and Wisconsin are both also involved with Illikainen and he’s trying to set up official visits to those schools as well. Cal also got an official from the forward when the old staff was still there and they are no longer recruiting him.

Although Illikainen averaged 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in the EYBL this spring and summer, he shot 43 percent from the three-point line, which is intriguing because of his good natural size. Stretch fours are coveted in college basketball and Illikainen will only get better playing his senior year at Brewster.

New Jersey forward sets a list and some visits

Isaiah Briscoe is Roselle Catholic High School’s most prominent player but 6-foot-8 forward Chris Silva is also a three-star forward and the No. 132 overall player in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings.

According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, Silva took an official visit to Seton Hall on Wednesday and then he’ll visit Rhode Island on September 3rd, South Carolina on September 12th and he’ll also likely trip to Kansas State. Villanova, the fifth team on Silva’s list, has no visit set so far.

This is an interesting recruitment because the schools involved with official visits come from different conferences, and in many cases, different parts of the country. Silva has a lot of different variables at play here.

Playing with Sports U in the Under Armour Association, Silva averaged 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 13 games this spring and summer.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

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)
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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.