Mike D’Antoni coaching at the college level? You never know.

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Mike D’Antoni has coached at the professional level for his entire coaching career, most recently running the New York Knicks before deciding that he’d had enough of coaching in the Big Apple.

Currently an assistant on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at the Olympics, the question regarding D’Antoni is what his next move will be.

Could we see D’Antoni on a college bench in the near future? Well, the idea began to grow on him as he accompanied his son on some college visits, according to Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic.

D’Antoni, 61, never envisioned himself as a college coach. He can be stubborn and headstrong, and he badly wanted to prove his system could work in the NBA. But in the process of taking his son on college visits, his perspective began to change.

“You think about it,” D’Antoni said. “You look at it and think, ‘Oh, that could be fun.’ One thing I do know from taking my son around is that anytime you step on a college campus, you feel energy.

“You feel an excitement that’s not there, normally, where the business (of basketball) takes over. And obviously, when you feel the excitement; things go through your head.”

Of course, with D’Antoni stating in the article that he’s moving back to the Phoenix area ‘with or without a job,’ the immediate thought of some may be the state of affairs at the major college in the area.

Arizona State currently has a head coach in Herb Sendek, but the Sun Devils have won just 22 games over the last two seasons.

And with a style of play that has been cited in some circles as one reason for the many empty seats at Wells Fargo Arena, this could be a big year in regards to the future of the program.

Sendek was not hired by new Vice President for University Athletics Steve Patterson, who already has prodded the coach to be more visible in the community. Sendek has 22 wins in the past two years, and his system carries a different stigma: boring.

That’s an uninformed perception, and it should change with the unveiling of Jahii Carson in a few months. If not, the current ASU coach will be on the proverbial hot seat.

The thought of D’Antoni running his “eight seconds or less” system at the college level would excite just about any fan base should he decide to try coaching at the college level.

Could that happen in the near future? Never say never.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

D-League salaries, two-way contracts increase NBA Draft early entries

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Yesterday, I wrote a piece about how it’s dumb to criticize players for entering the NBA Draft without costing themselves their collegiate eligibility when the NCAA’s new NBA Draft rules are specifically designed for said players to be able to do that.

In that column, I mentioned that D-League salaries are on the rise and that the NBA’s new CBA instituted something called “two-way contracts,” and I wanted a chance to elaborate and clarify a couple of the points that I made.

Let’s start with the “two-way contracts,” which NBA teams each get two of. They are essentially a retainer that those teams can place on younger players they want to be the 16th and 17th men on their roster, holding their rights as they bounce between the D-League — where they will likely spend the majority of the year — and the NBA. The catch is that those players have to have less than three years service as a professional, and the point of it is to provide a financial incentive for younger players with the potential to reach the NBA to remain stateside while allowing those NBA teams to develop them.

That financial incentive is fairly large, as well: Two-way players will make between $250,000-$275,000.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that will pay players with less than three years of professional basketball experience a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

That’s not a bad starting salary.

The other point that I wanted to address is the rising D-League salaries which, technically, will not be rising. There are still going to be Tier A and Tier B players, who make $26,000 and $20,000 respectively. But the NBA has something called affiliate players, which each of the now-25 NBA teams with a D-League affiliate can pay up to $50,000 for training camp. NBA teams are allowed a maximum of four affiliate players, who will still make their $26,000 salary from their D-League team.

In other words, that’s 100 more jobs available in the United States where a professional basketball player can make $76,000, and that’s before you consider that the five NBA teams that do not yet have a D-League affiliate will still have to play players to get them into training camp.

That $76,000 is not a life-changing amount of money. Neither is the $250,000 that a two-way contract will pay. But it’s a pretty damn good paycheck to make for an entry-level job into the industry that you always dreamed of being in.

Athletes have an unbelievably small window where they can capitalize monetarily on their gifts.

If a 21-year old sophomore decides that he wants to continue to develop his game and chasing his NBA dream by making $76,000 as a D-League player, is that really all that crazy?

After all, 135 of the 450 players, or 30 percent of the roster spots, on NBA’s opening night were taken by guys that had spent time in the D-League.

There’s more than one way to make a dream come true.

A record $439 million was bet on basketball in March in Las Vegas

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The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.

According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.

And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.

It was profitable, too.

Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson, top three prospect in 2018, breaks defender’s ankles

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Zion Williamson, one of the most sought-after recruits in college basketball, had himself a highlight-worthy moment at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Dallas over the weekend, breaking a defender’s ankles before hitting a three.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.