WNBA star Swin Cash says Brittney Griner should not have to ‘prove herself’ in NBA

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Mark Cuban said on Wednesday that he would consider using a second round pick on Baylor center Brittney Griner. The 6-foot-8 All-American responded on Twitter with, “I could hold my own! Let’s do it.”

But now some of women’s basketball most respected are speaking out against this publicity stunt. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma shot back calling the idea to draft her a “sham” and said it was “ludicrous” to think she’d be successful in the NBA.

Swin Cash, a forward for the Chicago Sky of the WNBA, wrote an opinion piece for theGrio.com acknowledging that the NBA would offer Griner exposure and marketing opportunities, but went on to say that her achievements on the floor should be celebrated and that Griner shouldn’t have to prove anything after one of the more remarkable college careers. Here is an excerpt:

It seems that only in basketball, people feel women need to validate themselves by playing against the guys. No one is screaming for ladies to join the men in track, soccer or tennis to prove they are worthy. So why basketball? I think it’s unfortunate that so many people are focusing now on what Brittney can’t do rather than celebrating what she has accomplished and could potentially go on to do. She shouldn’t have to beat out other NBA players to be seen for what she is – an amazing athlete.

In the video above Dan Patrick questions whether Griner has anything to prove in a segment for the Dan Patrick Show.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.