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VIDEO: Izzo says Dakich “embarrassed himself” with tweets about Michigan State

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Michigan State’s famed student section, the Izzone, had words for ESPN commentator Dan Dakich all throughout the Spartans’ 74-66 win Tuesday over Ohio State, frequently chanting “We hate Dakich.”

Tom Izzo had words for Dakich after the game.

“I’ve got to be honest with you,” Izzo said. “I was kind of getting upset with the chants of Dakich until  I got in the locker room, and I asked what was that all about? Somebody read me his tweets. Social media. And if I would have known that before the game, I would have embarrassed myself almost as much as he embarrassed himself and I would have led the chants because calling us whiners and all that is kind of unprofessional.”

The issue stems from a number of tweets Dakich sent accusing Spartan fans of “whining,” but what really appeared to bother Izzo was a tweet Dakich sent that directed at a Michigan State fan that said, “Sparty not only whines but now just dumb!! Couldn’t get into UM (Michigan)??”

Of course, Dakich’s son, Andrew, is currently on the Wolverines’ roster, which only complicates matters when it comes to any perceived slights for Michigan State fans.

“Saying our students couldn’t get in there (Michigan),” Izzo said, “and he’s doing games for Michigan when his son is there. That is a disappointment and that is ridiculous and I think it’s funny because I’ve got no respect for him for that.

“You can read it, you can tweet it, you can do whatever you want with it. But Twitter got him in trouble, and I’m surprised ESPN would let somebody say something like that that works for them.

“But Danny owes our fans and our students an apology. And I probably won’t get it. I’ve always gotten along with Dan, but as you know, it seems like this year a lot of people have been mad at me, but I would have loved to get in that Izzone and joined those chants if I was on Twitter. Thank God, I’m not. Thank God some of my friends are.”

Dakich, a former Hoosiers player, coached at Indiana and Bowling Green and now is the host of a radio show in Indianapolis in addition to calling games on television broadcasts for ESPN.

Izzo is not the first Big Ten coach from whom Dakich has drawn rebuke from. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery went after Dakich after the broadcaster criticized Hawkeye Adam Woodbury, who had poked multiple opponents in the eye during the 2014-15 season.

“Dan Dakich is so far out of line,” McCaffery said in Feb. 2015. “He’s just lost it on this one. He doesn’t know Adam Woodbury. For him to say the reprehensible things he said about an amateur athlete, it’s inexcusable. Absolutely inexcusable that his network would allow him to say those kinds of things about a guy he doesn’t know.”

The dustup actually had Iowa provide Dakich with extra security at a game he called in Iowa City later that season.

Nevada gets transfer commitment from Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman

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Nevada continues to build its roster through transfers as the Wolf Pack added Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman on Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Thurman will have to sit out one season before playing his senior season but he is coming off of a very good campaign for the Mavericks. The versatile forward put up 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.

One of the Summit League’s better players the last two seasons, Thurman should be a solid rotation forward for Nevada as he has a chance to be a breakout player with one more year of development. If Thurman can improve his 25 percent three-point shooting then he could be a major factor for Nevada.

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 $75,000 guaranteed and will be able to make up to $275,000, depending on the amount of time they spend with the NBA team.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that can end up paying players with less than three years of professional basketball experience upwards of 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 $275,000 that a two-way contract can 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 chase 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.