Wondering how our former UConn athletes have fared in the professional leagues over the past week? Welcome back to UConn in the Pros, let’s dive in.
Swin Cash, Basketball Hall of Famer
While she hasn’t played professionally since 2016, it was announced this past week that UConn legend Swin Cash would be gracing the halls of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year. This honor is for her achievements at both the collegiate and professional levels.
At UConn, Cash was a two-time national champion, earning rings in 2000 and 2002 with the Huskies. She was an AP All-American and the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in 2002.
In the WNBA, Cash made her mark as well, as the No. 2 pick in 2002 earned three rings in the pros: two with the Detroit Shock and one with the Seattle Storm. She also spent time with the Chicago Sky, Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty in her storied career. Cash racked up four All-Star appearances, two All-Star MVP trophies and was named to the WNBA 20th and 25th anniversary teams.
Seeing as she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020, the induction ceremony will be nothing new to Cash. She just needs to find time in her busy schedule, as she is the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the New Orleans Pelicans.
RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin, recently professional
After announcing their departures from the men’s basketball team last month, the duo of Cole and Martin teamed up once again in the Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship this weekend in New Orleans. In a field of 16 teams of four players each playing three-on-three basketball, Cole and Martin’s squad, the Beast Coast Ballers, placed first.
After all was said and done, each player netted a little over $17,000. More importantly, they earned some valuable professional exposure, as this weekend’s victory was part of a FIBA event composed of many former college athletes looking to play professionally. In the first three years of the tournament, over 200 players signed professional contracts with the NBA, G-League or overseas.
The team, which was made up of Big East and Atlantic 10 members, had Cole and Martin teaming up with former Creighton rival Ryan Hawkins and D’Shawn Schwartz of George Mason. Hawkins may have won tournament MVP and Schwartz may have hit the game-winning shot, but each Husky certainly made an impact in the tournament, helping the team to a 8-2 overall record and the trophy.
Cole finished second on the team in scoring with 62 points, just two behind Hawkins. He also ended the weekend with a tournament-high eight steals. Martin was fourth overall in terms of total rebounds.
This victory was the second of the weekend, as both guards teamed up in the NABC-Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game on Friday, also in New Orleans. The duo and the rest of the East team won 115-103 as part of the Final Four festivities. Martin led all scorers with 22 points, while Cole earned 13 points alongside four assists. Overall, it was a very successful weekend for two guys who are hoping to keep their NBA dreams alive. Wherever they end up, it’s clear that there is a home for them at the professional level.
Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, NBA
While UConn alum Rudy Gay sat out this past week of NBA action, former Huskies Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb were at work, trying to earn playoff spots for their respective teams.
Drummond, who’s been the Brooklyn Nets’ starting center since he was traded from Philadelphia back in February, has been an absolute force on the glass as always. In his last three games, he’s put up an average of 12 rebounds per game, and he has reached double-digit boards in his last five contests. Over the past three matchups, he’s shot a solid 11-for-22, good for 50%. The Nets, despite a 40-38 record, are 10th in the East, clinging onto the last play-in spot. While they are 5.5 games ahead of the 11th place Knicks, they are 2.5 games back of seventh place. Look for Drummond and the Nets to make a late push to avoid a play-in.
Lamb has found himself a nice role position on this rebuilding Sacramento Kings team that is 12th in the West. Over his last three contests, the veteran guard is averaging around 16.5 minutes per game, seven points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game. While he’s not the future in Sacramento, he’s able to make an impact for the team on a nightly basis. The Kings are a long-shot to make the playoffs, but look for Lamb to personally end the year on a strong note.