July 02, 2007

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Awards, where ESPN has packed Dick Vitale back up in a box until late October and it's unclear why Knick fans are excited about Zach "I won't get into any trouble in NYC" Randolph.

She might be 17, but hey, Michelle Wie is going to Stanford in the fall and that's enough for SIOC to discuss the one-time prodigy. At 15, Wie had a tremendous finish at the LPGA championship to finish second behind Annika Sorenstam and soon became one of the most recognizable names in women's golf. Her career arc has slowly flattened out, however, as 2007 has produced more missed cuts and she has had injuries to her wrists that have flared up during +10 rounds.

Similarly, Anna Kournikova burst onto the stage when she had a fourth round finish at the U.S. Open at the age of 15 -- which helped her become the face of tennis -- but she never actually managed to win a tournament or make the championship game of a Grand Slam event. Back injuries eventually forced Kournikova to retire, ending her sports career at 22.

This award would be named the Paris Hilton Award if Wie had no talent whatsoever, but Kournikova is a more appropriate career model, because of the attention Wie has received despite having zero first places finishes. It became evident that Kournikova was earning far more attention than someone like Martina Hingis, who deserved some more press for winning three straight Australian Opens. Along the same lines, while Annika Sorenstam's incredible run of 6 LPGA major wins in 14 tournaments from 2003-2006 was barely noticed, Wie's streak of missing PGA Tour cuts was the hotter story. Maybe it's time that Wie lets her wrist heal, because her reputation is taking a hit, and women's golf deserves better.

Alabama baseball coach Jim Wells hung up his spikes on June 21st, following 13 seasons at the helm of the Crimson Tide squad and a 553-272 (.670%) record. Then, after just six days of retirement, Wells made his way back to AD Mal Moore's office and asked to be rehired as coach. Billy Donovan would be proud of Wells' decision to pull a complete 180 on the initial choice to leave, but the good news for Wells is that YouTube sports correspondent Kige Ramsey doesn't have anything to say about this. Everyone knows that if Kige makes a video about you in a Wal-Mart, you have to immediately turn your cell phone off and ignore the doorbell, because you know that you're going to have a long day.

When Greg Oden arrived in Portland on Friday for a rally, there was everything short of a big, inflatable Oden balloon flying downtown. The former Ohio State center was presented to the city on a big stage and he wore a black T-shirt that had the Trail Blazers logo, followed by his last name spelled out in big white letters just under it. As many as 6,000 fans attended the celebration, and in case that wasn't enough to prove that the city has already fallen in love with the 19-year-old, during a draft party held at the Rose Garden, fans rushed the court upon David Stern calling out the Blazers' selection of Oden.

You can't blame Portland for getting a little excited, but this is getting out of hand. Oden is an extremely humble and down to earth guy, but if you let him get too big of an ego, he might turn into the nextCarlos Liston.

Like a Roger Clemens split-fingered fastball that breaks too early and hits the dirt in front of home plate, Georgia Gwinnett College fell just a little too short. Of the 3000 students that Gwinnett expected to enroll next year, only 435 (14.5%) have actually committed to be part of the Class of '11. The school has no problem with faculty (81) or public funding, but luring students has been difficult because the college isn't fully accredited yet. The low percentage of actual students to expected students may actually seem low, but it's about right a certain UCLA big man. After all, Lorenzo Mata shot about 15% from the free throw line last year, so he might actually find this to be the norm.

Cheyney Univerisity was recently put on three years probation for several rules broken during former head coach Lee Brown's tenure as head coach and some of the violations were a little out there. For starters, Brown forced several players to attend and play in several away games even though they weren't eligible. One of the players actually called Brown on it, and Brown told him to "shut up," get on the bus, and get ready to play. Worst of all, Brown had an ineligible player switch jerseys with an eligible player, allowing the ineligible player to get in the game. Not surprisingly, upon finding out the details of the violations, Alabama State -- where he was an assistant -- released Brown a day later.

The idea to switch identities must have come from the time former Mets coach Bobby Valentine once returned to the dugout sporting a mustache and a change of clothes after being ejected by an umpire, but Brown has now passed it on to another team. A week ago, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher donned teammate Lance Briggs' jersey. Now if we see A-Rod and Derek Jeter switch it up at the All-Star game in a couple of weeks, the CDC might officially call this an epidemic and try to get it under control.

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