June 11, 2007

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Awards, where Billy Donovan is wondering whether he should go back to Florida or give Kentucky a call.

Sometimes switching schools is like partaking in multiple drinking games in one night -- it seems like a good idea at the time, but reality quickly hits. Dana Altman recently returned to Creighton one day after deciding Arkansas wasn't the job for him, and Gregg Marshall made a quick two-day turnaround to come back to Winthrop last year when he realized Charleston wasn't as good of a job as he had (he was introduced as Wichita State's new coach a few months ago when Mark Turgeon left for Texas A&M).

But now Billy Donovan, fresh off signing a $27.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic, might not even give himself a chance to compile a losing record in the NBA like his mentor Rick Pitino. Donovan has had second thoughts about taking the job and has expressed interest in returning to Gainesville. Location couldn't have been a reason that Donovan wanted to return to Florida, because Orlando is only a couple of hours from Gainesville. Maybe the idea of a 40-year coaching career of Bobby Knight proportions was important to Billy, or maybe it's just that he changed his mind after hearing a certain young man'sconvincing argument that college coaches tend to disappoint in the pros.

For the first time ever, the Major League Baseball Draft will be broadcast on TV. Coverage will begin Thursday at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN2 from Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, and the show will run for a whopping four hours. As with the NFL Draft, SIOC oddsmakers are back and ready to take a whole new line of bets.

90 to 1: Armando Benitez, on his team's off-day, sits in as a guest analyst. The Giants take Casey Weathers with the 12th overall pick, and Benitez tells Ravech, Phillips and Gammons how excited he is to have a guy much like him, and that he plans to teach Weathers how to play from the point of attack. Benitez ends up getting released by the Giants within the week.

80 to 1: St. Louis, fed up with none of their first-rounders making it to the big leagues since J.D. Drew in 1998, pick Brady Quinn with the 18th overall pick. Quinn would be the first Notre Dame quarterback to be nabbed in the MLB Draft since 2003, when the Reds blared the Notre Dame fight song over the conference call and picked Carlyle Holliday in the 44th round.

20 to 1: Mel Kiper Jr., without even an explanation, wanders onto the set and still appears visibly distraught from the Brady Quinn disaster. Upon revealing that the top three on his big board includes Joe Mauer, Mark Prior, and Mark Teixeira, he is escorted off-stage by Goofy.

2 to 1: Arizona picks a player who, in all likelihood, won't sign until the winter. The Diamondbacks picked Max Scherzer in '06, Justin Upton in '05, and Stephen Drew '04, and none of them played the year that they were drafted. In fact, Scherzer and Drew waited all the way to the signing deadline. So with the ninth overall pick, Arizona will select Matt Harvey, and refuse to negotiate with Harvey and agent Scott Boras until May 2008.

Over/under of 18: Number of first round picks -- after being selected -- that look quizzically at their parents and ask "Wait, this whole thing's on TV?"

Stanford. The curse of Tiger Woods is officially over. Last weekend, the men's golf team won their first team title since 1994, the year before Woods enrolled at Stanford as a freshman. The team shot an 11-under 1,109, and was the only squad to remain under par. The title was the 95th in school history, good for second all-time in NCAA history. UCLA holds the record with 100, as the Bruins reached the triple-digit mark by winning the women's water polo championship in May.

The 17 K's Club: David Price, Vanderbilt and Monica Abbott, Tennessee. If it's possible for the consensus best player in a draft to boost his stock higher, Price pretty much just did it. In Vandy's first postseason game, Price pitched nine innings, gave up only one run on five hits, and struck out 17 Austin Peay batters. Casey Weathers, a reliever that most expect to see picked in the late first or early second rounds, pitched two innings and struck out five to pick up the win in a 2-1 victory over the Governors.

While Abbott probably won't be selected by the Devil Rays with the first pick in Thursday's MLB draft, she had a better week on the mound than Price. Abbott threw a no-hitter in the opening game of the Women's College World Series and struck out 16 in a 2-0 win over Texas A&M, fanned 16 against Arizona in a 1-0 win, and struck out 17 in a 3-0 win over Northwestern to help her team advance to the Championship series.

Think a team or player is deserving of an award next week? Have a stat of the week? Disagree with the way things stack up? E-mail mondayawards@gmail.com

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