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The Monday Awards

UK snubs UMass, potential draft crybabies, JHU lax

Posted: Tuesday May 29, 2007 9:40AM; Updated: Tuesday May 29, 2007 9:40AM
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By David Isaacs

Welcome to this week's delayed edition of the Monday Awards, where showing up fashionably late is way too early for Paris Hilton, and Ashley Judd is a bigger Indiana fan than Kentucky fan, for once.

The Alex Rodriguez Opt-Out Award

UMass students may be steaming that Kentucky opted out of its game against the Minutemen, but UK couldn't be happier about having an extra home game.
UMass students may be steaming that Kentucky opted out of its game against the Minutemen, but UK couldn't be happier about having an extra home game.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cold. That's the only way to describe Kentucky's decision to buy-out their game scheduled against UMass this November. After playing a Minutemen squad coached by Kentucky alumnus Travis Ford last December, Kentucky recently decided to cancel the tail end of the home-and-home, leaving UMass to reimburse all the tickets already purchased for November's game at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.

A Wildcats spokesman cited a desire to give new head coach Billy Gillispie one more home game as the reason for the buyout, which makes perfect sense. After all, the comfort of Lexington is twenty times more important than, say, the finances and possibility of profit involved. Even though Kentucky had to pay $50,000 to buy out the game, Rupp Arena seats 23,000, meaning that the buy-out cost could be made back a few times over. Now if Alex Rodriguez opts out of his monstrous contract at the end of the year in order to earn an even bigger paycheck, Yankee fans can blame this kind of move for setting a precedent.

Most Likely to Pull a Stevie Francis Award

In 1999, the Vancouver Grizzlies nabbed Steve Francis with the second overall pick, causing the 22-year-old to break down in tears. The former Terrapin would eventually force a trade, further hampering a franchise that had yet to win more than 19 games in a season during its four years of existence. Eli Manning would also do the same in 2005, forcing the San Diego Chargers to move him to New York. Seeing as how the trend has yet to die off, there's always a possibility of a player demanding a trade before even playing their first professional game. So going by DraftExpress' mock draft, here are some players who could potentially pull a Francis and demand a trade from the team drafting them.

Marcus Williams, SG, New York (No. 23 overall)

In a city that has grown plenty restless with their Knicks, a Marcus Williams selection might be a race to see whether it will be Williams himself or the team's fans who will convince Isiah Thomas to get the Arizona product out of town first. Knick fans will happily boo this selection if it comes, seeing as how the Wildcats' inconsistency could be plotted alongside Williams' fluctuating effort level over the past two years. If Marcus isn't sick of New York before opening day comes by, it'd be a surprise.

Petteri Koponen, PG, Phoenix (No. 29 overall)

Koponen leapt up the draft charts after a solid Nike Hoop Summit, but the Fin will be sorely disappointed if he comes over to America. His current team has such a great name that even a move to an NBA team would be a tremendous letdown for him. If you're the point guard and court general for the Honka Espoo Playboys and you help lead your team to win the 2006-7 Finnish League championship, then unless you're drafted by a team owned by Hugh Hefner, it's not worth crossing the Atlantic.

Mike Conley Jr., PG, Milwaukee (No. 6 overall)

Conley Jr. has been a teammate of Greg Oden since high school, and unless Oden goes to Portland and the Blazers trade up for the third pick, there's no way that these two will play with each other in their rookie seasons. With Mike Conley Sr. representing both Conley Jr. and Oden, you can bet he'll have the best interest of both his players in mind, which means an outside shot at forcing a trade for Conley Jr. to join Oden.

Team of the Week

Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays ended the Blue Devils' "Cinderella season" on Monday, shattering Duke's dreams of trying to win the school's first Lacrosse title. Never mind that the "Cinderella team" was actually ranked #1 as early as March, played in the National Championship game in 2005 (also against JHU), and had two of the nation's top players in Zack Greer and Matt Danowski this year.

Kevin Huntley scored the game-winning goal -- one of his three scores on the day -- for Johns Hopkins, after his team squandered a 10-4 halftime lead. Duke attackman Max Quinzani had a chance to tie the game up with just seconds left, but his shot missed wide, giving JHU their ninth Lacrosse championship. Greer and Danowski combined only three points in the final, well below their typical combined average of over 9 points per game.

Courtney Paris Player of the Week Award

Somdev Devvarman, Virginia. Georgia beat Virginia in the team tennis semifinals on the way to their undefeated season and National Championship, but Virginia was the only team in the entire tournament to score a point against Georgia. Give credit to Devvarman for it, as he beat top-ranked player John Isner 6-4, 6-4. Devvarman would take on Isner one more time, but this time it was in the Singles Championship. Devvarman beat Isner 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(2), which gave Virginia its first tennis National Championship ever.

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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