-- Finally the news basketball fans were chomping at the bit for: Tony Bennett's contract extension. It's not a huge raise - Tony is still something like the 5th- or 6th-highest paid coach in the league, and it's less than VT is paying Buzz Williams - but it's loaded with bonuses and incentives. And it's a seven-year deal, which means about four or so years before this issue comes up again.
Some may fret because the money isn't that much more and it could be seen as leaving him vulnerable to poachers. I say, the whole idea of "locking him up" is a fallacy to begin with (when coaches want to leave, they leave) and if a whole pile of money was what motivated Tony Bennett, he'd have gotten more right now.
-- Jeff White had a fun article about Tony's Kiwi import, Jack Salt. My favorite line: "'It was definitely a big positive coming here, knowing that they're two hours away, and I'm welcome to stay with them,' Salt said. 'And also my dad's in England, and that's an eight-hour flight. So there are a lot of positives.'"
Anybody who thinks an eight-hour flight is nice and close is probably not getting homesick anytime soon.
-- A bevy of UVA baseball articles to be read following last night's big win, starting with Aaron Fitt at BA. This one gives me the opportunity to correct an oversight last night when I failed to say anything along the lines of "holy hell what a nice-ass pitching job by Sborz." Waddell and Mayberry also pitched brilliantly but Sborz is the guy who's had the toughest road this year; Fitt makes the point that this performance comes after giving way in the rotation to Artie Lewicki, and I in turn make the point that that's the kind of mental toughness that gives our coaches goosebumps.
Jerry Ratcliffe writes that Maryland woke the dragon and inserts a little fan-pleasing editorial as well: "At exactly 10:16 p.m., to the chants of “UVa,” and “ACC,” those cash-grabbing, ugly-flag-wearing, reptile-worshiping Marylanders took off toward the border, across the Potomac forever more." Nice. Jeff White collected quotes from some of the Terps themselves about Sborz's dominance, while Eric Vander Voort at NCAA.com went into some detail on Sborz's well-deserved curtain call. Every article you could ask for included Maryland's coach John Szefc** and his "absolute college baseball monster" quote.
**(I'm truly disappointed we won't get the chance to revisit that name every season, but Szefc seems like he could move on to bigger things eventually and could easily end up back in the ACC somewhere, as long as he gets a better grasp on when to pull a pitcher. Maryland would've benefitted from a quicker trigger finger.)
-- The MLB draft actually went pretty well from a UVA perspective. UVA had four of its commitments drafted, as below:
* C Devon Fisher, 20th round (Red Sox)
* RHP Derek Casey, 22nd round (Cardinals)
* 1B/LHP Pavin Smith, 32nd round (Rockies)
* RHP Tommy Doyle, 35th round (Nationals)
It's reasonable to bet that none will sign, although Fisher and Casey bear watching. As for the eligible roster players, a whopping six (Howard, Fisher, Papi, Downes, Cogswell, and Lewicki) went in the top ten rounds; Mayberry went in round 21 and Irving in round 34.
Safe money says those top six will all be gone next year; Downes may have a case for coming back as he's been dealing with a nagging wrist injury, and a healthy and productive senior season could boost him a few rounds. That said, I think he went early enough that it wouldn't matter, and I'm not counting on his return. Mayberry of course is a senior. Nate Irving, who dropped a long way, is the one most worth watching. He has a real decision to make.
From a roster standpoint, Kenny Towns not being drafted is a pleasant surprise - it's got to be a disappointing kick in the teeth for him, of course. I would never have guessed they'd go 40 rounds and never pick him up. You wonder if his stellar hitting performance this weekend had anything to do with that. If he spends all of next year pissed off, we could be in for a treat.
Of course, you know I'm loving every minute of the fact that Lewicki and Mayberry were drafted by the Olde English D. The last time the Tigers picked a UVA ballplayer in the draft, I believe it was Seth Greisinger. So, quite a while ago. I was really hoping they'd get Howard, actually - that would've been an ideal fit. Howard went a few picks before the Tigers had their shot, though.