What do you give a guy who has everything (in this case, a World Series title, two playoff MVPs and a beautiful wife)? Try three years and $20.5 million. The extension meant a mega raise for the Phillies ace—he made $500,000 last year—and the team, which avoided arbitration, was fine with the rising price of Cole. Assistant G.M. Scott Proefrock: "[The deal] worked well for both sides."
Michigan State Hoops
An emphatic denial of upset-minded Illinois (goosed by guard Kalin Lucas, right, State closed with a 12--3 run) kept the No. 7 Spartans in the right rut: 11 straight wins and 28 in a row at home through Sunday. And the women's team had run off three straight W's, including one against Michigan, to become Big Ten contenders too.
This guy gets big love in Utah, and not only because of the Jazz's recent winning spurt (five of seven at week's end). The straight-talking, 66-year-old Sloan has been Utah's coach for 21 years—and counting. He just got a contract extension through 2009--10.
The bad boy is back. After a 23-game warmup with AHL Worcester (SI, Dec. 22), the 43-year-old NHL superpest was called up by San Jose. Not a bad place to be (page 44).
That first-half Eagles defensive letdown was a team effort—but the rookie safety certainly did his part. He was the one burned by Arizona's 62-yard flea-flicker touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald, and his penalty for cheap-shotting Kurt Warner contributed to a second-quarter Arizona drive that ended with a field goal, and left the Eagles down in the Demps.
Squandering a late lead to—and this hurts—Ohio State last Saturday, dropped the Wolverines (and slumping forward DeShawn Sims) out of the Top 25 and wrecked a celebration of the 1989 national championship team. The Michigan women can empathize; after blowing a 12-point lead to Minnesota, they'd lost three straight.
Not only did the revered USC coach learn he'd be losing quarterback Mark Sanchez to the NFL draft a year early, but he also lost some respect after his dissing of Sanchez's decision. Carroll may be right that the QB will have a tough time in the pros—but did he have to zing him in front of reporters?
The steady guard is out. A broken wrist could shelve the Cleveland starter for six weeks. West, bummed at leaving the rolling Cavs, found solace: "I can still wear my pinky ring."
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Who is the best pure shooter you've ever seen?
Ray Allen, Celtics G 26%
Reggie Miller, retired Pacers G-F 15%
Larry Bird, retired Celtics F 10%
Jason Kapono, Raptors G-F 10%
Peja Stojakovic, Hornets F 8%
Allen's 269 three-pointers in '05--06 is an NBA season record.... Miller, who retired in '05, set the career mark for most three-pointers attempted (6,486) and made (2,560).... In the late 1980s Bird won the three-point shootout at All-Star Weekend three times.... Retired guard Steve Kerr, whose .454 career three-point percentage is second only to Kapono's .464, got 3% of the vote.
[Based on a survey of 190 NBA players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (HAMELS)
DAVID BERGMAN (DEMPS)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (LUCAS)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (ALLEN)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (LEMIEUX)
MANNY MILLAN (MILLER)