Thursday, March 3, 2011

Evans, Rodgers Comeback Award finalists

We've got two big reasons to care about the 11th annual V Foundation Comeback Award, one big problem and one potential solution.

The two reasons are JMU's Dawn Evans and Maryland's Kim Rodgers, both of whom are up for this year's honors. Evans has led the Dukes to two CAA titles (one regular-season, one tournament) while publicly staring down a serious kidney disease. Rodgers, a former star at Princess Anne High in Virginia Beach, has overcome two years worth of debilitating injuries to become a key cog for the nationally ranked Terrapins.

Evans and Rodgers are two of 11 finalists. The others are North Carolina's Jessica Breland, USC's Jackie Gemelos, Angel Goodrich and Thomas Robinson of Kansas, Colorado's Levi Knutson, Purdue's Drey Mingo, Rice's Cory Pflieger, Duke's Krystal Thomas and Oklahoma's Whitney Hand. The winner will be announced during ESPN's tournament coverage in April.

Which brings us to the big problem - how do you choose between these folks? And not just Evans and Rodgers. Breland beat Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Gemelos survived six knee surgeries. Mingo starred at the beginning and end of the season for the Boilermakers - the middle was interrupted by bacterial meningitis. And so on and so on and so on....

So here's our solution - make up 11 Comeback Awards and present one to each finalist. Because in a competition like this, who cares who's No. 1? When it comes to overcoming adversity, the more champions, the better.

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