5 Questions with...WGCI's Tony Sculfield

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5 Questions with...WGCI's Tony Sculfield

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

October 28, 2009

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with a new weekly feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weekone of the funniest men, not only on Chicago radio, but in Chicago periodhis comedic stylings can be heard Monday-Friday from 5:00-9:00 AM on WGCI 107.5 FM as he hosts the incredibly popular morning show, The Morning Riot, with Nina Chantele & Leon Rogershere are 5 Questions withTONY SCULFIELD!

BIO: Tony Sculfield is an explosive comedic performer unlike any other, whose ability to engage an audience is nationally known. His stand-up comedy performances are heralded by critics and his peers consider him one of the most talented comedians in the country. Tony has toured and performed with numerous comedians in the entertainment industry over the years, including MoNique, Mike Epps, Jamie Foxx, D.L. Hughley, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer to name a few. He has also appeared on HBOs Def Comedy Jam, BETs Comic View, Comedy Central and Showtime.

Known as the One Man Riot, Tony is the centerpiece of WGCI 107.5 FMs wildly-popular morning show, The Morning Riot, (weekdays, 5:00-9:00 AM), featuring co-hosts Nina Chantele and Leon Rogers, heard by an average of over 900,000 Chicago listeners each day.

A Chicago native, Tony has mastered the art of being able to find humor in anything from Jay-Z to Jay Walking. Regardless of the event, Tony's comedic style makes light of some of life most hilarious moments. Tony's saying is "If you can laugh at it, you can live through it.

1) CSNChicago.com: Tony, we all listen to you on WGCIs The Morning Riot, not to mention watching your hilarious stand-up appearances over the years on TV. What is more enjoyable for you personally, entertaining your audience on the radio or on the stage?

Sculfield: A few years ago I might have said I enjoyed standup more, but in the last couple of years, I've come to realize the power of doing a radio show in the 3rd largest radio market in the country. I have a voice in the community that the people appreciate, but I still try to use humor to get my messages across.

2) CSNChicago.com: What comedians inspired you over the years as you developed your stand up act and, a quick follow-up question, name some up-and-coming young comedians out there should people start paying attention to?

Sculfield: My favorite comic of all time is George Carlin, but as I came up doing comedy, guys like Michael Colyar, Cedric the Entertainer, Deon Cole and Kenny Howell, who were my peers in the game, inspired me more than the greats because we were in the trenches together starting up. Up-and-comers like Hannibal Buress, Marlon Mitchell and Muhammad are definitely some of my faves.

3) CSNChicago.com: With the NBA season beginning this week, what are your predictions on what teams around the league will be contenders come playoff time and, from a local standpoint, what are your thoughts on this years Chicago Bulls team, especially the way the team finished last season in that epic seven-game playoff series against the Celtics?

Sculfield: I think the Lakers are no doubt the team to beat out west. In the east, you've got to say Boston with K.G. coming back. Also, I do like Denver, San Antonio and Cleveland of course with Big Shaq. As for the Bulls, they are a great young team. I was at the home playoff games last year. Just incredible!! Playoffs again for sure.

4) CSNChicago.com: WGCI has been on the cutting edge of hip-hop and R&B music for years now and many of those hits are heard on your morning show every day. Name some artistssongs on your iPod that your listeners would be shocked to know about and would make them say Tony listens to THAT?! CSNChicago.com readers want to know, please tell us!

Sculfield: Well, people might trip on the fact that I love rock! I basically listen to all types of music. You'll find some Blind Melon, some Nirvana, and some Smashing Pumpkins. I've even got Julia Fordham in the iPod.

5) CSNChicago.com: The Morning Riot with Nina and Leon is no doubt a huge success with radio audiences throughout the city, not to mention the millions of listeners who tune into the show on WGCI.com. Explain the chemistry with the three of you on why your show has become such a big hit with listeners?

Sculfield: Well, the chemistry is this. I'm the Anchor, Nina's the Informative one, and Leon is the Loose Cannon. It all works because we all get a chance to shine. We have a ball in the studio, and laugh like fools for four hours every morning. The listeners know we try to give them what they need, from the listening ear to that outrageous material!

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you want to plug that you can share with us Tony? We want to hear about it

Sculfield: Starting up again on January 28, 2010 (along with the fourth Thursday of every month going forward), please make sure to check out Tony Sculfields Variety Show, featuring the very best acts in Chicago. The action takes place at the Jokes and Notes Comedy Club, located at 4641 S. King Drive in Chicago. Showtime is at 8:30 PMbe there!!

Sculfield LINKS:

WGCI 107.5 FMThe Morning Riot

Tony Sculfield on Facebook

Tony Sculfield on Twitter

Blackhawks updates: Why Joel Quenneville is starting Corey Crawford vs. Canucks

Blackhawks updates: Why Joel Quenneville is starting Corey Crawford vs. Canucks

Corey Crawford will start but Marcus Kruger won't play yet when the Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

Scott Darling is coming off a 30-stop shutout in the Blackhawks' 1-0 victory over Boston on Friday night. Coach Joel Quenneville said there was some consideration given to start Darling in this one, too, but, "at the same time we want Crow playing as much as he can to get back to the great pace he had prior to being away."

"He hasn't been bad. But certainly that's what we're looking for him to get back to," Quenneville said on Crawford. "I like giving Darls some consideration. We'll see but [Darling] certainly enhanced his positioning."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Meanwhile, Marcus Kruger skated with the Blackhawks for the first time since hurting his hand against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 30. He took faceoffs on his own at the end of practice but was not among the line rushes. Quenneville said the Blackhawks will see how Kruger is for either Tuesday or Thursday but, "knowing we have that [All-Star] break, we'll see how he feels and what our options are."

Kruger said he felt, "pretty close."

"I tried to take it day by day and prepare to play," Kruger said. "Obviously not tonight, but the next game we will see." 

BLACKHAWKS VS. VANCOUVER CANUCKS
6:30 p.m.
TV: WGN
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks
Forward lines

Ryan Hartman-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza-Tanner Kero-Marian Hossa
Andrew Desjardins-Dennis Rasmussen-Nick Schmaltz

Defensive pairs
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender
Corey Crawford

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Marcus Kruger (right arm).

Vancouver Canucks (via Canucks)
Forward lines

Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Loui Eriksson
Sven Baertschi-Bo Horvat-Alex Burrows
Markus Granlund-Brandon Sutter-Jayson Megna
Brendan Gaunce-Michael Chaput-Jack Skille

Defensive Pairs
Alex Edler-Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa-Chris Tanev
Alex Biega-Nikita Tryamkin

Goaltender
Ryan Miller

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Anton Rodin (knee), Ben Hutton (hand), Jannik Hansen (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Philip Larsen (upper body), Derek Dorsett (back).

With losses piling up, things starting to get predictable for Illini — and not in a good way

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USA TODAY

With losses piling up, things starting to get predictable for Illini — and not in a good way

Remember when the season began and we were talking about the likelihood of Illinois ending a three-year NCAA tournament drought?

Yeah, about that.

The Fighting Illini were again walloped on the road Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, their fourth road defeat in as many games during conference play. Against Michigan, Purdue, Indiana and Maryland, the losses have come in extreme fashion, by a combined total of 73 points, an average of 18.3 points.

And those numbers would be much bigger if not for a garbage-time 18-6 run to close out Saturday's 66-57 loss to the Wolverines. The game saw Michigan's lead grow as big as 21 with fewer than six minutes to play. It was another blowout, even if the final margin of defeat was in single digits.

How this continues to happen is frankly somewhat mind boggling. Illinois entered the season with experience, health and depth and have kept all of those traits throughout the campaign. But the experienced players who were believed to lead the Illini to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013, Groce's first season, simply haven't shown up.

Malcolm Hill has, and he deserves a pass in this critique. Hill, the only Illinois player who scored in double figures Saturday, ranks fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 17.8 points a game. He also ranks in the top 20 in rebounding (5.9 rebounds a game), free-throw percentage (79.4 percent) and minutes played (32.4 minutes a game).

Maverick Morgan, too, has been a bright spot. He's shooting 60 percent from the floor, good for fourth in the Big Ten, and is averaging 13 points a game over the last 10 games.

But where has everyone else gone? After a stellar non-conference season, Tracy Abrams' production has fallen off a cliff, and he's just 1-for-21 from 3-point range against Big Ten competition. Jalen Coleman-Lands hasn't been very reliable, averaging almost two points fewer per game and shooting almost five percent lower from 3-point range than he did during his freshman season a year ago. Mike Thorne Jr. was supposed to be the team's starting center, but he's not even averaging 15 minutes a game. Second-year guys like D.J. Williams and Aaron Jordan have barely seen the floor. Michael Finke has had good games and quiet games. This veteran team is more and more reliant on freshmen Te'Jon Lucas and Kipper Nichols for sparks that only rarely come.

The biggest issue has been the defense, with the team allowing opponents to shoot 44.5 percent from the field. That number has been significantly worse in conference play, up to 50.8 percent. Saturday was better, Michigan shooting only 45.1 percent and only 40 percent in the second half, when its lead grew largest. But the Wolverines, also a poor defensive team, clamped down on the Illini, who only shot 45.8 percent and more importantly turned the ball over a whopping 17 times, leading to 22 points for the home team.

With consistently subpar defense and inconsistent offense — a win over the same Michigan team just 10 days earlier saw Illinois drop 85 points on red-hot 64.2-percent shooting; where was that Saturday? — has been a recipe for disaster.

Coming into the conference season, it seemed Illinois was a prime contender for a spot in the Big Dance's field of 68. After all, only one disastrous week prevented the non-conference season from being a success. The Illini scored wins over name-brand opponents North Carolina State, VCU, BYU and Missouri, with that nightmarish week featuring losses to West Virginia and Florida State, the current Nos. 7 and 10 teams in the country.

But despite the high rankings of the Mountaineers and Seminoles, that resume has weakened. North Carolina State is just 2-5 in ACC play, and Missouri has just five wins this season, a nasty record that includes 10 straight losses. BYU and VCU aren't at the top of their respective mid-major conference standings.

That has made Illinois' conference showing all the worse as the tournament hopes flicker. The two wins have come at home against Ohio State and Michigan teams that stumbled out of the gates themselves. The losses, as chronicled above, have been convincing to say the least, and the one that came at the State Farm Center, against Maryland, featured an ugly second-half collapse after Illinois went to the locker room with a lead.

With typical bottom-feeders like Penn State and Nebraska improving their play this season, there aren't many noticeably winnable games remaining on Illinois' schedule, with just the season-finale at Rutgers looking like a surefire win, though the Scarlet Knights are no longer winless in Big Ten play after beating the Huskers on Saturday. What it means is a gauntlet the rest of the way for the Illini. There are plenty of home games, but does the venue matter when the Illini are playing like this and their opponents are of a significantly higher caliber?

Groce's seat is undeniably warm, and the heat could crank up if the campaign progresses as it has played out to this point. Would a fourth straight season without an NCAA tournament invite mean Groce's tenure would be over in Champaign? That's difficult to say, as Groce has secured one of the best recruiting classes in the country for next season. Illinois' best recruiting work in years would be in real danger if he's axed before his Class of 2017 arrives on campus.

But the on-court results are starting to get predictable, and not in the way games were predictable back during Illinois' glory days a decade ago. 

How about this: Last week's 23-point shellacking at Purdue was the 12th loss by 20 or more points of the Groce Era, which is in its fifth season. Bruce Weber, who coached the Illini for nine seasons, had three such losses during the course of his entire tenure. Prior to Weber, it was Bill Self, who had one such loss in his three seasons. Prior to Self, it was Lon Kruger, who had four such losses in his four seasons.

You have to go all the way back to 1980 to find the last time Illinois missed the NCAA tournament in four straight years.

Right now, the future is a mystery. What we do know is that the present is not going well.