Bulls host holiday party for USO children

959749.png

Bulls host holiday party for USO children

The Bulls teamed up with the United Service Organization earlier today to throw a holiday party for 100 children, including 65 who either have a parent deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or who have lost a family member during his or her time in service.

It was a special afternoon at the Berto Center, as members of the Bulls and its organization came out to spend time with the children, decorating cookies, signing autographs, taking pictures and coloring.
Each child also received a gift, personally donated by point guard Nate Robinson.
"It's great to have the kids here. I've been making cookies, putting smiles on kids' faces. It's a great event for the kids. They deserve it," Robinson said. "When I was a kid I didn't have a lot of toys. For them to have something they can get their hands on to play all day and all night, I thought it was a big deal for them."
It was also a special opportunity for a few soldiers, as loved ones brought along smartphones and used Skype to speak with players such as Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng, and general manager Gar Forman.
Forward Valadimir Radmanovic took part in the festivities, and said he can relate to the children because when he was drafted in 2001, he came alone from Yugoslavia and left his family behind.
"Holidays are always a great part of the year and having kids and the families of the troops is a pleasure," he said, "because my family wasn't with me, so I know what it means for them and what it means for me."
Kirk Hinrich, who injured his left elbow in Saturday night's 93-85 win over the Knicks, was also moved to see children who will be spending the holiday season without a loved one.
"It's real special to see all these kids. You think about a family member not being around for the holiday. The service they're doing hits home. Seeing these kids, you really think about how hard that would be," he said. "We let them know that we're here and we appreciate the sacrifice that they're making as well."

Larkin senior Christian Negron out for season with torn ACL

christian-negron-larkin.jpg

Larkin senior Christian Negron out for season with torn ACL

Larkin forward Christian Negron, a major contender for the All-Area team this season, will miss his senior season with a torn ACL.

The bouncy 6-foot-6 forward has been a major force in the area since his varsity debut as a freshman for the Royals as he averaged 16.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, 3 assists and 2.2 steals per game last season.

Negron is coming off of a strong summer in which he played with the Puerto Rican national team during the U18 FIBA Americas. Leading in the team in scoring and rebounding, Negron averaged 13.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game including 23 points and 13 rebounds against the gold-medal winning United States.

While Negron's local high school career is likely over, he had a great three seasons at Larkin and he still has a bright basketball future if he is able to recover. Considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Negron recently cut his list to five schools as he is looking at Bradley, DePaul, Loyola, Oregon State and UAB.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura declines to discuss future amid speculation about return

White Sox manager Robin Ventura declines to discuss future amid speculation about return

The uncertainty surrounding Robin Ventura’s future will drag on a little longer.

The White Sox manager — who doesn’t yet have a contract offer for 2017, according to a baseball source — said Wednesday afternoon that he intends to wait until the current season is complete to discuss what’s next.

Ventura’s fifth season at the helm concludes on Sunday and according to USA Today report, the door has potentially been opened for a sixth. But Ventura didn’t broach the topic during Wednesday’s pregame media session and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn wasn’t available for comment. Hahn has previously said he’d wait for the season to end to talk and is expected to address the media on Monday, according to team officials.

“I appreciate all the concern,” Ventura said. “But like I’ve said all year long, I’m waiting until the end of the year. Rick and I always have discussions, but I’m waiting until the end of the year. 

“I’m not going to get into it. But I’ve always felt, especially this year, that I’m going to wait until the end of the year. 

“That’s just the way I like to do it.”

The White Sox are headed for their fourth straight sub-.500 record under Ventura unless they win their final five games. The club has only posted a winning record in Ventura’s first season (2012) and they’re 373-432 overall during his tenure.

The USA Today report suggested the decision on whether or not Ventura would return in 2017 is up to him. Ventura said he likes his job and also is aggravated by it. He’s disappointed with the team’s failures in 2016 after a 23-10 start and wouldn’t discuss whether or not he was interested in managing were the team to go into rebuild mode. Ventura also said he’s more focused on the club’s day-to-day operations.

“I enjoy the job,” Ventura said. “Right now we’re dealing with rain and trying to figure out how we’re going to do this. I’m figuring out how to get to the end of the year right now. That’s the biggest concern, and making sure everybody finishes it on the way that they should professionally.”

Outfielder Adam Eaton supported Ventura and said his even-keel management style is effective. Eaton said he’d welcome Ventura back. But Eaton also knows the decision isn’t his to make.

“I’ve always enjoyed Robin,” Eaton said. “I’ve always backed Robin. I think he’s a tremendous manager, people person, communicator. So for me I’ve enjoyed my time with him. I’d welcome him back. I’d love to have him back, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the higher-ups again.”

Ventura’s one concern is that the issue distracts from his players’ preparation over the final five games. Given everything else that has occurred this season, from the Adam LaRoche saga in spring training to Chris Sale’s suspension in July, Ventura wants to avoid adding another distraction. It’s one of the main reasons he has pushed off talking about his future.

“It was quite a ride,” Ventura said. “It really was. You just deal with it when it happens. Like I said, every team has its challenge and this one is no different. We had some unique ones, I would say this year. You handle it, you handle it inside the clubhouse and that’s my job.”