Davis, Leonard, Miller homegrown talent hoping for the NBA call

802432.png

Davis, Leonard, Miller homegrown talent hoping for the NBA call

Illinois' annualhotbed of basketball talent is no exception this year, as at least threeplayers from the the state are expected to be drafted in the first round ofThursday's NBA Draft. Here's background on the high school days in Chicago ofsome of the nation's best NBA prospects.

AnthonyDavis, Kentucky: (ProspectivesCharter H.S.; Chicago)

It's rare that aconsensus No. 1 overall pick comes out of nowhere, but three years ago hardlyanyone knew who Anthony Davis was. As a wiry, 6-foot-4 guard who played for anaverage team, Prospectives Charter H.S., in Chicago, Davis did nothave any high major offers from Division I colleges.

But a four-inch growthspurt between his sophomore and junior year got the attention of many, as thenow 6-foot-8 Davis used his point guard skills to take over games. Animpressive spring and summer on the AAU circuit with Meanstreets after hisjunior season, including an invitation to the NBPA Top 100 Camp, really putDavis on the scene.

He was named the No. 1player in the country for his class by Scout.com and ESPN.com, and Rivals.comlisted him as the No. 2 player in the class behind Austin Rivers. His seniorseason, as now a 6-foot-10 power forward, he averaged 32 points, 22 reboundsand 7 blocks per game. Last year's National Player of the Year chose Kentuckyover Syracuse, Ohio State and DePaul, and will almost certainly be the top pickcalled by David Stern on Thursday night after leading the Wildcats to anational championship.

Meyers Leonard,Illinois (Robinson H.S.;Robinson)

Like Davis, Leonardentered high school as a guard, but grew six inches between his freshman andsophomore years. That agility from his days as a guard made him one of the moreathletic big men in the country, as he grew to 7-feet by his senior year.

Again like Davis,Leonard burst onto the scene after his junior season and a successful springand summer with the Mac Irvin Fire AAU team.

The only player onthis list to lead his high school team to a State Championship, Leonardaveraged 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game as a senior. Leonardwas a consensus first team All-State selection by the Associated Press, andchose Illinois over Florida and Purdue.

Quincy Miller, Baylor (Westchester County Day in N.C.;Chicago)

Miller was born andraised in Chicago, but at 13 years old he moved in with his uncle in NorthCarolina in hopes of a safer life. But we'll still give him the benefit ofbeing a Chicago kid, as he was prepared to attend North Chicago High Schoolbefore leaving.

Miller played hisfreshman season for Fairmont High School, but transferred a year later toQuality Education Academy. It was there that he grew eight inches and burstonto the scene after a successful AAU season with D-One Sports. After thesummer evaluation period, Miller was ranked as a consensus top-5 recruit forthe 2011 class.

His junior season heaveraged 25.5 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Quality Education,before transferring once more to Westchester. Early in his senior year, he torehis ACL and was forced to miss the rest of the season. By then, however, Millerhad already received an offer from and committed to Baylor. He chose the Bearsover Duke, Louisville, Ohio State, and a list of other high major programs.

John Shurna,Northwestern (Glenbard WestH.S.; Glen Ellyn)

Of the four potentialNBA Draft selections from the state of Illinois, Shurna was easily the mostoverlooked as a high school prospect. Just a three-start prospect out ofGlenbard West, Shurna was named to the All-State second team as a senior. The6-foot-9 shooter averaged 22.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per gamehis senior year, all of which were school records.

He's also down in theHilltoppers' record book as leading the school to its first Class AA sectionalchampionship title since 1938 his junior year. In that win over East Aurora,Shurna poured in 31 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots.

He chose Northwesternover Washington State, Loyola, Green Bay, Davidson and Penn, and he ended hiscareer as the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer (2,038 points), shot blocker(136) and in games played (136).

Fast Break Morning Update: Jonathan Toews powers Blackhawks past Canucks

Fast Break Morning Update: Jonathan Toews powers Blackhawks past Canucks

Jonathan Toews' four-point night paces Blackhawks past Canucks

Bad blood fueled Bears-Vikings playoff bout profiled in 'Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon'

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

 

Jeremy Roenick takes One More Shift for the Blackhawks

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

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.