Deng's cousin to join Wildcats

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Deng's cousin to join Wildcats

Steve Wojcik
CSNChicago.com

Any team that finishes 333rd in the country in rebounding and 127th in blocked shots, as Northwestern did last season, is likely in desperate need of an interior presence.

The Wildcats may have found their man today, rounding out their 2012 recruiting class with the school's biggest addition ever - and we mean that literally.

Chier Ajou, the 7-foot-2 cousin of Bulls forward Luol Deng, has decided to join the Wildcats, becoming the tallest player in the school's history.

"The addition of Chier completes a terrific freshman class that we're very excited about," Northwestern head men's basketball coach Bill Carmody told NUSports.com. "He is an outstanding young man who is athletic, has great upside and is a good fit for our program. He'll provide our team with a dimension we haven't seen in a while."

The recruiting class Carmody is referring to includes incoming freshmen Kale Abrahamson, Sanjay Lumpkin and Alex Olah, as well as, transfers Jared Swopshire from Louisville and Nikola Cerina from TCU.

Northwestern returns 4 of 5 starters, and hopes to build on a successful 2011-12 season that saw the team fall just shy of making its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

NBA Draft Profile: Utah C Jakob Poeltl

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NBA Draft Profile: Utah C Jakob Poeltl

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NBA Draft we will provide profiles of more than 50 prospects, including video interviews with each player, what they're saying leading up to draft day as well as their potential fit with the Bulls.

Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

7'0" | 230 lbs. | 20 years old

2015-16 stats:

17.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 64.6% FG, 1.6 blocks, 30.4 minutes

Projection:

Lottery

Quotable:

"I feel like I acvtually fit that style pretty good. Because the league's getting smaller but also you have to be more versatile as a big, you have to do more different stuff like step out a little bit, like be able to handle the ball, be able to pass the ball. And I feel like that's somethign I'm actually pretty good at. So I think I'll fit in pretty well."

Rotoworld mock draft selection:

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah – Greg Monroe hasn’t really seemed to gel with Jason Kidd’s offense and defense, but Poeltl has the potential to step in and help on both ends. He has above-average potential as a rim protector, and though not the most athletic player, he is skilled on the offensive end, comfortable in the pick-and-roll, and can make an impact on the offensive boards.

Fit for the Bulls:

It could be an offseason of change for the Bulls' frontcourt, as both Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are set to become free agents. The Bulls hit on their Bobby Portis selection last year, and adding Poeltl to the mix would give a solid rim protector and post presence. Poeltl would be an excellent complement to Portis' stretch game. And if the Bulls opt to bring back one of Gasol or Noah, Poeltl would have a solid mentor to learn from. He'll become the first Austrian to ever play in the NBA, so the Bulls' fan base would grow exponentially in central Europe, for what it's worth.

87 Days to Kickoff: Woodstock North

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87 Days to Kickoff: Woodstock North

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Woodstock North Thunder

Head coach: Jeff Schroeder

Assistant coaches:  John Fredericks, Matt Polnow, Chris Jackowiak

How they fared in 2015: 4-5 (2-4) Fox Valley (Fox). Woodstock North failed to qualify for the 2015 IHSA state football playoff field.

Biggest storyline in 2016: How will the Thunder fare in the new Kishwaukee River Conference in 2016?

Names to watch this season: OL/DL Zach Schau RB/DB Collin Mergi QB/LB Matt Zinnen

Biggest holes to fill: The Thunder will need to get some numbers and depth this season with several starters planning to play on both sides of the football.

EDGY's Early Take: The Thunder, along with sister school Woodstock, move into the new Kishwaukee River Conference along with several former Big Northern schools. The conference should benefit Woodstock North from an overall enrollment standpoint. Expect the Thunder to compete for a conference title and a state playoff spot.
 

The Bulls had the NBA's second best combined record against Cavs, Warriors

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The Bulls had the NBA's second best combined record against Cavs, Warriors

The Bulls' successes this season against the best teams in the NBA have been documented, and only make their inability to make the playoffs all the more baffling.

Those playoffs saw its number of teams dwindled down to two after the Warriors knocked off the Thunder in Game 7 Monday night in Oakland.

That means it'll be a rematch, as expected, between Steph Curry and the Warriors against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Bulls, like all but nine teams this regular season, lost all their games against Curry's Warriors, which set an NBA record by going 73-9.

But the Bulls had quite a bit of success against James and the Cavs, winning their of their four matchups.

That gave them a 3-3 record against the two teams competing in this year's Finals (they were a combined 6-0 against the runner-ups in either conference, Toronto and Oklahoma City).

That's significant, as only one other team (Detroit) had a combined record .500 or better against the conference champions.

Here's a look at how the 28 eliminated teams fared against the Cavs and Warriors this season.

Rank Team Record Diff
1. Detroit 4-2 +1.8
2. Chicago 3-3 -6.0
3. Miami 2-3 +2.4
4. Boston 2-3 -6.0
5. Portland 2-4 -0.8
6. Toronto 2-4 -4.0
7. Washington 2-4 -4.3
8. Milwaukee 2-4 -6.0
9. San Antonio 2-4 -8.3
10. Minnesota 1-4 -8.8
11. Houston 1-4 -9.0
12. New Orleans 1-4 -11.4
13. Indiana 1-5 -3.1
14. Dallas 1-5 -4.5
15. Charlotte 1-5 -7.1
16. Utah 1-5 -7.3
17. Brooklyn 1-5 -8.3
18. Denver 1-5 -11.3
19. LA Lakers 1-5 -12.8
20. Memphis 1-5 -19.1
21. Atlanta 0-5 -8.6
22. Oklahoma City 0-5 -10.6
23. Philadelphia 0-6 -10.0
24. LA Clippers 0-6 -11.1
25. Phoenix 0-6 -14.1
26. Sacramento 0-6 -14.6
27. New York 0-6 -15.6
28. Orlando 0-6 -17.0

Only four teams beat both Golden State and Cleveland this season: Detroit, Boston, Portland and Milwaukee.

The Bulls' average point differential against the two finalists was -6.0, tied for eighth best in the NBA.

The Bulls had myriad issues against the cellar dwellers - their 9-3 record against the NBA's final four teams was the same as their 9-3 record against the NBA's worst five teams - but they held their own against the game's elite.