High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

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High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
8:14 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

The best Chicagoland prep basketball action can be seen right here on Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com. This week's edition of High School Lites features many ranked teams in YourSeason.com's Super 25, including a tilt between 3 Benet and 14 Notre Dame. We head out to Woodstock for our Team of the Week: Marian Central Catholic. You might see a familiar face on their bench-- former DePaul player Curtis Price, who is now their head coach. We'll also bring you the story of a standout girls basketball player who is living a 'fantasy' life for the Wheaton North Falcons. Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover Friday night:

York @ (13) Proviso West, 6:00pm

It could be a key early-season West Suburban Silver contest Friday in Hillside. The Dukes are off to another good start at 4-1. Senior guard Will Sullivan scored 23 points in their latest victory-- a 64-54 decision over Hinsdale Central. As for the Panthers, it'll be the first of a back-to-back with mighty East Aurora and Ryan Boatright lurking on Saturday. P-W, behind senior Ryan Woods, dominated Glenbard West last Friday 69-54.

(11) Thornton @ Andrew, 6:30pm

Four starters are back for the Thornton Wildcats this season, including guard Brian Greene. He teamed up with Bernard Brame and Dimitrius Hardwick in a convincing 68-47 win over Von Steuben at Sunday's Public League Shootout. Andrew is the proverbial team that nobody wants to play-- especially in Tinley Park. This vastly-improved team includes the Adekoya brothers: Jabbar, Jawad and Jubril, who can cause fits for the opposition.

Romeoville @ (20) Plainfield North, 7:00pm

The Southwest Prairie conference is there for the taking this season-- and both the Spartans and the 20th ranked Tigers figure to do some damage. Romeoville's defense was tough on the road last Friday, holding Minooka to 30 points. P-N's Jack Krieger is one of the top guards in the conference. Last season, he made 67 or 125 shots from 3-point range (53.6). He scored 39 points against Plainfield South earlier this season.

Ridgewood @ Fenton, 7:00

It's a family affair at west-suburban Ridgewood High School. New head coach Chris Mroz, the oldest of four boys, looks for his kid brother (Petey) to be a big contributor on the team. Guard John Caravia is another player to keep an eye on for the Rebels. The host Bison are paced by senior forward Dan Montano. Both teams figure to chase Riverside-Brookfield in the Metro Suburban this year...winners of nine straight conference titles.

(9) Proviso East @ Addison Trail, 7:30pm

The 9th-ranked Pirates have had plenty of time to think about the 85-63 dismantling by Hales in the St. Charles East Thanksgiving tournament. Now it's time to refocus, as the West Suburban Gold conference schedule awaits. The Pirates figure to be a force in conference, with guard Keith Carter setting the pace. Addison Trail is looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 64-61 overtime loss against Stagg.

Metea Valley @ (15) East Aurora, 7:30pm

This is the first year of varsity-level competition for the Metea Valley Mustangs. Last year, the JV squad was an impressive 23-2. Will it translate to wins on the varsity level? Their competition won't get much tougher than East Aurora. The Tomcats, led by Connecticut-bound superstar guard Ryan Boatright, look to set the tone in the Upstate Valley Eight conference.
Mt. Carmel @ Seton, 7:30pm

Illinois recruit Tracy Abrams took care of business in the Caravan's 88-56 victory over St. Francis de Sales last week-- the opener for their Catholic League East schedule. Abrams and fellow senior guard Malcolm Hill-Bey will face a challenge this Friday at Seton. The Sting feature a stellar player in Rodney Marshall. Both teams figure to challenge Leo for conference supremacy.

St. Francis de Sales @ (21) Leo, 7:30pm

The other side of the Catholic League East conference features the aforementioned Leo Lions, who just got by Seton earlier this season, 65-62. Leo returns nearly all of the players from last year's 25-9 team, and it includes Paul Beene Jr. and Maurice Joyner. A huge showdown with Mt. Carmel lies ahead on December 17th, but Leo cannot afford to overlook the Pioneers.

(14) Notre Dame @ (3) Benet, 7:30pm

The top matchup in Chicagoland Friday night. The visiting Dons are cruising. They have a 7-0 record which is head coach Tom Les best start ever. Rodney Prior has been on autopilot so far this season. He is coming off a 22 point performance against Loyola and has a 34 point game to his credit this year as well. Their defense has been tough, but will it be enough to stop Benet's Big 10 tandem of Dave Sobolewski (Northwestern) and 6-10 center Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)? It'll be quite a battle in the western suburbs Friday night.

GBB: North Lawndale @ (2) Whitney Young, 5:30pm

The Dolphins of Whitney Young try to continue their dominance of the girls basketball landscape in Chicagoland. And for once, they'll actually have a game in Chicago. Young has already played schools in the Memphis area, and they will travel to Detroit over the holidays and then take on competition from Wisconsin and St. Louis once the new year starts. They boast four college prospects: Chanise Trix Jenkins (DePaul), Kiana Johnson (Michigan State), Dija Disu (Texas Southern) and Bryesha Blair (Central Florida).

Check us out this Friday night just after our coverage of the Bulls-Lakers game. High School Lites streams live at CSNChicago.com.

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

After the Bulls got off to a 3-0 start, it looked like this would be a team that might be able to give LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls proceeded to lose their next three, tempering those optimistic expectations. What those first six games proved is that they're an inconsistent bunch, and it's been a microcosm of their season past the halfway mark.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Entering Thursday, the Bulls were slotted in as the No. 8 seed in the East with a 21-22 record through 43 games.

Former Bulls forward/center Horace Grant, who was named a special advisor to president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf last year, joined SportsTalk Live on Thursday to talk about the team's current state, and why Bulls fans shouldn't panic just yet.

Check out his comments in the video above.

See what else he had to say during his SportsTalk Live appearance and on In The Loop below:

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

ATLANTA — Jimmy Butler insisted being a starter in the All-Star Game means next to nothing, but it seems to go against his never-ending battle for credibility and validation as a legit superstar.

Moments after it was revealed he would be an All-Star starter for the first time and make his third overall trip to All-Star weekend, he sang the same nonchalant tune.

"It hasn't changed at all," Butler said on a conference call Thursday evening. "Obviously, it's a huge accomplishment and honor to be named a starter. But it's All-Star weekend. There are going to be a lot of good players there. I guess it's just another name thrown in with some decent players."

The NBA's format for selecting the All-Star starters changed this season, with fans no longer being the sole group that gets to vote for starters. If it was still a fans-only vote, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid would've started in Butler's place.

But with the new formula that allows the media and the players to take part in the vote, the fan vote accounts for just 50 percent of the formula. So Butler joined Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Milwaukee's Giannis Antekounmpo and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan in the starting five for the Eastern Conference.

Butler's is averaging 24.8 points with 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists, career-highs across the board, and had he not been selected as a starter, the Bulls' 20-21 record would not have prevented coaches from selecting him as a reserve as they had the last two seasons.

[SHOP BULLS: Get a Jimmy Butler jersey right here]

He won't be joined in the starting lineup by Dwyane Wade, who finished second in backcourt voting behind Irving, but cast his vote for his teammate anyway and hopes Wade will be selected as a reserve.

"Of course. He's been a huge part of what we're doing here, and I think he has played extremely well the first part of the season," Butler said. "He got my vote. I will tell you that."

Golden State's Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will start for the West, along with Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans' Anthony Davis, a Chicago native.

The fun-filled and busy weekend in New Orleans begins Feb. 17, from the league events to the parties to the festivities and then finally the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Butler likely views it as more of an accomplishment for his team of trainers and confidants then himself.

"It's fun, man. You get to know the other really good players in the league, and you get to know a little bit about them," Butler said. "And the experience that you get to be a part of, whether it be the Jordan party or taking your guys with you everywhere. That's the most fun part for me, my trainers, my brothers, everybody that's behind the scenes helping me gets to experience it too."