Illinois' Paul named Big Ten Player of the Week


Illinois' Paul named Big Ten Player of the Week

All became quiet at The Kennel rather quickly on Saturday as Illinois bounced back after suffering as much as a 10-point deficit to defeat No. 10 Gonzaga.

Senior guard Brandon Paul led the Illini to their 85-74 win, recording 35 points that resulted in being named the Big Ten Player of the Week.

Paul shut down the Bulldogs--who started the game off with an 8-0 run--hitting 10-of-16 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line, leading to his season-high performance. The Illini also received a boost from Paul's four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks to defeat Gonzaga for the first time since 1986.

This is the second time Paul's received this honor, as he was also named Big Ten Player of the Week back on Jan. 16, 2011 after he put on a 43-point show in a win against No. 5 Ohio State.

The 10-0 Illini are now ranked No. 10 in both the AP and USA Today polls as they prepare to host Norfolk State on Dec. 11.

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft


Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

The Chicago Fire drafted three players in the first two rounds of the MLS draft on Friday and added another two players in the draft's final two rounds on Tuesday.

The Fire selected two players out of Charlotte in the final two rounds. Midfielder Brandt Bronico went with the third pick in the third round, No. 47 overall, and defender Matej Dekovic was picked with the third pick in the fourth round, No. 69 overall.

Bronico was a key cog all four years at Charlotte. He was a three-time First-Team Conference USA selection and Conference USA Player of the Year as a senior. He totaled 25 goals and 23 assists in four years, including nine goals and five assists in 18 matches as a senior. He had eight goals and 10 assists as a junior.

Bronico also scored an eye-catching goal on the final day of the MLS Combine.

Dekovic is a defender born in Zagreb, Croatia. He was a First-Team Conference USA pick this fall while playing at left back. The Fire don't have much depth currently at outside back, but Dekovic's status as an international player will give him an uphill battle to make the team.

The Fire open preseason camp in six days on Monday, Jan. 23.

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw


White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

It's no secret that White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech throws hard.

Acquired in the trade that sent ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox, Kopech was clocked throwing a pitch 105 mph last July while pitching for the Salem Red Sox.

But that's nothing compared to what the No. 4 right-handed pitching prospect in baseball did on Tuesday.

Granted, Kopech was throwing an underload baseball (which he confirmed in a response to the original tweet), but 110 mph is 110 mph.

The White Sox would settle for a few miles per hour less on the mound, but either way it looks like they've got a good one.