Johnson gives Joliet West a boost

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Johnson gives Joliet West a boost

Marlon Johnson was cut from his seventh and eighth grade basketball teams. As a freshman at Joliet West, he played on the B team. As a sophomore, he spent most of his time on the bench.

Now the 6-foot-9 senior is being described as "the next Anthony Davis," comparing him to the former Chicago Perspectives star who now is freshman sensation at Kentucky.

Obviously, like Davis, Johnson has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In a year-and-a-half prior to his senior year, he grew from 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-9. After observing him in AAU competition, college coaches began to call. Illinois State offered a scholarship.

"He has a long way to go but he has great potential," Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. "He will have to attend a junior college next year to get his academics in order. But in two years, with more experience and 10 to 15 pounds of muscle, he will be a major Division I recruit."

Johnson is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds for a Joliet West team that is 17-9, has won two games in a row and will play at Thornton on Friday night for the Class 4A regional championship.

"He was coming together as a junior but he didn't have drive or a work ethic. No kid was coached harder or yelled at more," Yaklich said. "But something finally clicked within him. He got motivated during his junior year. He didn't play much early and it bothered him. He made a lot of changes in the second half of the season.

"He is a unique kid. He loves the game. He kept showing up for workouts in the summer. put in a lot of hard work over the summer and in AAU and he kept getting better. He added skills. We got a lot of calls from college coaches about him during the AAU season. Some people said they saw the next Anthony Davis. We told him he would be a beast as a senior."

Well, the beast is loose. A five-game winning streak in January set the tone for the second half of the season. With Johnson, 6-foot-3 junior Morris Dunnigan (13 ppg), 6-foot-3 senior Brian Edwards (11 ppg, 5 rpg), 5-foot-11 junior point guard Carl Terrell (8 ppg, 3 assists) and hot-shooting 5-foot-10 junior Ryan Modiest (6 ppg) coming off the bench, Yaklich believes his team can contend with top-seeded Bloom in the sectional at Lockport.

Joliet West has been there before. Last year, the Tigers were 9-16 and lost to Marian Catholic in the regional. But they were 24-8 two years ago and eliminated Bloom and Homewood-Flossmoor before losing to O'Fallon in the supersectional.

"We're focused now. A lot of pieces are fitting together," said Yaklich, who coached at Sterling and La Salle-Peru before landing at Joliet West five years ago.

Dunnigan, who started as a freshman on the supersectional team, is back after missing his sophomore year with an ACL injury. Without him, last year's team had no identity on offense. "He has expereience as a scorer in big games. He likes the ball in his hands," Yaklich said.

In Tuesday's 64-61 victory over Plainfield South, Dunnigan was limited to nine points but made a basket and free throw with eight seconds to play to spell the difference.

Edwards, who had 17 points and 15 rebounds against Plainfield South, is committed to St. Francis University. Last year, he was the team's seventh or eighth man but has developed into a valuable contributor this season.

Terrell is the floor leader...emotional, vocal, full of energy. And Modiest is the team's best shooter, a scoring threat off the bench.

"In the summer, we talked about Friday night's game, the regional championship, that we had what it takes to win it," Yaklich said. "We knew this team had good potential and good athletes."

He was disappointed that his team finished 9-5 in the Southwest Suburban Conference and third behind Homewood-Flossmoor and Bolingbrook.

"We felt we could be better than 9-5 in the league," the coach said. "But we're playing as well as we have all year right now. We really hope we are capable of carrying it over through the regional."

Report: Bears agree to terms with free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer

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Report: Bears agree to terms with free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer

The Bears have reportedly agreed to a deal with free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

The Bears opted not to draft a quarterback with any of their nine selections but will have an experienced backup behind Jay Cutler.

Hoyer, a 31-year-old seven-year veteran, started nine games for the Houston Texans last season. In 11 games he threw for 2,606 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In the Texans' 2015 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Hoyer was 15 of 34 for 136 yards and four interceptions.

The Bears will be Hoyer's fifth team. He was drafted out of Michigan State in 2009 by the New England Patriots. He made stops in Arizona, Cleveland and Houston.

Current Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was the Browns' quarterback coach in 2014 when Hoyer started 14 games in Cleveland.

Stay with CSNChicago.com for more updates throughout the night.

Patrick Nyarko haunts former team, Fire settle for draw against D.C. United

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Patrick Nyarko haunts former team, Fire settle for draw against D.C. United

Patrick Nyarko has made a number of big plays in Toyota Park over the years. He added another one Saturday, but did so for the visiting team.

Nyarko, who played eight seasons with the Chicago Fire, scored on a header following a corner kick in the 65th minute to deny the Fire three crucial points at home.

Jonathan Campbell's first professional goal had given the Fire the lead, but the match finished 1-1.

The Fire (1-2-4, 7 points) needed to get some points before heading into a three-game road trip that will take place over the span of eight days. A draw at home isn't what the team needed heading into that road trip.

Campbell's goal came following an Arturo Alvarez free kick in the 41st minute. Alvarez curled in a quality delivery that Campbell flicked into the goal with the outside of his foot. D.C. (2-3-4, 10 points) goalkeeper Travis Worra got a hand on it, but wasn't able to keep it out.

Nyarko's goal was the only serious threat for either team in the second half.

Entering the match, the Fire had to deal with a number of injuries leading up to the match. David Accam is still out with a knee injury. Rookie Alex Morrell, who was been used as a substitute the past two matches, was ruled out with a calf injury late in the week. On Friday John Goossens suffered a sprained LCL in training and is expected out 1-4 weeks. Matt Polster was a gameday scratch due to a calf injury of his own.

All those injuries led to the Fire having just 15 healthy field players to choose from. Accam made the sub list to fill out the lineup, but was likely never going to play.

With all that working against them the Fire weren't able to hold onto the win in wet and windy conditions. Razvan Cocis returned to the attacking midfield position and Nick LaBrocca made his first start with the Fire. LaBrocca was subbed out for Joey Calistri in the 53rd minute, who had his longest appearance of the season.

The Fire return to action Wednesday, May 11, in Vancouver.

Complete list of 47 Big Ten players selected in 2016 NFL Draft

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Complete list of 47 Big Ten players selected in 2016 NFL Draft

A total of 47 players from Big Ten schools were selected during this year's NFL Draft.

As expected, a large number of those 47 players were Ohio State Buckeyes, with Urban Meyer's program boasting a whopping 12 draftees, five of which were selected in the first round, one off an NFL Draft record.

Every Big Ten school was represented in this year's draft, with all 14 teams claiming at least one draftee.

Here's a complete list of the Big Ten products taken in this year's draft.

First round

3. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Chargers)
4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Cowboys)
8. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Titans)
10. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Giants)
16. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Lions)
20. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Jets)

Second round

43. Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State (Titans)
44. Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois (Raiders)
47. Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Saints)
48. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (Packers)
51. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (Jets)
58. Sean Davis, CB, Maryland (Steelers)
61. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (Saints)

Third round

65. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State (Browns)
67. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska (Cowboys)
69. Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland (Jaguars)
75. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State (Raiders)
80. Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State (Bills)
85. Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State (Texans)
86. Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers (Dolphins)
94. Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State (Seahawks)
95. Graham Glasgow, C, Michigan (Lions)
96. Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska (Patriots)

Fourth round

99. Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin (Browns)
100. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (Raiders)
102. Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State (Chargers)
106. Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota (Chiefs)
115. De'Vondre Campbell, LB, Minnesota (Falcons)
130. Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska (Ravens)
132. Willie Henry, DT, Michigan (Ravens)
137. Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern (Packers)
139. Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (Bills)

Fifth round

147. Quinton Jefferson, DT, Maryland (Seahawks)
150. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana (Bears)

Sixth round

176. Andy Janovich, FB, Nebraska (Broncos)
187. Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana (Redskins)
189. Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue (Cowboys)
191. Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan (Lions)
197. Dan Vitale, FB, Northwestern (Buccaneers)
198. Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin (Chargers)
202. Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State (Lions)
204. Jordan Lucas, S, Penn State (Dolphins)
213. Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State (49ers)
221. Ted Karras, OG, Illinois (Patriots)

Seventh round

224. Donavon Clark, OG, Michigan State (Chargers)
245. Clayton Fejedelem, S, Illinois (Bengals)
248. Austin Blythe, C, Iowa (Colts)