Pistons' Villanueva recalls early days of Deng, Noah

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Pistons' Villanueva recalls early days of Deng, Noah

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.Long before Luol Deng and Joakim Noah were NBA players, Pistons forward Charlie Villaneuva knew them as his prep-school roommate and a ballboy at a high school All-American camp, respectively.
Villanueva, a native of Queens, N.Y., attended New Jerseys Blair Academy and teamed up with Deng in a frontcourt featuring two of the best prep prospects in the nation. The dynamic duo almost attended college together, at Big Ten power Indiana, but instead opted to separate, as Deng went to Duke for a season and Villanueva attended Connecticut for two years before declaring for the NBA Draft.
In fact, they faced off in the 2005 NCAA Final FourVillaneuvas UConn team, which also featured former Bulls guard Ben Gordon, beat Deng and Duke, en route to a national championshipin a matchup they fantasized about while in high school. Prior to Friday nights Bulls-Pistons game at The Palace at Auburn Hills, Villanueva told CSNChicago.com that he wasnt surprised by his former roommates professional success.
Deng was a tremendous player, in high school and now. you could just tell how good he was and how good a feel for the game he had. Playing against him in the Final Four in college was an amazing feeling because we actually talked about that. Actually playing against him was amazing. But seeing play throughout his years in the league, hes been getting better every year and Im not surprised at all that hes an All-Star, and Id be surprised if hes not an All-Star this year as well, he said. We used to go at each other every time. We got each other better and off the court, he was my roommate. Sharing stories, him being from Londonand Sudanand me being from New York, it was just two different worlds.
Villanueva watched Noah, who played for the same AAU program, develop from afar. As has been well-chronicled, Noahs growth spurt, which transformed him from a guard into a talented, if unorthodox big man, sparked his college recruiting interest and as time has gone on, Villanuevas fellow New Yorker has evolved into one of the top centers in the game, something the Pistons forward believes strongly.
Jo, I remember him when he was a little kid. It was amazing. He used to come to ABCD camp back in the day in Jersey and watch all of us play, the New York guys and then, one summer, I just saw him grow and what hes become is amazing, he recalled. Id say hes one of the best centers in the league. Hes definitely a name you have to consider."

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

CSN's Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd preview the Blackhawks' three upcoming games in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Blackhawks have three home games before the NHL All-Star break, which takes place in Los Angeles.

The Blackhawks have dates between the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Winnipeg Jets. All three opponents are out of the playoff picture, sand Steve Konroyd is looking for the Blackhawks to step up in a certain part of their game: scoring.

See what Boyle and Konroyd had to say in the video above.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.