Hello, Rivals? are you paying attention?In its latest evaluation of the top 150 high school basketball players in the class of 2013, Rivals didn't rank Proviso East's Sterling Brown. In the wake of Brown's outstanding performance in the Class 4A finals, where by all accounts the 6-foot-4 junior outplayed everyone else on the floor, including Simeon's Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn, Rivals apparently wasn't impressed.Asked to explain its rationale for snubbing Brown, Rivals declined to respond. He likely will make a dramatic climb into the top 50 after Rivals "re-evaluates" the nation's top players during the spring and summer.Aside from that turnover, Rivals got it right. Parker is their choice as the No. 1 player in the class of 2013, agreeing with every other recruiting service on the planet. He ranks ahead of Andrew Harrison of Fort Bend, Texas, and Julius Randle of Plano, Texas.Other Illinois products on Rivals' elite list are Kendrick Nunn (22), Whitney Young's Thomas Hamilton (45), St. Charles East's Purdue-bound Kendall Stephens (50), Belleville East's Illinois-bound Malcolm Hill (52), Morgan Park's DePaul-bound Billy Garrett Jr. (75), East St. Louis' Deshawn Munson (96) and Simeon's Jaylon Tate (112).Don't forget Illinois-bound Jalen James (89), a native Chicagoan who attended Hope Academy for two years, then transferred to La Lumiere, a prep school in La Porte, Indiana.It would appear Rivals has some catching up to do. It has a history of not doing a very comprehensive job of covering Illinois in general, the Chicago area in particular.Local evaluators generally agreed that Hamilton and Stephens had disappointing junior years, Hamilton largely because he was injured for much of the season. De La Salle's Gabe Schilling and Alvin Ellis are rated ahead of Hamilton and Stephens in some up-to-date surveys.Rivals isn't alone on the up-tick. ESPN doesn't list Brown among its top 60 in the class of 2013 while rating Parker No. 1 and including Hamilton, Garrett, Hill and Nunn on its list."All the national sites like ESPN, Rivals and Scout are jokes," said recruiting analysts Roy and Harv Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye. "They don't know how to evaluate. They are all what we call 'big event' guys who rank kids only on how they play at big high-profile events."Last year, Brown wasn't that visible on the travel club and AAU circuits. So everyone is clueless. They do not and never go watch regular season games, only big tournaments which are often awful and set up like NBA all-star games."Guys like Dave Telep and Clark Francis are clueless. They are 'big event' or 'one game' guys. Rankings change by the hour. Scout is more concerned with who is in the building and schmoozing with college coaches. The fact that most college coaches fall for it tells you all you need to know about the product of college basketball and the scouting profession."How good is Brown? The Schmidt brothers predict that he will push the top 75 nationally. At the same time, they believe Whitney Young's Tommy Hamilton, once a highly rated prospect, has slipped dramatically. "Not even a top 10 player in 2013, no more than a high mid-major prospect," they said.After attending a major AAU event in Minneapolis, in which Simeon's Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn stood out, they also were impressed with 6-foot-5 Kendall Pollard of Simeon and 6-foot-9 Sean O'Mara of Benet.
The Bulls will introduce first round draft pick Denzel Valentine on Monday at the Advocate Center, and CSN has you covered all the way.
Tune in to CSN Chicago or catch a live stream on CSNChicago.com at 11 a.m. as GM Gar Forman and head coach Fred Hoiberg introduce Valentine, the Michigan State senior whom the Bulls selected 14th overall in last week's NBA Draft.
Valentine, last year's AP Player of the Year, became the first player in NCAA history to average at least 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a single season. The shooting guard's versatility and ability to shoot from the perimeter will make him a perfect fit in Fred Hoiberg's system, and his passing will help in the wake of the Bulls dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks.
Check out our coverage of Valentine and the rest of the Bulls draft:
CSN's JJ Stankevitz and Siera Santos discuss the struggles of James Shields while also going over a difficult upcoming series for the White Sox in this week's Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana Honda dealers.
On the back of Chris Sale and his 13th win, the White Sox are back to .500 after taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The South Siders have now won five of their last seven games, and won back-to-back series for the first time in nearly two months. They're now 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot and are playing much better baseball as they head toward the All-Star break.
Hear what JJ Stankevitz and Siera Santos had to say about their big week, as well as their upcoming three-game series against the Twins, in this week's Honda Road Ahead video above.
The White Sox have been adamant the baseball they’ve played the past six weeks isn’t far removed from their torrid start to the season.
Now they have something to show for it.
Courtesy of a 5-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox have back-to-back series victories for the first time since they swept the Texas Rangers and Toronto two months ago. With five wins in their last seven tries, the White Sox improved to 38-38 as they head into a much-needed day off.
“It’s huge,” said outfielder J.B. Shuck, whose second homer in as many days provided an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. “You feel kind of a weight lifted off the shoulders in the clubhouse. We’ve been grinding. Even some of our losses, we’ve been in games. We’ve come back, we’ve given ourselves a chance and one thing here or there kind of led us to losing and now it’s starting to work for us a little bit.”
A week ago the White Sox were coming off yet another demoralizing road sweep against an AL Central opponent. They had played well in two of three contests against the Cleveland Indians but came up empty. That sweep followed one at the Detroit Tigers earlier in the month and another previous one during a hellish May weekend in Kansas City.
But starting with an extra-innings win at the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, the White Sox have started to put things together more consistently than they had of late.
They capitalized on good pitching in the first two victories over the Red Sox and then the offense did the heavy lifting in an 8-6 win on Wednesday. Though they didn’t close out a sweep of Boston, the White Sox carried it over to their home series against Toronto.
“We need some of those,” said closer David Robertson, who retired the side on 10 pitches in the ninth to convert his 20th save. “When you get your butt kicked and you get swept in places, you gotta come home and win some games. We’re playing a lot better baseball. We’re pitching better. Hopefully it continues and we stay strong.”
Sunday’s victory was full of quality play in all aspects for the White Sox.
-- Chris Sale was dominant for seven of eight innings and earned his 13th victory in 15 decisions.
-- Robertson’s inning aside, Sale gave the bullpen another critical day of rest.
“It’s kind of relaxing,” reliever Zach Duke said.
-- Beginning with Adam Eaton’s major-league leading 10th outfield assist in the first inning, the defense turned in several big plays behind Sale, including double plays in the fourth and seventh.
-- The offense provided several timely hits, whether Melky Cabrera’s two-out RBI single in the third or Shuck’s solo homer to increase the lead back to three runs in the eighth.
Now the White Sox have a day to rest before they continue their homestand on Tuesday with the first of three against the Minnesota Twins.
“I like the way we're playing,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think offensively, we're swinging it a little bit, doing some things, and playing defense along with it. That's a good sign for us to be able to continue to do that. Pitchers are getting back to being healthy and getting after it. I like the way this is headed. I like the fire that these guys have shown and bouncing back in some tough situations.”