Te'o not yet thinking about NFL

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Te'o not yet thinking about NFL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Manti Teo said he hasnt put much thought into his future in the NFL, but Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco certainly has.

After perhaps his quietest week in months, one void of cameras, reporters with questions and awards speeches, Teo said Monday he has been focused on the moment at hand instead of the road ahead.

But Diaco has no problem forecasting the senior linebackers future -- he believes Teo, who won seven awards this season and was also a Heisman Trophy finalist, has an even brighter future.

He has no limitations, Diaco said. Hed be, and is going to be, a productive player in any defensive system that he gets added to at the next level.

Related: Te'o projected as high first-round pick

You can attribute Diacos faith in Teo to the gains the player made in his pass defense this season. Te'o's strides have helped elevate the Irish to be the No. 1 scoring defense among FBS schools heading into the BCS Championship Jan. 7 against Alabama.

Whereas Teo has always been a force in defense of the run and pass rushing -- he had 261 tackles the previous two seasons, including 23 for a loss -- this season he added a new wrinkle.

Prior to 2012, Teo had six passes defensed and no interceptions in his first three seasons at Notre Dame. But this season, through his study of opponents and improved technique, Teo has seven interceptions and 11 passes defended going into the teams bowl game.

Hes a student of the game, Diaco said. First of all, hes a got a great understanding of the pass situation. So hes already anticipating pass and run. He can fit himself into the pattern of his responsibility. After that, where he has really made a lot of gains is, he kind of is dictating, a little bit, the terms as where it relates to where he fits and invites the quarterback to do something he is asking the quarterback to do through his body language.

Related: Heisman goes to Manziel, but Te'o continues to build legacy

Speaking to the reporters for the first time in a week Monday, Teo said he hasnt thought about anything beyond Alabama. His parents have urged him to start thinking about the NFL and reporters have asked too. But after an offseason full of award shows -- he won the Walter Camp player of the year, Lott and Lombardi Trophies, and the Maxwell, Bednarik, Butkus and Nagurski awards -- Teo described a week away from the spotlight as joyful.

Instead of making speeches, Teo had the chance to be a student again, finishing up final exams and hang out with his teammates.

It was amazing, Teo said.

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Doug McDermott scores career-best 31 to lead Bulls past Grizzlies

Doug McDermott scores career-best 31 to lead Bulls past Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored a career-high 31 points, Jimmy Butler had a pair of key baskets in the closing minute and the Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-104 on Sunday night.

The Bulls broke a 104-all tie with 25 seconds left on a 15-footer from Butler and a pair of free throws by McDermott. Butler also had a go-ahead 18-footer with 53 seconds left and finished with 16 points to help Chicago win its second straight.

Taj Gibson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 28 points and eight assists, and Marc Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Chicago was without second-leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who did not play on the second night of a back-to-back after the Bulls beat New Orleans at home Saturday.

The game featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties, with neither team holding a double-digit lead.

Most of McDermott's damage came in the first half after the Bulls struggled shooting in the latter part of the first quarter. McDermott came off the bench to reverse the trend.

McDermott scored 20 points in the first eight minutes of the second quarter, moving Chicago's lead to eight. He had 22 points for the half and the Bulls led 52-46 at the break.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Nikola Mirotic missed his fourth straight game dealing with an illness. ... F Paul Zipser, a rookie from Germany, started his second game and second straight after coming off the bench in his first 10 appearances this season. ... McDermott converted a four-point play in the second quarter. ... McDermott's 22 first-half points were more than his total for the four previous games (21). ... Chicago scored 14 points in the first quarter, a season low for the opening frame. ... The Bulls are now 4-5 on the second night of back-to-backs.

Grizzlies: Gasol made a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, marking 17 games this season he has made multiple shots from outside the arc. ... Memphis made 11 3-pointers in the game and has converted at least 10 3s in 20 games this season, including 11 of the last 14 games.

MLK HOLIDAY

This is the 15th season Memphis has hosted a game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. The Grizzlies are 6-9 in the holiday game.

In recognition of the holiday, Memphis wore special MLK50 Pride uniforms. The black jerseys have sea foam blue numbers, letters and piping with the full T-shirt look instead of the normal sleeveless. The piping replicated the railing in front the rooms at the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968, and the blue color was similar to the doors on the rooms.

MISSING WADE

Wade's absence meant missing a reunion with Memphis coach David Fizdale. Both left the Miami Heat organization after last season - Wade signing with the Bulls and Fizdale getting his first head coaching job in Memphis. Fizdale said he is sort of a "basketball romantic" and would like to have seen Wade retire in Miami. But he predicted after the player's career "his statue will be out front and (Wade) will be remembered as the great player that he should be."

UP NEXT

Bulls: Return home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Grizzlies: Memphis travels to Washington to face the Wizards on Wednesday night.