Transfers are cottage industry in high school

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Transfers are cottage industry in high school

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With liberal transfer rules and a desire to play for teams that can compete for championships and provide national exposure for college scholarships and even the NBA, it has become a common practice for high school athletes to market themselves to the most high-profile programs in the country.

Some of the most celebrated transfers in Illinois history were Kevin Garnett, Mark Aguirre, Marcus Liberty, Nick Anderson, Quentin Richardson, Jereme Richmond, Michael Hermon, Bill Small, Shaun Livingston, Fred Riddle and Bumpy Nixon, all basketball players.

In the last few years, however, transferring has become a cottage industry. De La Salle's basketball team lost Gavin Schilling to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, and Alex Foster to Seton Academy. Kyle Davis went from Hyde Park to Morgan Park. Tommy Hamilton left Whitney Young for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

In the last two years, Wheaton Warrenville South landed two highly regarded quarterbacks, one from Ottawa, Illinois, and the other from Springdale, Arkansas. This season, a 1,700-yard running back moved from Bartlett to St. Francis in Wheaton.

In Chicago, handlers of a promising and widely recruited offensive lineman showed up at a few high schools and demanded: "If you guarantee that he will play left offensive tackle, he'll come here. If not, he'll go somewhere else."

This year, the most celebrated transfer could be 6-foot-5 junior L.J. Peak, who left Gaffney, South Carolina, and enrolled at Whitney Young. He is rated among the top 50 players in the country in his class by some evaluators. At Whitney Young, he will join two other highly rated players, 6-foot-11 Jahlil Okafor and 6-foot-9 Paul White.

"Peak is an explosive scorer who can create, drive with either hand, finish with major hops and is a surprising passer off the dribble," said veteran recruiting analyst Van Coleman. "He is a streaky shooter from around the arc but when he's on, he can be scary, like he was at Beach Ball last winter when he scored 40 points on 13-of-18 shooting, including five threes."

Coleman said Peak, who is being recruited by South Carolina and Clemson, will have to convert his game to the more physical style that is played in the Midwest, especially in the Chicago Public League. "If he does, he will be a huge addition to Windy City basketball. He probably will start the year rated around No. 40 in the class of 2014."

In other moves, A.J. Riley went from Peoria Manual to LaLumiere Academy in Indiana to Peoria Notre Dame, 6-foot-7 junior Don Johnson went from Niles Notre Dame to St. Joseph and 6-foot-5 senior Paris McCullum went from St. Patrick to Proviso East.

Nationally recognized recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons of Lenoir, North Carolina, who has been evaluating high school basketball players since the 1970s, said the hardest aspect of his job is to keep track of where top-rated kids are going from year to year.

"Transfers and reclassifications are a major dilemma," Gibbons said. "Kids are being jerked around. Always stay with the horses that brung you, I always say. If you have reached a level of success at a high school with a coach and your teammates, you don't have to go to a different school to get a scholarship.

"Parents are worst of all. They are like Little League parents. They have illusions fed by summer coaches that their sons will make them millionaires overnight with a pro contract and shoe contract. The hoop dream of today is to be recruited by Kentucky and enhance your chances of being a big-time prospect and become an NBA player after one year of college."

Coleman has observed the growth of transfers over the last decade. Every year, based on academics, a significant number of athletes leave high school to enroll at prep schools, some of which are legitimate while some aren't.

No matter, the aim of the prep school is to get kids qualified. There were 580 transfers in the NBAA last year.

"The whole system has changed to an impersonal look at things. Now it is the culture of recruiting," Coleman said. "Kids look at their own lives and what older kids are doing. Every time a kid is unhappy, someone is trying to help him go somewhere else.

"I understand if a kid has a desire to play for a state championship if his parents are willing to move. But I think we have gotten to a mentality that if it ain't right for me here, I can go somewhere else. Now if you don't promote a kid, he goes to another school where he thinks he can play.
It's the 'me' society of the 1960s. Kids have so many options."

And about this story? Does it get any more hypocritical than this? When athletes jump from one school to another to another, when does it become obvious that it isn't for academic reasons and somebody in authority steps in and says "enough is enough" and declares the athlete ineligible to participate in sports?

After being declared academically ineligible after his junior year at Peoria Manual, A.J. Riley, one of the state's leading basketball players in the class of 2013, transferred to La Lumiere Academy in LaPorte, Indiana.

One report said Riley was "homesick" but another report said Riley was flunking out of La Lumiere and withdrew before the school ordered him to pack his bags. Now Riley has returned to Peoria and reportedly will enroll at Peoria Notre Dame.

Let's get this straight:

Riley's AAU coach said the 6-foot-2 guard, who has received more than a dozen Division I scholarship offers, including Bradley, Illinois State, Creighton and Drake, was leaving Peoria Manual because he needed to escape Peoria's academically inept public school system. So now he is coming back because he has no other options?

And if Riley couldn't cut it at Peoria Manual, what makes him think he can achieve passing grades and meet NCAA academic standards at a parochial school such as Peoria Notre Dame?

"Transfers are out of control, largely with the involvement of prep schools," said recruiting analysts Roy and Harv Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye. "The problem is compounded because there is no way of regulating it. Who is the authority to step in? Who is the governing body? It has become enough of a national issue that the NCAA or the National High School Federation must step in.

"It has reached epidemic proportions because so many talented players have delusions of grandeur. They think prep schools are the fastest way of achieving success in college and moving to the NBA. It is hard to turn down those incentives."

Bears release safety Antrel Rolle

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Bears release safety Antrel Rolle

The Bears released safety Antrel Rolle on Sunday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the move. Rolle tweeted the following out minutes later.

Rolle battled injuries and appeared in just seven games with the Bears last season, coming to Chicago after five seasons with the New York Giants. He made 35 total tackles and recorded one pass defensed.

The Bears have six other safeties on their current roster and added two more during this weekend's draft, picking Miami's Deon Bush in the fourth round and William & Mary's DeAndre Houston-Carson in the sixth round.

Brett Lawrie powers White Sox to win over Orioles

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Brett Lawrie powers White Sox to win over Orioles

BALTIMORE — Brett Lawrie had another big day and the White Sox offense hasn’t been too bad, either.

Lawrie homered in a third straight game and reached base all five times on Sunday afternoon as the White Sox completed a very successful road trip with a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in front of 28,803 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Working behind an offense that scored 41 runs during the 5-2 trip, Chris Sale improved to 6-0 and the White Sox split a four-game set with the Orioles. The win also gave the White Sox a 13-6 record during a stretch with 19 games in 19 days.

Lawrie jumpstarted the White Sox offense in the fourth, two innings after the White Sox came up empty with the bases loaded and no outs. With two outs and no score, Lawrie ripped a 1-2 fastball from Ubaldo Jimenez 404 feet to left field for his fourth home run of the season. He also homered on Friday and Saturday, marking the first time in his career that he has accomplished the feat in three straight games.

The White Sox then dinked and dunked Jimenez to death in the fifth inning. Dioner Navarro and Austin Jackson made up for the second inning when they struck out and grounded into a double play to ended the bases-loaded threat. Navarro singled and Jackson doubled to deep center and Jimenez loaded the bases when he hit Adam Eaton with a pitch.

Carlos Sanchez had an RBI groundout and Jose Abreu singled in another to make it 3-0. Melky Cabrera singled in another run on a blooper to left and Jerry Sands dropped a two-run single into center to knock Jimenez out of the game.

Lawrie walked in between the hits by Cabrera and Sands, his fourth free pass of the trip. He also singled and doubled and reached base in 11 of 30 plate appearances on the road trip. The effort raised Lawrie’s batting average to .290.

The effort was another big one from an offense that has begun to show signs of life after a slow start to the season. The White Sox scored at least four runs in five of their seven games away from U.S. Cellular and averaged 5.86 per contest. The same group scored an average of 3.2 runs per contest in its first 19 games this season.

While Abreu hasn’t flexed his muscles in a while, his bat continues to heat up. A day after he singled in runs in the final two innings, Abreu singled twice more and drew a first-inning walk. He finished the road trip 11-for-29 with six RBIs and four walks.

The outpouring made a laborious day easier for Sale, who needed 107 pitches to complete five innings. Baltimore’s loaded lineup ran a bunch of deep counts against Sale, but didn’t accomplish much else.

He stranded at least one runner in each of his first five frames and two each in the first, third and fifth innings. Still, Sale kept the Orioles at bay, striking out six, including the side in the fourth. His biggest escape came in the fifth inning as his pitch count ran high. Sale walked two, including a 12-pitch free pass to Manny Machado, with one out. But he struck out Mark Trumbo and induced a fly ball out from Adam Jones.

Sale allowed a run, six hits and walked four in 5 1/3 innings.

Four White Sox relievers combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings to close it out.

NFL Draft: NFC North grades

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NFL Draft: NFC North grades

Rotoworld's Evan Silva graded every NFL team's 2016 draft. Here are his grades for the Bears and their NFC North rivals.

Chicago Bears

1 (9). Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd
2 (56). Kansas State G/C Cody Whitehair
3 (72). Florida DE Jonathan Bullard
4 (113). West Virginia ILB Nick Kwiatkoski
4 (124). Miami (FL) S Deon Bush
4 (127). Northern Iowa CB Deiondre' Hall
5 (150). Indiana RB Jordan Howard
6 (185). William & Mary S DeAndre Houston-Carson
7 (230). Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman

Overview: Bears GM Ryan Pace wanted Floyd badly, sending a fourth-round pick (106) to Tampa Bay to climb just two slots and steal Floyd ahead of the Giants. Pace stayed active on day two, trading down and securing Buffalo's fourth-round pick in 2017. In addition to reeling off consistent value picks, Pace attacked needy areas on his roster and stockpiled quality football players who were productive in college. What Floyd lacks in floor he makes up for in ceiling as a long-armed, versatile edge player with the most explosive get-off in the draft. Whitehair needs to get stronger, but he profiles as a starting guard in a year or two. Bullard was one of the top value picks in the draft and legitimately could start as a rookie. A downhill bruiser at 6-foot, 230, it wouldn't shock me if Howard emerged as the Bears' lead ball carrier at some point this year. In Kwiatkoski, Hall, and Houston-Carson, Chicago added year-one special teams contributors with a chance to become more down the line. After having only six picks in his first draft, I think sophomore GM Pace hit a homerun here. It should also be noted that the 2016 Bears should finally get a fully-healthy Kevin White.

Grade: A-

Detroit Lions

1 (16). Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
2 (46). Alabama DT A'Shawn Robinson
3 (95). Michigan C Graham Glasgow
4 (111). Southern Utah SS Miles Killebrew
5 (151). Washington State OG Joe Dahl
5 (169). Georgia Southern LB Antwione Williams
6 (191). Michigan QB Jake Rudock
6 (202). Penn State DL Anthony Zettel
6 (210). Baylor LS Jimmy Landes
7 (236). Washington RB Dwayne Washington

Overview: This haul also includes second-year DT Gabe Wright, whom ex-GM Martin Mayhew selected in the 2015 fourth round in exchange for parting with Detroit's 2016 third-round pick. (Wright was a bit player as a rookie.) New GM Bob Quinn knocked out a big need with his first-ever pick, bookending Riley Reiff with 2015's Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. Albeit short on pass-rush skills, Robinson gives Detroit an immediate contributor in DC Teryl Austin's defensive line rotation. Glasgow will push ineffective C Travis Swanson to start, while Killebrew is a sneaky bet to earn early-career snaps across from FS Glover Quin. Dahl adds interior depth with OGs Laken Tomlinson and Larry Warford coming off disappointing 2015s. I wasn't a fan of Quinn's final five picks, none of whom profiled as impact NFL players in college. The Lions came out of this draft still weak at cornerback and defensive end, and with unsolved questions at wide receiver, center, strong-side linebacker, and safety.

Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers

1 (27). UCLA DT Kenny Clark
2 (48). Indiana OT Jason Spriggs
3 (88). Utah State OLB Kyler Fackrell
4 (131). Nebraska ILB Blake Martinez
4 (137). Northwestern DE Dean Lowry
5 (163). California WR Trevor Davis
6 (200). Stanford OT Kyle Murphy

Overview: A high-energy nose tackle with a wrestling background, Clark addressed a pressing need following NT B.J. Raji's retirement. Packers GM Ted Thompson coveted Spriggs, sending Indianapolis fourth- (125) and seventh-round picks (248) in exchange for a nine-slot climb in round two, where LT David Bakhtiari's new backup was selected. Fackrell should replace Mike Neal as Green Bay's swiss-army-knife linebacker. Despite it continuing to be Green Bay's biggest need, Thompson has refused to draft an inside linebacker before the fourth round in back-to-back offseasons. With the exception of Clark, this draft was all about depth and supplementing the back end of Thompson's roster, particularly in the trenches. I would have liked the class better had Thompson emerged with a legitimate starter at inside linebacker, which could have ensured Clay Matthews will move back onto the edge.

Grade: B-

Minnesota Vikings

1 (23). Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell
2 (54). Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander
4 (121). Western Michigan T/G Willie Beavers
5 (160). Missouri ILB Kentrell Brothers
6 (180). Germany WR Moritz Boehringer
6 (188). Texas-San Antonio TE David Morgan
6 (227). Vanderbilt DE Stephen Weatherly
7 (244). Clemson S Jayron Kearse

Overview: On top of the above eight players, GM Rick Spielman acquired Miami's 2017 third- and fourth-round picks by trading out of his third-round slot (86). Spielman checked off a huge need with the Treadwell pick, giving Teddy Bridgewater a big-bodied, playmaking possession target to fill the Z role opposite X receiver Stefon Diggs. Although cornerback wasn't necessarily a Vikings need entering the draft, Alexander was a terrific late second-round value and could become Minnesota's slot corner in the next calendar year. The Brothers pick stands out as solid on day three, but Beavers and (especially) Boehringer are developmental players. Morgan was a productive FCS tight end, but ran a 5.02 forty before the draft. Kearse's name is much bigger than his game, frequently shying away from contact. I did like Spielman's flyer on toolsy pass rusher Weatherly late in round six. The Vikings' grade gets a bump after Spielman swindled the Dolphins out of two quality picks next year.

Grade: B

For the rest of the NFC grades, go here. To check out the grades for the AFC, click here.