Bertrands big night garners national attention

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Bertrands big night garners national attention

For a brief moment in time, Joseph Bertrand the quiet, 6' 6' guard from Sterling, Illinois had the nation in awe.

For a brief moment on Wednesday night, Joseph Bertrand was trending nationally on Twitter.

Bertrand exploded midway through the second half of Illinois clash with Georgia Tech in the ACCBig Ten Challenge. He created a 10-0 run on his own that vaulted Illinois to the lead and an eventual, 75-62 win.

After the game, Bertrand did not emote much and stayed quiet during the press conference. Though he stepped up for his team on Wednesday night, he let those around him step up and brag.

Joe always competes, Illinois coach John Groce said. Until you get to know him he comes off as a quiet guy, but he has big time energy. I very rarely watch practice or game film and say Bertrands not competing. Tonight he competed.

Joes work ethic speaks for itself. He comes to the gym everyday and plays hard, senior Brandon Paul said. He wanted to extend his game in the offseason and hes done that with help from coaches.

The redshirt junior really extended his play against Georgia Tech. He tied for the team lead in scoring with 15 and added three rebounds, an assist and a steal for Illinois.

His most spectacular moment came at the tail end of his 10-0 run, when he hit an off-balance shot while being fouled. Paul said the shot is a common practice occurrence for Bertrand, but he was glad to see it happen on a national stage.

That loop-de-loop, ridiculous play youll probably see on Sportscenter, he said.

So far this season Bertrand has been one of the first off the bench, but has yet to start. In the Illinis last few games, he has elevated his status to something like a super sub.

Against Chaminade, in the Maui Invitational semifinal, Bertrand scored 14 and grabbed six rebounds. He matched that rebounding total last Sunday, against Gardner-Webb, and put up another 13 points to help his team win a squeaker.

Bertrand credits his improvement to offseason conditioning under the new coaches. Specifically, the 11,000 free throws Groce & Co. asked players to make during summer workouts.

That really helped my shooting and skill developmentreally helped my confidence, Bertrand said. Im looking to shoot a lot more threes this year. I was driving a lot last year and Im doing both this year.

The change has been obvious, and Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory added his praise for the juniors improvement.

Obviously hes spent a lot of time working on his perimeter shooting, he said. You can see the package he brings to the table, thats really starting to develop.

Whether Bertrand remains Illinois super sub or begins to get some starting minutes, Groce is overjoyed to have him as a part of a group of upperclassmen that has been outstanding in the early stages of the season.

Im the luckiest guy in the world because Ive got older guys who care about the game, care about the team, the Illini coach said.

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Joe Maddon's T-shirt slogans can get a little old at times, but the Cubs manager found a new audience in Brett Anderson, who liked the idea of "Be Uncomfortable" after signing a one-year, prove-it deal with the defending champs.

"It's been awesome so far," Anderson said. "That's my running joke – we're a month into it now or whatever it is – and I don't hate anybody yet.

"That's a testament to the group as a whole – and maybe me evolving as a person."

Yes, Anderson's sarcasm, social-media presence and groundball style fits in with a team built around short-term pitching and Gold Glove defense. The if-healthy lefty finished his Cactus League tour on Saturday afternoon by throwing four innings (one unearned run) during a 7-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of 13,565 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Anderson will open the season as the No. 4 starter after a camp that has been remarkably low-key and drama-free.

"I'm kind of cynical by nature, but it's a fun group to be a part of," Anderson said, "(with) young guys that are exciting and happy to be here. And then obviously the mix of veterans, too, that are here with intentions of winning another World Series."

To make that happen, the pitching staff will have to again stay unbelievably healthy. Anderson rolled with a general question about how he physically feels now compared to where he's usually at by this time of year.

"Obviously better than last year, because I was walking with a gimp and all that stuff," said Anderson, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a bulging disk in his lower back last March. "No, my body feels good, my arm feels good and you're getting into the dog days of spring training where you're itching to get to the real thing."

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox.