Carl White juggles grades, rebounds for Foreman

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Carl White juggles grades, rebounds for Foreman

In the past, Foreman's basketball team had the last names of the varsity players stitched to the back of their uniforms and warm-ups. Not this year. Coach Terry Head is taking a different approach."We're all about team this year, no super stars, just old-fashioned basketball. Nobody is better than anyone else," Head said. "I made the decision last year, to remove the names from the backs of the uniforms. Last year's team was too selfish. They were worried about themselves too much."Now I just want the kids to talk about Foreman basketball, what we do, no individuals. One kid asked me why I did it and I explained it to him and he understood. I haven't had any other complaints. Everybody is together, at study hall, morning practice, afternoon practice, eating together, Christmas party, one program, just Foreman basketball."Head, 40, in his 13th year has head coach, admits he never has been happier. "I like it better this year. It is less stressful when you don't have a lot of egos on the team. It's more fun to coach kids who want to play basketball for the right reasons. I'm having more fun with this team than ever before," he said.Foreman was 8-1 after splitting its first two games in the 78th Normandy holiday tournament in St. Louis. It isn't his most talented team, he admits, but it is comparable to the 2005 and 2010 powerhouses and it is more fun because "the kids want to work hard all the time and are willing to do whatever it takes to win."At Normandy, Foreman opened with a 56-32 rout of host Normandy, then
lostto Memphis (Tennessee) Melrose 54-46.Nobody exemplifies the coach's philosophy more than Carl White, a 6-foot-6 junior who works as hard in the classroom as he does on the court. White has a 4.2 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, scored 22 on his ACT and has attracted interest from Loyola, Indiana and Yale. He averages seven points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game.Last year, White put together an impressive resume. He was the leading scorer on the sophomore team and qualified to go Downstate to compete in the state's three-point shooting contest."But I knew it wasn't enough to be a starter on the varsity and that's what I wanted to do this year," he said. "I played AAU over the summer and I went to the coach's house twice a week to work out with him. I wanted to be good. I knew I could contribute to the team this year."White also grew four inches over the summer. He improved as a rebounder and a defender. He describes his primary role as the "defensive leader and backbone of the defense." But he said Head "is always on my back. He says I'm not selfish enough. Sometimes he looks to me to score more."But the most fun White has on the floor is blocking shots. "I like intimidating them, knowing the other team isn't going to the hole," he said.He is motivated by his desire to combine basketball with a good education in college. His mother always pushed him to get good grades since he was little and Head has stressed academics at Foreman."At first, when I was a freshman, it was tough to keep my mind on my books," White said. "But once you start doing well in school, you want to keep doing well and go to the next level. Other kids ask: 'Why do you study so much?' I think about where they are going to be in four years and where I will be if I do what I'm supposed to do."White wants to major in sports broadcast journalism. He is a big Stacey King fan and loves to mimic many of the former Chicago Bulls player turned Bulls television color commentator's trademark sayings."I want to play basketball and get the best education I can in college," he said. "It motivates me to be better, to keep working harder."I have to cut some parties and make more study time after practice. It's go to class, go to practice, eat, study, sleep. I have some time in the day at school during lunchtime to socialize. But I know that studies and basketball will determine my future. People will always be there. This is the time to get serious about studies and basketball."Meanwhile, White is close to his teammates. They hang out together. And all of them were looking forward to the four-day trip to St. Louis as an opportunity to bond and get closer together and compete against teams that they never have seen before.The other starters are 6-foot-2 senior Rickey White (no relation to Carl), who averages 14 points per game, 6-foot senior Terrance Overton, 5-foot-11 senior point guard Charles Thornton and 5-foot-9 senior Eric Patton. The first two players off the bench are 6-foot senior Clarence Boyce and 6-foot-3 junior Karon Linton."The challenge of coaching basketball is taking kids who are not that good and making them better, taking kids who normally wouldn't play basketball and get them involved," Head said. "This is the hardest playing team I've coached but it isn't the best. This group plays with a chip on their shoulders. They know they have to pay hard and together in order to be successful."Head said his best team was the 2005 squad led by Donald Brown and the 2010 team led by Mike McCall that lost to Whitney Young in the Class 4A sectional final. McCall currently is playing at Saint Louis University. Last year's team was 19-7 and lost to New Trier in the regional."This isn't the most talented team I've had. But it listens," Head said. "They are fun to coach because they want to work hard. They understand they don't have talent alone. They don't have a 6-foot-8 kid. So they are willing to do whatever it takes to win."

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

On his 24th birthday, Tim Anderson’s present from home plate umpire Jim Wolf was his first major-league ejection.

In the fifth inning of the White Sox 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, Anderson fouled off a pitch that landed in the opposing batter’s box. But A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell picked it up in what was ruled to be fair territory and threw the ball to first for the out.

Anderson pleaded his case saying the ball went foul. Wolf agreed, according to Anderson, which only further confused the White Sox shortstop.

“I told him that was BS,” Anderson said. “And he tossed me.”

Anderson said that he was surprised to be ejected so fast. So was manager Rick Renteria, who was thrown out moments after Anderson.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Renteria said. “The players having emotion, they are battling. I just think we need to grow a little thicker skin.”

Anderson said that he was appreciative of his manager coming to his defense.

“He kinda had a point and let me know he had my back,” Anderson said of Renteria. “Speaks a lot of him.”

A day after scoring nine runs on 18 hits, the White Sox failed to generate any offense on Friday. The team’s best chance came in the ninth inning.

But with runners at the corners and two outs, Matt Davidson put a good rip on the ball to center field, only to fly out at the warning track.

Anderson and Renteria were watching the game together in the clubhouse, and both believed the White Sox had tied the ballgame.

“We all jumped up and were excited but it kind of fell short,” Anderson said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

On the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien goes 1-on-1 with the star of the weekend, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle tells an absolutely amazing bachelor party story and discloses why he wore No. 56.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the White Sox Talk Podcast here