Davis, Leonard, Miller homegrown talent hoping for the NBA call

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Davis, Leonard, Miller homegrown talent hoping for the NBA call

Illinois' annualhotbed of basketball talent is no exception this year, as at least threeplayers from the the state are expected to be drafted in the first round ofThursday's NBA Draft. Here's background on the high school days in Chicago ofsome of the nation's best NBA prospects.

AnthonyDavis, Kentucky: (ProspectivesCharter H.S.; Chicago)

It's rare that aconsensus No. 1 overall pick comes out of nowhere, but three years ago hardlyanyone knew who Anthony Davis was. As a wiry, 6-foot-4 guard who played for anaverage team, Prospectives Charter H.S., in Chicago, Davis did nothave any high major offers from Division I colleges.

But a four-inch growthspurt between his sophomore and junior year got the attention of many, as thenow 6-foot-8 Davis used his point guard skills to take over games. Animpressive spring and summer on the AAU circuit with Meanstreets after hisjunior season, including an invitation to the NBPA Top 100 Camp, really putDavis on the scene.

He was named the No. 1player in the country for his class by Scout.com and ESPN.com, and Rivals.comlisted him as the No. 2 player in the class behind Austin Rivers. His seniorseason, as now a 6-foot-10 power forward, he averaged 32 points, 22 reboundsand 7 blocks per game. Last year's National Player of the Year chose Kentuckyover Syracuse, Ohio State and DePaul, and will almost certainly be the top pickcalled by David Stern on Thursday night after leading the Wildcats to anational championship.

Meyers Leonard,Illinois (Robinson H.S.;Robinson)

Like Davis, Leonardentered high school as a guard, but grew six inches between his freshman andsophomore years. That agility from his days as a guard made him one of the moreathletic big men in the country, as he grew to 7-feet by his senior year.

Again like Davis,Leonard burst onto the scene after his junior season and a successful springand summer with the Mac Irvin Fire AAU team.

The only player onthis list to lead his high school team to a State Championship, Leonardaveraged 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game as a senior. Leonardwas a consensus first team All-State selection by the Associated Press, andchose Illinois over Florida and Purdue.

Quincy Miller, Baylor (Westchester County Day in N.C.;Chicago)

Miller was born andraised in Chicago, but at 13 years old he moved in with his uncle in NorthCarolina in hopes of a safer life. But we'll still give him the benefit ofbeing a Chicago kid, as he was prepared to attend North Chicago High Schoolbefore leaving.

Miller played hisfreshman season for Fairmont High School, but transferred a year later toQuality Education Academy. It was there that he grew eight inches and burstonto the scene after a successful AAU season with D-One Sports. After thesummer evaluation period, Miller was ranked as a consensus top-5 recruit forthe 2011 class.

His junior season heaveraged 25.5 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Quality Education,before transferring once more to Westchester. Early in his senior year, he torehis ACL and was forced to miss the rest of the season. By then, however, Millerhad already received an offer from and committed to Baylor. He chose the Bearsover Duke, Louisville, Ohio State, and a list of other high major programs.

John Shurna,Northwestern (Glenbard WestH.S.; Glen Ellyn)

Of the four potentialNBA Draft selections from the state of Illinois, Shurna was easily the mostoverlooked as a high school prospect. Just a three-start prospect out ofGlenbard West, Shurna was named to the All-State second team as a senior. The6-foot-9 shooter averaged 22.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per gamehis senior year, all of which were school records.

He's also down in theHilltoppers' record book as leading the school to its first Class AA sectionalchampionship title since 1938 his junior year. In that win over East Aurora,Shurna poured in 31 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots.

He chose Northwesternover Washington State, Loyola, Green Bay, Davidson and Penn, and he ended hiscareer as the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer (2,038 points), shot blocker(136) and in games played (136).

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Matt Szczur or Tommy La Stella on the Cubs Opening Day roster?

How about both?

Theo Epstein said Wednesday morning the Cubs plan to keep both Szczur and La Stella on the Opening Day 25-man roster with relief pitcher Brian Duensing headed to the disabled list.

Duensing, 34, has been hampered by a back issue this spring.

Szczur is out of minor-league options, meaning the Cubs would have had to either keep him on the 25-man roster or place him on waivers, which would almost assuredly mean they'd lose him to another team.

La Stella has options left and already told manager Joe Maddon this spring he would head down to the minors if asked (something La Stella was unwilling to do in August last year when he refused assignment).

The move makes the most sense for the Cubs, as the need for eight relief pitchers is not as imperative in April when the team has five off-days in the first month of the season.

Of course, the Cubs still have four days left of exhibition action, but assuming nothing else changes, here's how the Cubs roster will look Opening Night in St. Louis Sunday:

Catchers

Willson Contreras
Miguel Montero

Infielders

Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist
Javy Baez
Addison Russell
Kris Bryant
Tommy La Stella

Outfielders

Jason Heyward
Albert Almora
Jon Jay
Kyle Schwarber
Matt Szczur

Starting pitchers

Jon Lester
Jake Arrieta
John Lackey
Brett Anderson
Kyle Hendricks

Relief pitchers

Mike Montgomery
Justin Grimm
Carl Edwards Jr.
Pedro Strop
Hector Rondon
Koji Uehara
Wade Davis

The Cubs figure to eventually make room for Duensing on the roster as the bullpen could use another left-handed pitcher, but those decisions often take care of themselves with either health problems or trade options, etc.

Remember, there is a 10-day disabled list this year in the MLB, so placing a guy on the DL doesn't guarantee losing him for more than two weeks anymore.

Live stream: Fire introduce Bastian Schweinsteiger on CSN+ at 3 p.m.

Live stream: Fire introduce Bastian Schweinsteiger on CSN+ at 3 p.m.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is officially a member of the Chicago Fire after he passed his medical and finalized the required paperwork for his transfer from Manchester United.

The newest member of the Fire will be introduced formally on Wednesday afternoon. 

[RELATED: Fire fans swarm O'Hare to greet Bastian Schweinsteiger]

Schweinsteiger's introductory press conference from the Fire Pitch will air on CSN+ and stream live on CSNChicago.com at 3 p.m.

CSNChicago.com will have complete reaction, video and analysis following Schweinsteiger's press conference on Wednesday.