Farragut and Nelson hope for a Final Four appearance

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Farragut and Nelson hope for a Final Four appearance

It was sometime early in the school year when a fellow teacher approached an unsuspecting William "Wolf" Nelson in the hallway at Farragut and said: "Wolf, you're 3A now."

Nelson couldn't have been more surprised--and overjoyed--if he had just learned that Kevin Garnett and Ronnie Fields had been granted another year of eligibility.

"I was totally in the dark," he said. "I had to check it out. He was right. I was shocked. We've always been a big (4A) school before. But now we are 14 students short of being Class 4A.

"I called all the coaches and players and said: 'We've been to the Elite Eight three times before. If everything falls into place, we may have a chance to get to the Final Four again.' I look at the teams in Class 3A and feel we have a good chance to win state."

Translated, that means Simeon is in Class 4A. So are Proviso East, Curie, Warren, Andrew, Plainfield East, Bogan, New Trier and most of the highly rated schools in the state this side of Peoria Manual, Peoria Central and Springfield Lanphier.

In 1995, Farragut was the pre-tournament favorite with Garnett, Fields and Michael Wright. But the Admirals lost to Thornton in the state quarterfinals and finished 28-2.

In 2004, Farragut finished 29-4 behind Ollie Bailey, again losing in the state quarterfinals.

Last year, D.J. Tolliver led the Admirals to a 24-5 record. But they lost to eventual state champion Simeon in the state quarterfinals.

Despite returning only one starter, Nelson believes this year's squad "can be as good or better than last year's team." In fact, he was so optimistic that he deliberately arranged for the most competitive schedule of his 21-year career to prepare his inexperienced players for the Public League Red-West and state tournament grind.

The Admirals are 12-7 but have won seven in a row after beating highly rated Seton 50-45 on Sunday at North Park. Going into the city playoff, Nelson is confident that his team has what it takes to seriously contend for the Class 3A title. Nobody can say they aren't battle-tested.

"I'm having a ball with my team this year, more fun than ever. When you do the unexpected, it makes it fun," Nelson said. "There have been a lot of teachable moments. I set up a tough schedule, the toughest I could. I decided these guys need to learn and understand what it takes to play at a high level of basketball.

"With only one starter back, no one expected much from this team. I didn't want to wait around. I wanted to step up the learning curve, let them learn lessons sooner than later. I didn't want to beat weak teams. I wanted them to play against the best right away, to know where they are right way. My plan is working."

Farragut's schedule reads like a "who's who" of the elite programs in the Chicago area--and even Indiana. It includes Simeon, De La Salle, St. Ignatius, Hillcrest, Harlan, Seton, La Lumiere, Bowman Prep and Red-West rivals Crane, Marshall, Orr and Whitney Young. What? He couldn't schedule Kentucky or the Chicago Bulls?

"This team has a lot of potential," Nelson said. "I had a good feel about this team early on. We lost to Simeon by seven. And we have lost to other big-time teams but not by much. This team can be as good as last year's team."

The strength of this team? The Admirals have one outstanding player in 6-foot-7 senior Rashaun Stimage, a lockdown inside defender in 6-foot-5 David Scott and the best three-point shooter that Nelson has ever coached in 5-foot-9 senior point guard Lavell Boyd.

"We also have quickness, toughness and senior leadership. All the pieces are together," the coach said.

Stimage, who averages 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks per game and recently recorded a triple-double in a game against Hillcrest, is described by Nelson as "the best senior in the state," better than Simeon's more celebrated Steve Taylor.

"He is more versatile than Taylor. He doesn't get as much recognition as he deserves. He is one of the best players I have coached," said Nelson, who ranks Stimage behind Garnett, Fields, Wright, Bailey and Tolliver on his All-Nelson team.

Scott (7 ppg, 13 rpg) defends the opponent's toughest big man. Boyd (14 ppg, 3 assists), who scored 27 points in a recent victory over Raby, is a superb three-point marksman.

"In posting a triple double (16 points, 12 rebounds, 13 blocks) against Hillcrest, Stimage once again proved why he is one of the top two unsigned prospects (along with Downers Grove South's Jerron Wilbut) in the class of 2012 in Illinois," said recruiting analysts Roy and Harv Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye.

"Not overlooking Stimage's performance, another player who is just as integral a part of what Farragut does is Lavell Boyd, who is your typical tough-minded floor leader from Chicago's West Side. Boyd plays his tail off from start to finish and is quite disruptive defensively. He doesn't do anything in spectacular fashion but he has shown that he can run an offense and score points in transition."

But Nelson wants to see more defense from his guards. "The guards aren't as tough on defense this year as last year. They have trouble shutting down the other team's best guards. We can shut down the bigs. But our guards have to step up for us to make this run," he said.

Other starters are 6-foot-5 senior Deonta Terrell (13 ppg), the great nephew of former world heavyweight boxing champion Ernie Terrell, and 5-foot-10 senior John Carter (8 ppg, 4 assists).

The bench is headed by 6-foot-3 sophomore Ashawn Jones (5 ppg), 6-foot-6 sophomore Sire Carroll (5 ppg), 5-foot-10 freshman Ernest Johnson (3 ppg) and 5-foot-9 freshman Joshua Adams (3 ppg).

Against Seton, Stimage had 19 points, six rebounds and six blocks, Boyd scored 12 points and Scott had nine points and 21 rebounds.

"We have to sacrifice in order to win," Nelson said. "The test for them is not to play for individual glory but they have to play for the team. Statistics don't mean anything at this point. They can't be selfish. If I see them playing together and doing what I tell them, we'll be successful."

CSN announces Cubs 2017 season coverage details

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CSN announces Cubs 2017 season coverage details

81 Game Regular Season Schedule begins April 4, 7:00 PM at St. Louis on CSN+ featuring Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies with the call all season long!

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER -- Live streaming coverage of EVERY Cubs telecast – including all Pre/Postgame Shows – to be made available to authenticated subscribers on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app

CSNChicago.com to feature 24/7 reporting from Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney; website to also feature live video of Postgame Press Conferences, weekly Cubs podcasts featuring CSN Cubs on-air/digital talent, Daily Player/Coaches Interviews, plus In-Game Twitter updates from CSN talent and much more!

“Cubs Season Preview” special, featuring a complete analysis of this year’s roster and the roster of the future, to air TONIGHT at 10:30 PM CT!

Chicago, IL (March 28, 2017) – CSN Chicago (CSN) -- the home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs - featuring National League MVP Kris Bryant (.292 avg, 39 HRs, 102 RBI, NL-best 121 runs scored), three-time All-Star/Gold Glove winner Anthony Rizzo (.292 avg, 32 HRs, 109 RBI), All-Star Addison Russell (21 HRs, 95 RBI), three-time All-Star/World Series MVP Ben Zobrist (18 HRs, 76 RBI), World Series standout Kyle Schwarber (.412 avg in postseason), National League "Cy Young" second/third place finishers Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA w/197 K’) & Kyle Hendricks (16-8, MLB-best 2.13 ERA w/170 K's), 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA w/190 K's in '16), plus -- returning stars Javy Baez, Jason Heyward, Wilson Contreras, Miguel Montero, Albert Almora Jr., newcomers in outfielder John Jay, closer Wade Davis…and manager Joe Maddon (200 regular season wins in his first two seasons on the northside) among others - has announced its 2017 Cubs game telecast & surrounding coverage details, along with numerous digital coverage specifics on CSNChicago.com.  CSN's season-long coverage of the 2017 Chicago Cubs is presented by State Farm.

The 2017 Cubs season on CSN includes 81 live regular season games with the first telecast taking place on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:00 PM CT on CSN+, as the Cubs travel to face the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals, which will feature the popular Cubs announcing tandem of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies with the game call.  (NOTE: Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com's CHANNEL FINDER page for the exact CSN+ channel location in their area).  Coverage gets underway on Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group beginning at 6:30 PM with host David Kaplan and new CSN Cubs studio analyst David DeJesus, along with CSN's Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull and CSNChicago.com Cubs "Insider" Patrick Mooney providing live reports from St. Louis. The game will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois. NOTE: Crull will also be in St. Louis for the team's season opener on Sunday, April 2 and will provide post-game reports to air on In the Loop Prime at 10:00 & 10:30 PM. 

CSN's first home Cubs telecast of the 2017 campaign will take place on Thursday, April 13, as the Cubs host their 2016 NLCS opponent - the Los Angeles Dodgers - live from Wrigley Field (pre-game coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group at 12:30 PM; first pitch is set for 1:20 PM). 

In addition -- beginning THIS season -- EVERY Cubs telecast on CSN, including surrounding Cubs Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will be accessible live via CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated CSN Chicago subscribers.  The live stream of CSN's Cubs telecasts is also presented by State Farm.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of White Sox games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  

Among the 2017 Cubs regular season schedule highlights on CSN -- featuring 45 weeknight primetime starts -- include 37 NL Central battles highlighted by games against the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals (eight games), 2015 season NL Wildcard Game opponent Pittsburgh Pirates (eight games), I-90 rival Milwaukee Brewers (11 games), along with the Cincinnati Reds (ten games).  In addition, viewers can look forward to the ONLY locally-televised game when the New York Yankees visit Wrigley Field for an interleague battle on May 5, plus – CSN will also carry the Cubs in another interleague clash when they visit the defending AL East champion Boston Red Sox on April 28.  Other key match-ups of note include a pair of games against the LA Dodgers (Apr. 13 & May 28), and four games against the NL East champion Washington Nationals, among many others.  ALSO -- CSN will carry all four Cubs-White Sox "Crosstown Cup" interleague games this year.  (NOTE: the July 25 & 27 "Crosstown” games will be “Cubs” telecasts on CSN, while the July 24 & 26 games will be "White Sox" telecasts).

For the fifth-straight season, Cubs play-by-play man Len Kasper and former MLB pitcher/veteran game analyst Jim Deshaies join forces for every Cubs telecast on CSN.  Plus, new this season - CSN's David Kaplan will be joined by former Cubs/MLB standout David DeJesus before and after the majority of CSN Cubs telecasts on Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group and Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois.

SPECIAL PROGRAMMING NOTE: CSN will also air an In the Loop Prime: Cubs Season Preview special (presented by GMC) TONIGHT (Tuesday, March 28) at 10:30 PM CT.  Hosted by David Kaplan and featuring special guests, the Cubs Season Preview special will provide a complete breakdown of all of the off-season transactions, a deep look at this year's roster, along with numerous players and coaches interviews, and a detailed discussion on the key factors needed for a World Series repeat.  This special will also air on Friday, Mar. 31 at 4:00 PM and Sun, April 2 at 4:00 PM.

In addition to its live stream of every Cubs regular season telecast, CSNChicago.com also delivers comprehensive 24/7 Cubs coverage all season long, including the following highlights: 

  • Live stream of Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conferences (sponsored by Xfinity) following every home game.
  • Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney returns for his eighth season on the beatFollow him on Twitter @CSNMooney for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Mooney will also file daily stories/video reports and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group, SportsTalk Live, In the Loop and in select CSN Cubs home games.  All Patrick Mooney content on CSNChicago.com is sponsored by Jeff Vukovich & Nationwide.
  • David Kaplan will once again offer on-going reports and insight throughout the 2017 Cubs/MLB season.  Kaplan can also be followed on Twitter @thekapman, for up-to-the-second Cubs news.  In addition, fans are urged to follow CSN Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) and new CSN Cubs studio analyst David DeJesus (@David_DeJesus3) for additional Cubs news, interviews, and insight all season long.
  • CSNChicago.com digital baseball reporters Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) and JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) will also be providing Cubs game day reports, analysis and features throughout the season.
  • "Cubs Talk PODCAST" – Featuring Cubs Pre/Postgame Live host David Kaplan, CSN Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull, CSNChicago.com Cubs "Insider" Patrick Mooney, Cubs digital reporter Tony Andracki, and an array of special guests, CSN’s "Cubs Talk" podcast features in-depth Cubs discussion on the hottest topics and breaking news all season long. Fans can download all of CSN’s podcasts at CSNChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • CubsTalk (CSNChicago.com/cubs) - CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Cubs news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and aggregation. CubsTalk contains interactive content with continually updated insights from the network's talent, which includes the new #CubsTalk podcast.
  • @CSNCubs on Twitter provides 24/7 full team coverage, giveaways, fan photos and game day news straight from Wrigley Field and across the country.
    Push Alerts: CSN Chicago will deliver Cubs push notifications for breaking team and player news, "Insider" reports, plus game reminder alerts via CSN Chicago’s SportsTalk app for iOS and Android devices.
  • Cubs coverage on CSNChicago.com/cubs is presented by Wintrust
  • CSN Chicago’s Cubs content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, and Xfinity.com.

For the tenth-straight season, CSN will produce every Cubs regular season home and road game in a high-definition (HD) format.   In addition, nine Cubs games are currently scheduled to be telecast on CSN Plus (see attached schedule).  CSN Plus (CSN+) telecasts are provided to CSN affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously.  CSN+ is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, RCN, and WOW! homes among others; viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER for complete channel location details). Comcast Cable and RCN subscribers can also watch all CSN+ games in standard definition on CLTV. 

Before a number of Cubs games on CSN (including all weekend telecasts), fans can tune to Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group featuring a half-hour of pre-game analysis, interviews and the very latest Cubs news (NOTE: for weeknight 7:00 PM game start times or earlier, pre-game coverage can be found on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado featuring host David Kaplan or on In the Loop presented by Comcast Business).  Following the majority of all games, viewers can look forward to the most comprehensive post-game wrap-up show on Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois featuring live coverage of Cubs manager Joe Maddon's post-game press conferences and live locker room interviews with Cubs players.  Following primetime editions of Cubs Postgame Live, CSN will air In the Loop Prime presented by GMC at 10:00 PM and/or In the Loop Prime presented by State Farm at 10:30 PM for a complete recap of the day’s top local and national sports news, along with the most popular topics, videos, posts and more in the social media universe. 

CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app

2017 Chicago Cubs Schedule

Regular Season: (every game available in HD)

  1. Tue, Apr 4                7:00 pm              @ St. Louis                                  CSN+
  2. Fri, April 7                 7:00 pm              @ Milwaukee
  3. Sat, Apr 8                 6:00 pm              @ Milwaukee                               CSN+
  4. Thu, Apr 13              1:20 pm              vs Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Sat, Apr 15               1:20 pm              vs Pittsburgh
  6. Mon, Apr 17             7:00 pm              vs Milwaukee
  7. Wed, Apr 19             1:20 pm              vs Milwaukee
  8. Sun, Apr 23              12:00 pm            @ Cincinnati
  9. Wed, Apr 26             6:00 pm              @ Pittsburgh
  10. Fri, Apr 28                6:00 pm              @ Boston
  11. Mon, May 1              7:00 pm              vs Philadelphia                            CSN+
  12. Tue, May 2               7:00 pm              vs Philadelphia
  13. Wed, May 3              7:00 pm              vs Philadelphia
  14. Fri, May 5                 1:20 pm              vs New York Yankees
  15. Mon, May 8              7:30 pm              @ Colorado
  16. Wed, May 10            2:00 pm              @ Colorado
  17. Fri, May 12               7:00 pm              @ St. Louis
  18. Tue, May 16             7:00 pm              vs Cincinnati
  19. Thu, May 18             1:20 pm              vs Cincinnati
  20. Fri, May 19               1:20 pm              vs Milwaukee
  21. Sat, May 20              1:20 pm              vs Milwaukee
  22. Tue, May 23             6:00 pm              vs San Francisco                        
  23. Wed, May 24            7:00 pm              vs San Francisco
  24. Sun, May 28             3:00 pm              @ Los Angeles Dodgers
  25. Tue, May 30             9:00 pm              @ San Diego                               CSN+
  26. Fri, June 2                1:20 pm              vs St. Louis
  27. Mon, June 5             7:00 pm              vs Miami
  28. Tue, June 6              7:00 pm              vs Miami
  29. Thu, June 8              7:00 pm              vs Colorado                                 CSN+
  30. Fri, June 9                1:20 pm              vs Colorado
  31. Mon, June 12           6:00 pm              @ New York Mets
  32. Wed, June 14           6:00 pm              @ New York Mets
  33. Sun, June 18            12:30 pm            @ Pittsburgh
  34. Mon, June 19           7:00 pm              vs San Diego
  35. Tue, June 20            7:00 pm              vs San Diego
  36. Thu, June 22            6:00 pm              @ Miami
  37. Sun, June 25            12:00 pm            @ Miami
  38. Mon, June 26           6:00 pm              @ Washington
  39. Wed, June 28           6:00 pm              @ Washington
  40. Thu, June 29            3:00 pm              @ Washington
  41. Sat, July 1                3:00 pm              @ Cincinnati
  42. Wed, July 5              1:20 pm              vs Tampa Bay
  43. Fri, July 7                 1:20 pm              vs Pittsburgh
  44. Fri, July 14               6:00 pm              @ Baltimore
  45. Tue, July 18             6:30 pm              @ Atlanta
  46. Wed, July 19            11:00 am            @ Atlanta
  47. Sat, July 22              3:00 pm              vs St. Louis                                 
  48. Tue, July 25             1:20 pm              vs WHITE SOX
  49. Thu, July 27             7:00 pm              @ WHITE SOX
  50. Fri, July 28               7:00 pm              @ Milwaukee                               CSN+
  51. Sun, July 30             1:00 pm              @ Milwaukee
  52. Tue, Aug 1               7:00 pm              vs Arizona
  53. Thu, Aug 3               1:20 pm              vs Arizona
  54. Sun, Aug 6               1:20 pm              vs Washington
  55. Tue, Aug 8               9:00 pm              @ San Francisco
  56. Wed, Aug 9              2:30 pm              @ San Francisco
  57. Fri, Aug 11               8:30 pm              @ Arizona
  58. Tue, Aug 15             7:00 pm              vs Cincinnati
  59. Thu, Aug 17             1:20 pm              vs Cincinnati
  60. Fri, Aug 18               1:20 pm              vs Toronto
  61. Wed, Aug 23            6:00 pm              @ Cincinnati
  62. Thu, Aug 24             6:00 pm              @ Cincinnati
  63. Sun, Aug 27             12:30 pm            @ Philadelphia
  64. Tue, Aug 29             7:00 pm              vs Pittsburgh                                CSN+
  65. Wed, Aug 30            7:00 pm              vs Pittsburgh                               
  66. Thu, Aug 31             7:00 pm              vs Atlanta
  67. Sat, Sept 2               1:20 pm              vs Atlanta
  68. Sun, Sept 3              1:20 pm              vs Atlanta
  69. Tue, Sept 5              6:00 pm              @ Pittsburgh
  70. Thu, Sept 7              6:00 pm              @ Pittsburgh
  71. Sat, Sept 9               3:00 pm              vs Milwaukee
  72. Tue, Sept 12            7:00 pm              vs New York Mets
  73. Sun, Sept 17            1:20 pm              vs St. Louis
  74. Tue, Sept 19            6:00 pm              @ Tampa Bay
  75. Thu, Sept 21            7:00 pm              @ Milwaukee                               CSN+
  76. Sat, Sept 23             6:00 pm              @ Milwaukee
  77. Mon, Sept 25            7:00 pm              @ St. Louis
  78. Tue, Sept 26            7:00 pm              @ St. Louis                                  CSN+
  79. Wed, Sept 27           7:00 pm              @ St. Louis
  80. Fri, Sept 29              1:20 pm              vs Cincinnati
  81. Sat, Sept 30             3:00 pm              vs Cincinnati

81 Regular Season Games – 41 home, 40 away

Schedule Subject to Change

All Times Central Time

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Stanford DL/LB Solomon Thomas

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Stanford DL/LB Solomon Thomas

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Solomon Thomas, DL/LB, Stanford

6'3" | 273 lbs.

2016 stats:

61 tackles, 14 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 2 FR, FF

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Explosive defender who combines strength, quickness, and a muscle-car motor to drive him around the field making play after play. Has the hands and feet to be a quick-win specialist and the size to fit as a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive end who can reduce inside for pass-rush downs. He has all the athletic traits to become a high-impact player and possesses more than enough skill and talent to believe he will continue to elevate his game as a pro. Thomas has the potential to become the best defender from this draft class and a future all-pro." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles