High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

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High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
8:14 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

The best Chicagoland prep basketball action can be seen right here on Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com. This week's edition of High School Lites features many ranked teams in YourSeason.com's Super 25, including a tilt between 3 Benet and 14 Notre Dame. We head out to Woodstock for our Team of the Week: Marian Central Catholic. You might see a familiar face on their bench-- former DePaul player Curtis Price, who is now their head coach. We'll also bring you the story of a standout girls basketball player who is living a 'fantasy' life for the Wheaton North Falcons. Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover Friday night:

York @ (13) Proviso West, 6:00pm

It could be a key early-season West Suburban Silver contest Friday in Hillside. The Dukes are off to another good start at 4-1. Senior guard Will Sullivan scored 23 points in their latest victory-- a 64-54 decision over Hinsdale Central. As for the Panthers, it'll be the first of a back-to-back with mighty East Aurora and Ryan Boatright lurking on Saturday. P-W, behind senior Ryan Woods, dominated Glenbard West last Friday 69-54.

(11) Thornton @ Andrew, 6:30pm

Four starters are back for the Thornton Wildcats this season, including guard Brian Greene. He teamed up with Bernard Brame and Dimitrius Hardwick in a convincing 68-47 win over Von Steuben at Sunday's Public League Shootout. Andrew is the proverbial team that nobody wants to play-- especially in Tinley Park. This vastly-improved team includes the Adekoya brothers: Jabbar, Jawad and Jubril, who can cause fits for the opposition.

Romeoville @ (20) Plainfield North, 7:00pm

The Southwest Prairie conference is there for the taking this season-- and both the Spartans and the 20th ranked Tigers figure to do some damage. Romeoville's defense was tough on the road last Friday, holding Minooka to 30 points. P-N's Jack Krieger is one of the top guards in the conference. Last season, he made 67 or 125 shots from 3-point range (53.6). He scored 39 points against Plainfield South earlier this season.

Ridgewood @ Fenton, 7:00

It's a family affair at west-suburban Ridgewood High School. New head coach Chris Mroz, the oldest of four boys, looks for his kid brother (Petey) to be a big contributor on the team. Guard John Caravia is another player to keep an eye on for the Rebels. The host Bison are paced by senior forward Dan Montano. Both teams figure to chase Riverside-Brookfield in the Metro Suburban this year...winners of nine straight conference titles.

(9) Proviso East @ Addison Trail, 7:30pm

The 9th-ranked Pirates have had plenty of time to think about the 85-63 dismantling by Hales in the St. Charles East Thanksgiving tournament. Now it's time to refocus, as the West Suburban Gold conference schedule awaits. The Pirates figure to be a force in conference, with guard Keith Carter setting the pace. Addison Trail is looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 64-61 overtime loss against Stagg.

Metea Valley @ (15) East Aurora, 7:30pm

This is the first year of varsity-level competition for the Metea Valley Mustangs. Last year, the JV squad was an impressive 23-2. Will it translate to wins on the varsity level? Their competition won't get much tougher than East Aurora. The Tomcats, led by Connecticut-bound superstar guard Ryan Boatright, look to set the tone in the Upstate Valley Eight conference.
Mt. Carmel @ Seton, 7:30pm

Illinois recruit Tracy Abrams took care of business in the Caravan's 88-56 victory over St. Francis de Sales last week-- the opener for their Catholic League East schedule. Abrams and fellow senior guard Malcolm Hill-Bey will face a challenge this Friday at Seton. The Sting feature a stellar player in Rodney Marshall. Both teams figure to challenge Leo for conference supremacy.

St. Francis de Sales @ (21) Leo, 7:30pm

The other side of the Catholic League East conference features the aforementioned Leo Lions, who just got by Seton earlier this season, 65-62. Leo returns nearly all of the players from last year's 25-9 team, and it includes Paul Beene Jr. and Maurice Joyner. A huge showdown with Mt. Carmel lies ahead on December 17th, but Leo cannot afford to overlook the Pioneers.

(14) Notre Dame @ (3) Benet, 7:30pm

The top matchup in Chicagoland Friday night. The visiting Dons are cruising. They have a 7-0 record which is head coach Tom Les best start ever. Rodney Prior has been on autopilot so far this season. He is coming off a 22 point performance against Loyola and has a 34 point game to his credit this year as well. Their defense has been tough, but will it be enough to stop Benet's Big 10 tandem of Dave Sobolewski (Northwestern) and 6-10 center Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)? It'll be quite a battle in the western suburbs Friday night.

GBB: North Lawndale @ (2) Whitney Young, 5:30pm

The Dolphins of Whitney Young try to continue their dominance of the girls basketball landscape in Chicagoland. And for once, they'll actually have a game in Chicago. Young has already played schools in the Memphis area, and they will travel to Detroit over the holidays and then take on competition from Wisconsin and St. Louis once the new year starts. They boast four college prospects: Chanise Trix Jenkins (DePaul), Kiana Johnson (Michigan State), Dija Disu (Texas Southern) and Bryesha Blair (Central Florida).

Check us out this Friday night just after our coverage of the Bulls-Lakers game. High School Lites streams live at CSNChicago.com.

McDonald's All-American Games return to United Center

McDonald's All-American Games return to United Center

The McDonald's All-American Games return to the United Center for the seventh consecutive year on Wednesday night as the nation's elite boys and girls high school basketball players take the floor.

The 40th annual games begin with the girls game at 4 p.m. while the boys game will follow at 6 p.m.

The 2017 McDonald's game won't have a lot of local talent to keep an eye on, besides Chicago native and center Brandon McCoy, but the national Class of 2017 is still a fun group to check out for local basketball fans.

Headlined by top prospects like small forward Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), center DeAndre Ayton (Arizona),  center Wendell Carter (Duke) and point guard Trevon Duval (uncommitted), this year's McDonald's game features a lot of flashy guards, high-flying wings and talented big men.

Over the years, fans at the United Center have been able to see some of the NBA's best young players before they went to college as alums of recent McDonald's games include Anthony Davis, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Karl-Anthony Towns.

You can view the full rosters for the 2017 McDonald's All-American Games here

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

PHOENIX – Where the relationship between Bears GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox goes beyond 2017 remains to play out with their third season together. At this point, however, despite a combined total of nine wins over their first two, the critical bond between coach and general manager appears both clear and solid.
 
Which is no small state of affairs with the growing pressure on both and the organization, pressure that will only intensify if the on-field fortunes of their team does not begin to dramatically reverse. And both know it. Losing doesn't build character, it reveals it, and the same applies to a relationship; if there are cracks, adversity of the kind the Bears have endured the past 32 games will widen and expose them.
 
That relationship has been the subject of speculation virtually since its inception, when Pace hired Fox following the end of his tenure with the Denver Broncos. Much of it centered around who was in fact making the final decisions on personnel and who was the advisor, with some positing that Fox was in fact the final authority if only because age, seniority and experience. The primacy of Pace, however, has become clearer with each decision and traces or shadings of any fractiousness are conspicuously absent.
 
"His people skills are tremendous," Fox said Tuesday during the NFL owners meetings. "His evaluation skills are very good. I think humility is always a great quality in this business. And I've seen that. He's the same guy. He hasn't changed. Sometimes people get [elevated] positions, whatever position that may be and they change. It's just how some people react. And I haven't seen that."
 
Pace, who recently turned 40, is by his own description wanting buy-in on decisions. In the cases of free agency, which have involved the high-dollar commitments designed to have immediate payoff, he has identified pro targets and involved Fox in the decisions.
 
Looking for an immediate hit at linebacker to upgrade the entire defense about this time last year, Pace targeted Denver leading-tackler Danny Trevathan. Fox was his first consult.
 
"Just having drafted [Trevathan] and seeing him develop and get better and his work ethic and his preparation and study habits and how he is as a teammate in the locker room," Pace said of what insight Fox provided. "Those were all things that were taken into consideration."
 
This year, with the max need of improvement, the franchise-grade decision was to make a change at quarterback. Jay Cutler effectively made the decision on himself and he was out. Whether Mike Glennon is or is not an upgrade will play out this year, but Fox was involved in and endorsed the decision to go in a decidedly less-experienced direction.

[RELATED - No signs Bears are locked into drafting a QB in 2017]
 
Pace had attempted in the past to trade for Glennon, which Fox agreed with. Fox had familiarity with Glennon from his time coaching in Carolina.
 
"I was in North Carolina when [Glennon] was playing [at N.C. State], actually," Fox recalled. "I was exposed to two guys there. A good friend of mine was the head coach at NC State. Both Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon were coming through at that period in time, so I got exposed to them, watching games and kinda following them.
 
"And obviously evaluating both of them coming out, they were in different schools then. So I had a high opinion of them then. And then really [Glennon] was talked about a little bit before this year as a potential guy to get, and then this year, being free and without any kind of compensation, we dove in pretty good and feel good about it."
 
Most expectations are that the Bears will not repeat a three-win season, and that an improvement from the first two years keeps both Pace and Fox in their jobs. Key players (Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, Kyle Long, Kevin White) returning from injuries, free-agency upgrades on both sides of the ball and a draft class currently with two picks in the first 36 point to perhaps the kind of turnaround Fox has produced (in years two) at Carolina and Denver.
 
Fox did not dwell on what the roster was or wasn't when he arrived, or on how much of an overhaul Pace needed to do when he took over from Phil Emery and brought in Fox to replace Marc Trestman. But the reality was there.
 
"Going back to a lot of the changes, we've had a lot of change," Fox said. "I think we're better for it. Unfortunately, you can't walk around with your chest out about that because of our record the last two years. But I have total confidence and [Pace] has done an outstanding job and will continue to.
 
"I understand you have to win. And I finally feel like we're in striking distance."