Only three Illinois starters in college elite

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Only three Illinois starters in college elite

For years, it has been argued from the Quad Cities to Chicago to Peoria to Quincy to Cairo that the quality of high school basketball in Illinois is comparable to any other state in the country.

Remember when Isiah Thomas and Mark Aguirre were rated as the 1-2 players in the nation? When Marcus Liberty was rated as the No. 1 player in the nation? Kevin Garnett? Leon Smith? Darius Miles? Eddy Curry? Derrick Rose? Anthony Davis? And now Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander.

But it isn't translating onto the college stage.

Not this year.

According to Sports Illustrated's list of the top 20 college teams in the nation in 2012-13, only three Illinois products are starters and two others are top reserves.

Five Illinois players in the nation's elite programs.

The starters are Michigan's Matt Vogrich (Lake Forest), Ohio State's Lenzelle Smith Jr. (Zion-Benton) and Notre Dame's Jack Cooley (Glenbrook South).

The reserves are Louisville's Wayne Blackshear (Morgan Park) and Ohio State's Sam Thompson (Whitney Young).

"There is no question that the majority of players in Illinois are over-hyped at a very young age," said Roy and Harv Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye.

"They receive considerable buildup from the hype artists (many of whom reside in the Chicago area) to the point where there is nowhere for them to go but down. This is somewhat reflected in the small number of players who are either starting or receiving significant minutes off the bench for top 20 teams."

However, the Schmidt brothers point out that if the list of top-rated college teams for 2012-13 is expanded, there are several Illinois products who should make an impact. They cite George Marshall (Brooks) and Ben Brust (Mundelein) at Wisconsin and Mike McCall (Foreman) and Dwayne Evans (Bolingbrook) at St. Louis.

"This illustrates that, despite the enormous over-hype, the state of Illinois still has a great talent base and there is plenty to draw from," Roy Schmidt said.

"To take it a step further, there are a slew of players from Illinois who are playing at mid-major Division I programs and will be vital to their team's success. What this shows is that you don't have to attend a high major program to became a great player and that there will always be players who fall through the cracks.

"In our opinion, it is also somewhat indicative of how so many scouts and recruiting analysts spend too much time focusing on the high major level of recruiting. It is not all that difficult to identify the 5-star recruits. But it takes considerably more skill to be able to predict which players are capable of being stars at the mid-major level."

Fire fans swarm O'Hare to greet Bastian Schweinsteiger

Fire fans swarm O'Hare to greet Bastian Schweinsteiger

In the age of social media you can track something like Bastian Schweinsteiger's flight to Chicago in almost real-time.

The Chicago Fire publicized Schweinsteiger's Tuesday arrival in Chicago, giving fans details of when his plane was expected to arrive and at what terminal.

First, Schweinsteiger and his former tennis player wife, Ana Ivanovic, both tweeted photos to their millions of followers about their trip.

Once they arrived, the mob scene at O'Hare was on. Schweinsteiger was greeted by hundreds of fans.

Check out the video above for some footage of Schweinsteiger's arrival.

He will be introduced formally with a press conference on Wednesday at 3 p.m. from the Fire Pitch in Chicago. The press conference will air on CSN+ and be streamed live on CSNChicago.com.

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.