Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn and Jahlil Okafor were among the 14 finalists named to the 2012 USA men's U17 World Championship Team Sunday.The list was cut down from 28 players, and will be cut down againto a finalized12-man rosterearly next week.The players have trained and worked out all week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and willbe thereJune 17through June 20 for training camp.Parker, the No. 1 recruit in the 2013 class, was the MVP of the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship a year ago with the U16 team. That team went a perfect 5-0 in the tournament, defeating Argentina 104-64 in the championship game.Parker finished the tournament with averages of 15.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He scored 27 points against Brazil in the preliminary round, a USA U16 record.Parker also gave an update on his highly anticipated recruitment. He told SNY's Adam Zagoria he will make a decision on which college to attend in November, prior to his senior season at Simeon.He has a current list of 14 schools: BYU, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State and Washington.Parker told Zagoria he hopes to narrow his list down to "about eight" sometime over the summer before making his decision.Nunn, Parker's teammate at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, was also a member of the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 championship team. The 6-foot-2 lefty averaged 9.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in five games.Okafor, a 2014 recruit out of Whitney Young High School in Chicago, averaged 14.6 points and 9.2 rebounds in five games for the U16 team last year. He shot better than 71 percent from the field and better than 82 percent from the free throw line.The Chicagoans are three of eight finalists who also played on the undefeated U16 team.Conner Frankamp (Wichita North H.S. Wichita, Kan.), Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S. Apple Valley, Minn.), Beejay Anya (DeMatha Catholic H.S. Gaithersburg, Md.), Dominique Collier (Denver East H.S. Denver, Colo.) and Johnathan Williams (Southwind H.S. Memphis, Tenn.) were named finalists who also played on last year's U16 team.Joel Berry (Lake Highland Prep School Apopka, Fla.), Stephen Domingo (Saint Ignatius Prep San Francisco, Calif.), Rondae Jefferson (Chester H.S. Chester, Pa.), Dakari Johnson (Montverde Academy, Fla. Brooklyn, N.Y.), Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei H.S. Fullerton, Calif.) and Justice Winslow (St. John's School Houston, Texas) round out the group.Preliminary round games will be held June 29 through July 4 in Lithuania, with the U.S. team competing against Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France and China.The quarterfinals then begin on Friday July 6, the semifinals July 7 and the finals July 8.
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — While John Fox said Pernell McPhee is “truly day to day” after being placed on the physically unable to perform Wednesday, he didn’t want to delve into a timetable for one of the key players in the Bears’ pass rush.
Fox said the Bears found a “little irregularity” in McPhee’s right knee — not the same one that troubled him last year — during a physical on Wednesday and decided to place the 28-year-old on the PUP list. McPhee will continue to receive treatment in Bourbonnais and can attend all team meetings, and could be removed from the PUP list at any time.
“I hate to get into that hypothetical stuff,” Fox said. “We did that a couple years ago (with Kevin White) and it kind of bit us so we'll just let the doctors evaluate it and when we're ready to give you something concrete, we'll give it to you.”
McPhee was placed on the PUP list prior to last year’s training camp and missed the first six games of the regular season. His absence was one of many for an injury-addled Bears pass rush that also was without LaMarr Houston for 14 games and Leonard Floyd for four games.
If McPhee winds up in danger of missing time early in the regular season, though, it could bolster Houston’s chances of making the Bears’ 53-man roster. A thought regarding Houston, who had eight sacks in 2015 but has missed a total of 22 games in three years in Chicago, was that the Bears would cut him and clear about $5 million worth of cap space. But the team needs depth behind Willie Young and Leonard Floyd, and Houston certainly would fit the bill to fill it (provided he’s back to 100 percent, too).
For now, though, the Bears are in wait-and-see mode with McPhee and aren’t indicating one way or the other what his future status could be.
“When you go on PUP it could be a day or it could be a week,” Fox said. “It could be, I mean, he might be fine and then you’re back off of PUP. I don’t know.”
BOURBONNAIS — Saying that it’s been a tough offseason for Kyle Long would be putting it mildly.
Long has been recovering from a pair of injuries, a serious one to his ankle that required surgery and another to his shoulder. On top of that, the Bears are moving him to the other side of the offensive line, switching his position for the second time since he arrived in Chicago by moving him from right guard to left guard.
All that has made for a pretty crazy few months. So being back with the Bears for the first day of training camp allowed Long a return to normalcy that has been evasive for some time.
“First time being away from the team for that extended period. First time missing any games, like not being able to be on the sideline for games,” Long said Thursday. “Mobility was really tough. Gives you an appreciation for your health, and it makes you feel sympathetic and empathy toward people who don’t have great mobility. So I’m really trying to get back to where I was and keeping it that way.”
Long previously revealed that he lost a good deal of weight while recovering. He added Thursday that his body didn’t react well to medication he was taking. The best way he described a challenging recovery period was perhaps also the scariest.
“It just doesn’t make you feel like you,” Long said. “And I don’t like to be in that state.”
So being able to play football again is a welcome reality for the guy who’s arguably been the Bears’ best player for several seasons now.
Thing is, even that is providing a challenge for Long.
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Changing positions is nothing new for the Oregon product, as the Bears shifted him from right guard to right tackle two years ago. Now he’s getting another new position, a move to left guard.
Long’s being a good sport about it and expressed excitement over getting to play a new position. But it’s another major thing added to this offseason — and now preseason — whirlwind.
“I like it. It’s fun. It’s a different view on things,” Long said.
“Be patient, but also understand that every rep is an opportunity to learn. You’ll be humbled over and over and over again, but you keep showing up, you keep swinging. You can only play one play at a time.
“There’s certain things that bug you as a player and there are certain things that are out of your control, and then there are certain things you can capitalize on, that I can take the knowledge I have acquired over the last few years at guard and at tackle and apply it to my new position. … We have a lot of guys in the room who can help me out as well. I just need to take it one day at a time.”
So entering this new season, there seems to be nothing but question marks surrounding the two-time Pro Bowler: Will Long return to full health by the start of the regular season? Will the transition to the left side of the line go smoothly? Will Long be the type of elite offensive lineman he’s been in the past?
Those are enough uncertainties to make anyone concerned. How’s Long handling things?
“I wouldn’t say I have a lot of anxiety in regards to my health and my future. I would say that there’s a lot of pressure. Pressure’s good. I’ve got to fight pressure with pressure. I’ve got to work harder and harder in the training room, in the weight room and on the field.
“There’s no real timetable right now, I’m just happy to be out here. Coach is letting me ease back into it. I knew it was going to be a long process when I initially got injured, and I don’t think the timing could have been much worse there toward the end of the season.
“But the cards are what they are, and we’ve got to play the hell out of them.”