Te'o not concerned about effects of whirlwind awards schedule

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Te'o not concerned about effects of whirlwind awards schedule

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The next six weeks aren't just about preparing for Alabama or Georgia for Manti Te'o. The senior linebacker is a finalist for a truckload of honors, and was presented with the Awards and Recognition Association Sportsmanship Award Thursday afternoon.

He'll find out Monday evening if he's going to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, but all indications point to Te'o heading to the ceremony in Times Square. Te'o is already a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award, Campbell Trophy, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Senior CLASS Award.

That's a busy schedule, and one that'll take Te'o away from South Bend for a week of banquets, ceremonies and glad-handing instead of preparing for the BCS Championship.

"I asked coach Kelly to make sure that there's a gym in whatever place we stay so when I come back I'm not D-lineman," Te'o said. "That's definitely something that I'll do myself to make sure I stay in shape."

Te'o had his final collegiate class Thursday, and will take his last round of finals the week after he returns. The impending end of his college career -- not only on the football field, but as a student at Notre Dame -- has garnered his focus in the last few days, not all the awards he may wind up winning.

"My attention has just been on taking advantage of every day," Te'o said. "I think all I've been thinking about is the time I have left here at school with my peers with my classmates. I'll be gone all next week so today was my last day of school. It was just hard to me to know that it's come to an end, a beautiful end."

The beauty of that end isn't dependent on the outcome of next week's Heisman Trophy presentation. It's a rarity for a defensive player to earn a trip to New York as a finalist, let alone win the award -- and Charles Woodson was featured as a wide receiver and returner with Michigan in 1997. There were no gimmicks to get Te'o in on offense this season, despite urges from a few players.

While Te'o hasn't appeared outwardly concerned with the Heisman, no matter how humble he is he'd like to win the award as an honor to Notre Dame, his teammates and his family. But he understands his candidacy is a long shot, given the history of defensive players in Heisman voting.

"If it doesn't happen, then whoever does win it is truly deserving of the award," Te'o said.

That person is likely to be Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose candidacy has been picked apart by Notre Dame supporters in recent days. One guy who isn't going to try to discount anything Manziel has done, though, is his direct competition for the Heisman.

"Dynamic player, really, really good playmaker," Te'o said of Manziel. "He always tends to make something out of nothing.

"That's definitely somebody that's of Heisman material," he added. "I'm a real big fan."

NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls deal Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder

NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls deal Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder

The Bulls turned into sellers ahead of the NBA's trade deadline.

According to CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill, the Bulls have traded Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne. The Vertical first reported the trade.

Both Gibson and McDermott had been on the trading block, as Goodwill reported last week.

Payne, 22, was drafted by the Thunder in the first round (14th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 20 games this season Payne is averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.

Lauvergne, 25, was acquired by the Thunder from the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2016-17 season. In three seasons, Lauvergne is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The 31-year-old Morrow is averaging 5.8 points in 40 games this season.

Bulls GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson will meet the media following today's 2 p.m. deadline.

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Arizona Coyotes was the first game the current top line of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik were thrown together.

Yeah, the combination's worked out well. So has the Blackhawks' game in general, as they've won seven of eight including that Feb. 2 game. Now the Blackhawks will try to keep the momentum rolling with their lines and their game when they host the Coyotes Thursday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' current run of success started in the desert and part of that has been finding more consistent lines. Everything else has gradually improved off of that, from goal scoring to puck possession.

"I think it's puck possession, puck control, pace to the game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we were very inconsistent in that early and we were defending way more than we were accustomed to. You're vulnerable for penalties, you're vulnerable for quality scoring chances against and not generating enough. I think that's the progression in our game now, it seems like all four lines are having the puck and having some zone time and having some rush chances, zone chances and it seems like every line's contributing there, and that's the big difference."

[RELATED: By the bye - Blackhawks keep rolling following break]

The Blackhawks' top line didn't have immediate chemistry but Quenneville kept them together and let them work on it. But as Toews said, it was about the group keeping the all-around game going, points or no points.

"Sometimes you just gotta work until things start clicking," Toews said. "Everyone seems to start paying attention when you start scoring goals, regardless of [the fact you're] doing things right. It's nice that we're scoring but we have to stick with what's making us a successful line at both ends of the rink right now."

Corey Crawford will start vs. the Coyotes. Niklas Hjalmarsson did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Quenneville said Michal Rozsival could draw into the lineup.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

None

Coyotes lines (via Arizona Republic)

Tobias Rieder-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Max Domi -Alex Burmistrov-Ryan White
Jamie McGinn-Jordan Martinook-Josh Jooris

Defensive pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy

Goaltender

Mike Smith

Injuries

Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (tibia)