Preps Talk

5 Questions with...The Score's Brian Hanley

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5 Questions with...The Score's Brian Hanley

By Jeff NuichCSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor
April 21, 2010
Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This week veteran sportswriter who has covered just about everything for the Chicago Sun-Times over the past quarter century he can be heard with his partner Mike Mulligan weekdays from 5:00-9:00 a.m. on WSCR AM 670 The Score as co-host of the popular Mully and Hanley Show here are 5 Questions with...BRIAN HANLEY!

BIO: (from the very words of Brian Hanley himself): I was born in 1960 on the west side of Chicago at the venerable St. Annes Hospital. My late, great dad, Bernard, and beautiful and selfless mom, Suzanne, raised nine children. My five brothers, three sisters and I grew up in Oak Park and River Forest, where I attended St. Lukes grammar school. My first newspaper job was an afternoon paper route delivering the late, great Chicago Daily News. My love of journalism grew while at Fenwick High School (Oak Park), from where I was graduated in 1978 as an Illinois State Scholar.

While at Marquette University, from where I was graduated with a journalism major and broadcast minor in 1982, I was an intern for the late, great Tim Weigel at WLS-TV. With Tims letter of recommendation, I was able to gain acceptance to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where I did graduate work.

I began my career at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984, as a part-time editorial assistant, while also attending Medill. My first full-time beat came in 1988, when I was assigned to cover Illinois and the Big Ten. I was fortunate to chronicle the 1989 "Flying Illini" basketball team under coach Lou Henson, a Final Four squad. In my 24 years at the Sun-Times, my beats have spanned the Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks, Northwestern, and the Bulls.

Thanks to Seth Mason, Ron Gleason, and then-owner Dan Lee -- with a tip of the hat to sports talk radio pioneer Chet Coppock -- my Score career began with the stations creation. I shared afternoon drive duties with Terry Boers, the quickest wit I have known, and Dan McNeil.

My broadcast career was reignited in 2005 under the Score brain trust of Rod Zimmerman, Paul Agase and Mitch Rosen, all of whom has taken the station to its greatest heights. From the midday show to our move to morning drive, I have enjoyed great success due to the talents of my broadcast partner Mike Mulligan, executive producer Dustin Rhoades, and sound surgeons Rock Mamola and Chris Collins, now Score sports director. Of course, the constant that has continued to amaze me throughout these many years has been the loyalty, creativity, and absolute intelligence of our listeners who are the pillars of the Score.

1) CSNChicago.com: Brian, it's the busiest time of year for all of us in our biz, especially with BOTH the Blackhawks and the Bulls in the playoffs. Tell us specifically what you think each of these two teams needs to do to really make an impact against their first-round opponents?

Hanley: Let's deal with the Hawks first since they, unlike the Bulls, will actually be advancing to the second round. Now, I wasn't thinking this while I was sitting at the United Center frustrated with 22,000 other fans Friday watching Game 1, that third-period collapse and overall subpar performance was a great education for Coach Q's team. Nothing comes easy in the NHL playoffs. The performance Sunday showed the Hawks were a quick study. The Hawks were stronger on the puck, in the net and fought for space on the ice which is the golden ticket to advancing in the NHL postseason. Great move by Coach Q to reunite his blue-line pairing of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. This is no time to experiment. Go with what helped get you here: quality defense. The wild card from here out remains goalie Annti Niemi. Is the rookie going to be good enough to have the Hawks hoisting their first Stanley Cup since I was a 1-year-old? The guess here is -- say it with me Hawk -- "Yessss!"

As for the Bulls, head to the nearest church and light a candle. Even if you are not Catholic. Not the 50-cent candle either. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Throw a fiver in the money box and fire up the biggest ball of wax there. Or, better yet, send your money to the Berto Center to help pay Chris Bosh's max contract come July 1.

2) CSNChicago.com: Regarding the Bears, how much will having virtually no presence in the upcoming NFL Draft hurt this team going forward or do you think theyre fine with the moves they had to make last year to get their star QB?

Hanley: The Bears like to think they are a draft-driven team. I like to think I'm as good-looking as Brad Pitt. As my pic on this page proves, I am as delusional as Jerry Angelo, who still thinks using a second-round draft pick in 2007 on defensive end Dan Bazuin was a good idea. Look up Bazuin's statistics on nfl.com and you find this: This player does not have any statistics. No picks in the first two rounds only ensures less Bears big-money busts. As for Jay Cutler, he has to be better than last year. Then again, when I look in the mirror I now see George Clooney looking back at me.

3) CSNChicago.com: Chicago has some of the best sports bars in the nation. Tell us about your favorite local hangouts?

Hanley: I'm sure our city has a number of great sports watering holes. However, I have spent much of the last three decades traveling while covering the Cubs, Sox, Bears, Hawks, and Bulls and colleges. So if you are looking for places to bend an elbow from Vancouver to New York, Toronto to Phoenix, I got you covered.

Given my age -- the big 5-0 next month -- and my 2:30 a.m. wake-up each weekday, the closest I get to Chicago wee-hour nightlife is driving through River North on my way to the Score. Then again, you can often find Mully, me and our crack production staff sharing an end-of-the-work-week double-cheeseburger and a beer or three at the Billy Goat with fellow Chicago third-shifters around 10 a.m. on a Friday.

4) CSNChicago.com: As you well know, there is plenty of competition in morning radio in Chicago, but you and your partner Mike Mulligan continue to hold your own by delivering a solid show to Chicago sports fans each weekday morning. Outside of having a sports format, what do you think differentiates you and Mully from the rest of the pack out there?

Hanley: It starts with us being born and raised here. I truly believe in Chicago fans talking Chicago sports. We won't waste your time with why Rutgers football team is struggling. And while Mike squared down the dial are killing time wondering what Golic should give up for lent (just a thought: radio), my guy, Mike Mulligan, is taking our listeners behind the Halas Hall curtain.

Mully and I have a combined 50 years logged on different sports beats for the Sun-Times, the best sports section in town. We can put stories in context given the players, coaches and front-office types we have covered and share some humorous stories from those beats along the way.

Our executive producer Dustin Rhoades, who joined the team last summer, has elevated the show to new heights with great guests and segment ideas. He is simply the best in the business. Add in the smart and creative listeners we have come to know both on the air and in person at our Boys Nights and Days Out events and it is a winning, and fun, formula.

5) CSNChicago.com: Speaking of your partner, hes a Sox fan and youre a Cubs fan any wagers planned between you two once the crosstown series takes place this summer?

Hanley: Given the two teams' starts this season, we have decided to take that money and use it for group therapy sessions.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you want to promote Brian? Lets hear about it

Hanley: We would love to see everyone Friday, May 7, at Carmichael's Steak House, 1052 W. Monroe here in Chicago. We'll be hosting our third-annual Boys Night Out for the Kids. All proceeds benefit the great work being done at The Chicago Children's Advocacy Center and the dedicated people working to protect abused children. There will be sports stars from around town and great live and silent auction items, including tickets to Cubs and Sox games and plenty of sports memorabilia. You also might find me and fellow Cubs sicko Dustin Rhoades at The Cell this weekend heckling head case Milton Bradley, just for old times sake.

Hanley LINKS:

WSCR AM 670"Mully and Hanley" home page

E-mail "Mully and Hanley" at The SCORE

Five unranked boys basketball teams to watch for

Five unranked boys basketball teams to watch for

The first week of the preseason Preps Power Rankings is always difficult to assess. There are plenty of teams who just missed the cut of the initial top 25. Below are a group of talented teams who should do enough to make their way into the Power Rankings at some point during the season.

Most of these teams have experience and star power, so watch for them in the next few weeks to see if they have strong starts to the season. 

DePaul Prep -- The Rams remain one of the major threats in the Catholic League this season as they return plenty of talent from a sectional finals team. Junior guard Perry Cowan and junior big man Pavle Pantovic make up a very solid one-two punch and sophomore guard Lance Mosley had some flashes of strong play during the summer. Seniors Spencer Cody and Anthony Papaioanou are steady contributors as well. The move up to Class 3A will be something to watch for with this team. Since the local Class 2A draw features Orr and Uplift, DePaul Prep might actually have an easier state tournament draw in the higher class.

St. Joseph -- There isn't one true star for the Chargers this season. Head coach Gene Pingatore has a lot of balance and experience but finding a go-to player could be the difference for St. Joseph this season. Senior Ahmad Muhammad will be asked to do a lot with the ball. Other returning seniors like Jalen and Jordan Boyd and Joffari Brown also have plenty of varsity experience. Losing junior point guard Marquise Walker to Curie definitely hurts. But not many teams in the state have four seniors who have already played in Peoria.

Geneva -- It was tough to leave the Vikings out of the preseason Power Rankings as they once again look like a major factor in the Upstate Eight River this season. New head coach Scott Hennig, a former assistant at Geneva, takes over for Phil Ralston (Glenbrook South) as he inherits a solid group of talent. Junior point guard Jack McDonald is an All-Area threat after a standout sophomore season. Another junior, guard Mitch Mascari, was one of the area's best three-point shooters last season. And Geneva also returns plenty of size, including 6-foot-6 senior Will Courter and promising 6-foot-7 sophomore Nate Santos. With the right blend of size and perimeter firepower, Geneva is a team to keep an eye on.

St. Viator -- Making the leap up to Class 4A this season, the Lions return some talented players from a team that made a surprising postseason run last season. St. Viator returns a Division I prospect in talented junior forward Jeremiah Hernandez while senior forward Peter Lambesis is also back. Finding stability at point guard could be the key to this season for the Lions as they have to replace J.R. Cison, who transferred to Lake Zurich. If junior Trey Calvin can step up, then St. Viator shouldn't miss much of a beat. The Lions already started the season with a solid win over Libertyville.

New Trier -- The most intriguing part about New Trier this season is the size on the interior as two junior big men have college aspirations. Ciaran Brayboy, a 6-foot-9 big man and Spencer Boehm a 6-foot-7 forward create one of the area's more talented frontcourts for the Trevians. The frontcourt is a plus and the backcourt, a senior-laden group, is also better and more experienced than last season. New Trier should crack the top 25 at some point this season. 

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen