Preps Talk

Broncos deny rift between Tebow, Quinn

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Broncos deny rift between Tebow, Quinn

From Comcast SportsNet
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Broncos coach John Fox says Brady Quinn's apology to Tim Tebow shows the two have a close relationship Fox's comments came Thursday at the NFL's annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. Quinn reportedly said Tebow had a "lot of luck" and that the way Tebow expressed his faith didn't seem humble to him. He later apologized. Fox say there is no rift between the two Denver quarterbacks. He says the two were good teammates and attributes the comments to getting "lost in translation." Fox also believes the apology presents a more accurate portrayal of Quinn that the comments attributed to him. With only two quarterbacks on the roster, Fox says the team will look to add two more quarterbacks before training camp.

Colleges now focusing on underclassmen in always-shifting recruiting calendar

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Colleges now focusing on underclassmen in always-shifting recruiting calendar

Every year around this time college football recruiting comes out of its post-holiday hibernation, otherwise known as the dead period, and fires up again. The NCAA-mandated dead period came to an end Monday morning, and high schools across the state saw an influx of college coaches in their buildings on Tuesday.

Yet unlike other years, this recruiting period took on a new significance.

"College coaches at this time of the year are usually babysitting its verbally committed seniors and making sure that they are all set to sign in February," Phillips head coach Troy McAllister said. "Now with the early signing period in December, most of the FBS and FCS schools are all done recruiting the 2018 kids and are now going all in on underclassmen."

McAllister reported eight colleges — Dartmouth, Iowa State, Purdue, Penn State, Morgan State, Syracuse, South Dakota State and West Virginia — came though his school on Tuesday and saw more than a few Wildcat underclassmen land verbal scholarship offers.

"I had a junior (defensive back Fabian McCray), a sophomore (defensive back Ronald Pledger) and even a freshman (defensive tackle Dominick Bass) pick up scholarship offers yesterday," he said. "We are expecting more and more coaches to come into school this week. A few of the coaches came into check on the seniors but even they are starting to work on the next class. This has always been a busy time of the year with recruiting, but now college coaches want to move ahead and get after the younger kids earlier than ever."

"We've had several college coaches in school so far," Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow said. "And none of them have talked about any of the seniors. Zero. The game plan for them was to finish up the seniors in December and focus this month completely on the next class and that's exactly how it's gone."

Ivlow also feels that with the implementation of the early signing period, seniors now more than ever need to make a much quicker college decision or get left with far more limited college options.

"Kids who waited on the bigger level schools to offer them are still waiting, and it doesn't look promising. Kids are going to need to make a decision earlier and earlier otherwise they stand to lose out on some good college offers and options."

The Bulls will always be linked to the Warriors — symbolically, practically and through history

The Bulls will always be linked to the Warriors — symbolically, practically and through history

Whenever the Bulls and Warriors meet for the foreseeable future, it’ll be a reminder of how the two franchises are inextricably linked symbolically and practically — even if no one would consider the two franchises mirror images in any way that truly counts.

Starting on the sidelines, as Warriors coach Steve Kerr will forever be etched in Bulls lore with a championship-sealing jumper in Game 6 of the 1997 Finals off a pass from Michael Jordan, the second title of their second three-peat.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was rumored to be in the running for the Warriors job after the Warriors fired Mark Jackson in 2014, when Hoiberg was still at Iowa State and Kerr was in the broadcast booth.

Reportedly, Hoiberg was a backup plan if Kerr wound up taking the New York Knicks job being offered to him by…former Bulls coach Phil Jackson.

Kerr has spoken highly of Hoiberg before games, even going as far as saying he’s stolen some of Hoiberg’s offensive plays — and it’s easy to see the similarities in philosophy, with both placing an extreme emphasis on ball movement and 3-point shooting.

With the Bulls crushing their own 3-point records — hitting fewer than 10-pointers six times in the last 21 games, they’re doing their best to copy the blueprint the Warriors have unleashed on the basketball world.

“I don’t know if we’ve revolutionized the game,” Kerr said at morning shootaround. “We just picked up on where the game was been heading over the last ten years with the added spacing and turning small forwards into power forwards and power forwards into centers. Really spacing the floor. It was happening before we did it. We have the personnel to shoot a ton of 3’s. It’s effective for us. Teams have to find whatever’s most efficient for them. We just try to play according to our talent.”

There’s the simple fact the Warriors erased the 1996 Bulls from the record book as far as regular season wins with a 73-9 mark in 2016, although they couldn’t finish the job in the Finals by blowing a 3-1 lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors have joined the Bulls of that vintage, the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Lakers and James’ Miami Heat as the road shows of modern-day basketball, drawing massive crowds, sparking historical conversations and taking opposing teams’ best shots on the road 41 times a year.

Stephen Curry has earned a new respect for what Jordan’s Bulls had to go through during that eight-year period in which the Bulls dominated to win six NBA titles.

“Until you win a championship you don’t know how hard it is,” Curry said. “Only highlight that even more, all that goes into it, year after year after year, being that team everybody is chasing. I have an appreciation before but going through a couple championship runs, you have an appreciation for the dynasty that they were. It’s always nice to be in the city they did it in.”

Then there’s the petty, as Jordan Bell will get the start in place of Draymond Green, a man who looked like a mummy at shootaround with a sore shoulder but had his elbows and knees wrapped in ice.

Bell, of course, remains a point of contention for Bulls fans as he was traded for $3.5 million on draft night to the Warriors and let everyone know what he thought of it when the two met in late November, making a money reference with his hands when coming out for his first start of the season.

Although his playing time has been spotty, he blocked six shots against the Bulls and grabbed six rebounds as an uber-athletic big man in a 49-point humbling loss in Oakland on Nov. 24.

Whether Bulls fans are in love with Bell and what he represents or merely the notion of trading a second-round pick when starting a rebuild, seeing him is a sore spot.

Kerr, though, hopes Bell has moved past the pettiness with the Bulls, as one would certainly like to think he’s happy where he is as opposed to vying for minutes with the glut of bigs the Bulls already have.

“I would hope that’s a thing of the past,” Kerr said. “Jordan’s been in the league for more than half a season. He had his fun the first time we played the Bulls with his comments and whatever he was doing on the floor. I liked it. I thought he was getting himself motivated. That doesn’t last long, in this league you gotta be motivated every single night. He’s past that now.”

Bell, assuming he develops into more than just a spot starter, represents where the Warriors are currently and where the Bulls are trying to get to: selecting physically unique players whose skill sets essentially make them unicorns on the floor.

The Warriors have that in Kevin Durant and to a lesser degree, Green, because of Green’s versatility on defense and with his playmaking, allows the Warriors to be special.

The Bulls have someone in the mold of a matchup nightmare in rookie Lauri Markkanen, who just broke the rookie record by being the fastest in NBA history to hitting 100 triples.

Markkanen did it in 41 games, breaking the mark held by Portland’s Damian Lillard. Curry, widely regarded as the best shooter in NBA history, accomplished the feat in 58 games in the 2009-10 season.

Curry’s taken note while joking Markkanen should “slow down and stop breaking all those 3-point records for rookies. I’m pretty proud of being in those groups.”

“He’s an amazing talent,” Curry said. “Got an extremely unique skill set at his height and size, being able to put it on the floor, being able to shoot the way he does, scoring a lot of different ways… He’s only gonna continue to get better. Other than that, he’s gonna be a force to reckon with as he goes through his career.”

Kerr is among Markkanen’s fans, although he won’t be one at the United Center when he tries to stop Markkanen from adding to the impressive resume.

“These things are so hard to predict but you knew at minimum he was gonna be a great 3-point shooting big man which is important to have these days,” Kerr said. “I think the question was defensively could he hold his own and could he do more than shoot and I think he’s proving all of that. He’s been good defensively.

“He’s not a one-trick pony on offense. He’s not just standing out shooting. He can put it on the floor, he can post up and he’s so young, all that stuff is gonna get better. I know our coaching staff, preparing for this game, have a ton of respect for what the Bulls are doing and Markkanen in particular in terms of his potential. We think he’s gonna be an All-Star.”