Cubs

Caravan put on a clinic; rout Seton

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Caravan put on a clinic; rout Seton

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
11:00 p.m.

By Pat DiSabato
YourSeason.com

Before the start of every game, Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty stresses to his players to go out and do what they do best.

That is, share the basketball.

The No. 23 Caravan put on a clinic on distributing the rock Friday night against Seton. Four different players reached double digits in scoring as host Mount Carmel eased to a 78-51 victory in a Catholic League South contest.

Alex Austin earned leading scorer honors, finishing with 22 points, including four three-pointers. Illinois-bound Tracy Abrams followed with 19, while Wyn Bradley and Malcolm Hill-Bey contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively for the Caravan (18-5, 8-1).

The win was No. 697 in Flahertys outstanding career.

We dont want to be a one-man team, even as good as Tracy is, Flaherty said. We played hard tonight.

Thats about the only positive Flaherty had to say about his teams performance.

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and most of the near-capacity crowd had to come away impressed, even the Seton fans who made the trek from South Holland.

No sooner had the Stings Chris Coulter (14 points) nail a three-pointer for a quick 3-2 lead, Mount Carmel countered with an 8-0 run to take a 10-3 advantage. Abrams converted a three-point play and Austin hit his first bomb from beyond the arc to ignite the run.

The Caravan would establish a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the evening. It led 42-26 at the half.

That didnt satisfy Flaherty, who saw room for improvement everywhere.

We were sloppy and our shot selection was a little carefree, he said. We got lazy in the second half and didnt get out to guard their shooters. We didnt play as well as we could.

Mount Carmel converted 30 of 55 field-goal attempts, including 8-of-18 shots from three-point land. Seton struggled, finishing 15-of-42 from the field. The Sting (17-7, 6-3) was a solid 7-of-18 from beyond the stripe, with Coulter drilling four treys and Kamal Shasi (13 points) two.

But the Sting never could establish an inside game. Russell Robinson, a 6-foot-8 junior, was held to six points.

We played pretty good, Abrams said. But we have to do a better job of finishing and cutting down on our mistakes.

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

MESA, Ariz. — The first thing Kyle Schwarber told his new hitting coach?

"His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.'"

The Cubs hired Chili Davis as the team's new hitting coach for myriad reasons. He's got a great track record from years working with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, and that .274/.360/.451 slash line during an illustrious 19-year big league career certainly helps.

But Davis' main immediate task in his new gig will be to help several of the Cubs' key hitters prove Schwarber's assessment correct.

Schwarber had a much-publicized tough go of things in 2017. After he set the world on fire with his rookie campaign in 2015 and returned from what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury in time to be one of the Cubs' World Series heroes in 2016, he hit just .211 last season, getting sent down to Triple-A Iowa for a stint in the middle of the season. Schwarber still hit 30 home runs, but his 2017 campaign was seen as a failure by a lot of people.

Enter Davis, who now counts Schwarber as one of his most important pupils.

"He's a worker," Davis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Schwarbs, he knows he's a good player. His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.' He said last year was just a fluke year. He said, 'I've never failed in my life.' And he said, 'I'm going to get back to the player that I was.'

"I think he may have — and this is my thought, he didn't say this to me — I think it may have been, he had a big World Series, hit some homers, and I think he tried to focus on being more of a home run type guy as opposed to being a good hitter.

"His focus has changed. I had nothing to do with that, he came in here with that focus that he wants to be a good hitter first and let whatever happens happen. And he's worked on that. The main thing with Kyle is going to be is just maintaining focus."

The physically transformed Schwarber mentioned last week that he's established a good relationship with Davis, in no small part because Schwarber can relate to what Davis went through when he was a player. And to hear Davis tell it, it sounds like he's describing Schwarber's first three years as a big leaguer to a T.

"Telling him my story was important because it was similar," Davis said. "I was a catcher, got to big league camp, and I was thrown in the outfield. And I hated the outfield. ... But I took on the challenge. I made the adjustment, I had a nice first year, then my second year I started spiraling. I started spiraling down, and I remember one of my coaches saying, 'I'm going to have to throw you a parachute just so you can land softly.' I got sent down to Triple-A at the All-Star break for 15 days.

"When I got sent down, I was disappointed, but I was also really happy. I needed to get away from the big league pressure and kind of find myself again. I went home and refocused myself and thought to myself, 'I'm going to come back as Chili.' Because I tried to change, something changed about me the second year.

"And when I did that, I came back the next year and someone tried to change me and I said, 'Pump the breaks a little bit, let me fail my way, and then I'll come to you if I'm failing.' And they understood that, and I had a nice year, a big year and my career took off.

"I'm telling him, 'Hey, let last year go. It happened, it's in the past. Keep working hard, maintain your focus, and you'll be fine.'"

Getting Schwarber right isn't Davis' only task, of course. Despite the Cubs being one of the highest-scoring teams in baseball last season, they had plenty of guys go through subpar seasons. Jason Heyward still has yet to find his offensive game since coming to Chicago as a high-priced free agent. Ben Zobrist was bothered by a wrist injury last season and put up the worst numbers of his career. Addison Russell had trouble staying healthy, as well, and saw his numbers dip from what they were during the World Series season in 2016.

So Davis has plenty of charges to work with. But he likes what he's seen so far.

"They work," Davis said. "They come here to work. I had a group of guys in Boston that were the same last year, and it makes my job easier. They want to get better, they come out every day, they show up, they want to work. They're excited, and I'm excited to be around them.

And what have the Cubs found out about Davis? Just about everyone answers that question the same way: He likes to talk.

"I'm not going to stop talking," he said. "If I stop talking, something's wrong."

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: