Bulls

CSN to air documentary on Miles Boykin's unlikely journey to Notre Dame

CSN to air documentary on Miles Boykin's unlikely journey to Notre Dame

 

Comcast SportsNet to air documentary special chronicling Providence Catholic superstar wide receiver Miles Boykin's unlikely journey to Notre Dame.

 

“Play Like a Champion: Miles Boykin’s Journey to Notre Dame presented by U.S. Marines,” narrated by Chuck Garfien, premieres Thursday, September 3 at 7:00 PM CT on Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com

 

Chicago, IL (August 31, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com, the regional television and digital home for the most comprehensive coverage of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football, will provide viewers with a special, half-hour, documentary-style program entitled Play Like a Champion: Miles Boykin’s Journey to Notre Dame presented by U.S. Marines, which chronicles the Providence Catholic standout wide receiver’s journey from being a part of a state championship team to joining one of the nation’s most-esteemed college football programs. 

Narrated by CSN anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien and produced by CSNChicago.com multimedia producer/editor Scott Changnon, along with CSNChicago.com digital producer Mark Strotman, Play Like a Champion: Miles Boykin’s Journey to Notre Dame will make its Comcast SportsNet TV debut on Thursday, September 3 at 7:00 PM CT and will immediately be made available for online viewing on CSNChicago.com following its on-air premiere, along with an accompanying long-form feature story written by Strotman.  Comcast SportsNet will also re-air the special on Saturday, September 5 at 5:00 PM prior to #11 AP pre-season ranked Notre Dame’s home/season opener vs. Texas on NBC (6:30pm CT).

Filmed over the course of the past year, CSNChicago.com captured Providence Catholic’s triumphant state championship season in 2014 in its featured, behind-the-scenes high school series, “DRIVE.”  Boykin’s senior season with the Celtics was nothing short of amazing as he compiled 65 receptions for 1,035 yards and 19 touchdowns, which ultimately earned him the coveted “Chicago Tribune Prep Athlete of the Year” honor, joining the ranks of fellow area preps standouts such as Cliff Floyd, Tai Streets, Candace Parker, Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor. 

Play Like a Champion not only relives that historic season in Boykin’s life, but takes it a step further with new footage focusing Boykin’s family life, along with fascinating stories of the college football recruitment process, which led him to joining the Fighting Irish…a team in which he did not intend to join when the entire process began.

In addition to Boykin, Play Like a Champion includes numerous additional interviews featuring Boykin’s parents (George Jr. & Felicia), his older brother George III, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, ND associate head coach/Boykin’s recruiter Mike Denbrock and Provide Catholic head coach Mark Coglianese, among others.

Note the following quotes from Play Like a Champion: Miles Boykin’s Journey to Notre Dame presented by U.S. Marines, premiering Thursday, September 3 at 7:00 PM on Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com:

MILES BOYKIN on winning the IHSA State Championship with Providence Catholic:

“I would picture it, but the funny thing I would never watch whatever class we were playing in…I would never watch that game because I’d get too mad, like we could beat either of these teams, I’m not watching this.  At that point you just dream about it and words can’t describe what it actually feels like.  Your biggest goal and you actually reach it?!  Words can’t do that justice on how that feels.  Four years of basically year-round training for the same goal and you ultimately reach it with your friends, they’re brothers at this point, you spend sometimes eight hours a day with them on football alone. ‘I love you, I love you’…that’s how much we showed we loved each other.”

MILES BOYKIN on why he ultimately chose to attend Notre Dame:

“The only real reason I (initially) took the Michigan State visit was so I knew Notre Dame was the right place for me, and that’s what happened.  I called Coach (Brian) Kelly and told him I wanted to be part of the Shamrock Soldiers and he was happy to invite me in. The first few times I called, he was doing something…we couldn’t get a hold of him. I think we tried again, then two minutes later we tried again and we told him and let him know I wanted to commit and he accepted me and that was the best part about it.”

GEORGE BOYKIN JR. on Miles looking up to his older brother George:

“George was always the example.  I put a lot of pressure on George because he was the oldest.  Anybody who knows about being the older sibling knows a lot of pressure comes with that.  So George was always taught to go and set the example.  Miles would blaze the example.  So that was fine.  He had someone to look at, someone to pattern himself after, and then you let your ability take you as far as it will take you.”

GEORGE BOYKIN III on his hopes for his younger brother Miles:

“It makes me really feel like I did my work.  Even though I may not have thought I was the best brother, it makes me feel like I was.  It gave me the ability to become a pilot, do all these things and it’s not hard growing up when you have a little brother that’s always there with you.”

FELICIA BOYKIN on her recruiting trips with Miles and their special bond:

“With the questions he would ask, I was like, ‘OK, that was a very mature question’…the way he would just handle himself with the coaches, but as soon as he got in the car, he was being silly again.  I learned a lot about Miles and his personality and how mature he was and how well-spoken he was, because as teenagers, parents don’t see their kids like that because they’re always gone.  But spending that time in the car with him, I learned a lot about him.  I taught that, I heard people tell me that but I never really saw it for myself because once you’re in the house you’re totally different.”

BRIAN KELLY on his new freshman wide receiver, Miles Boykin:

"Big, strong, physical, and he can run surprisingly well for such a big body.  When you see him, if he walked in here right now, you'd swear he's a tight end.  But he's not.  As much as we were recruiting him, maybe one eye was toward a future tight end, he's not a tight end, he's a wide receiver.  He's got extremely good ball skills down the field, adjusts well to the ball, he doesn't play stiff to the ball at all, and he can run. We’re really pleased in terms of what his future looks like as a wide receiver.” 

MIKE DENBROCK on why he recruited Boykin to join Notre Dame:

“You love winners; everybody wants to surround themselves with winners.  If you look at what he was able to do not only on a football field, but with his basketball team.  Fighting through injury, showing the toughness, showing the determination to make sure that success was headed his way and for his teammates.  You like to surround yourself with as many of those guys as you can.

“Being from Providence Catholic, a profile high school, you know the type of football team that they had and the way that the coaches deal with the players.  It was just such an easy fit for here knowing that the background that he experienced in high school was an easy transition and carryover to the University of Notre Dame.”

MARK COGLIANESE on Boykin’s character:

“As a person you won’t find a nicer young man.  Very humble and very outgoing, he will talk to anybody.  Around school, he’ll talk to a freshman, as well as a senior.  As an athlete, he’s very competitive, but also one of the most gifted athletes having the whole package: the size, the speed, the athleticism, the great hands…definitely a special person, special player.”

 

It's Bobby's World in Bulls' lottery-improving loss to 76ers

It's Bobby's World in Bulls' lottery-improving loss to 76ers

The final 25 games was supposed to be all about the development of the Bulls’ recent acquisitions and securing a record worthy of one of the last three envelopes at the NBA Draft Lottery.

Only Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn seemed to matter, with Cameron Payne and Cristiano Felicio being the perfect window dressing for development as opposed to just saying a team is tanking.

But Bobby Portis is making a case that he isn’t to be forgotten in the big picture, that his worth is more than just being a punchline to the jokes that followed his incident with Nikola Mirotic.

The only thing Portis didn’t do right in the Bulls’ 116-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers was missing a point blank shot that would’ve given the Bulls an improbable and unwanted win, and it would’ve given him 40 points.

Instead he had to settle for a career-high 38 as Joel Embiid was bearing down on Portis when he caught a diagonal pass from Dunn with 1.1 seconds left, having the shorter T.J. McConnell on him and taking a power dribble to gather himself.

“If I could go back I would’ve just went up the first time off the glass like I always do,” Portis said. “We just have to try to close out games better.”

Embiid showed he’s worth all the trouble with his health problems, scoring 30 with 13 rebounds and five rebounds while Ben Simmons put up 32 with 11 assists and seven rebounds as the 76ers improved to 31-25, good enough for seventh place in the East.

In a game that featured remarkable resolve from a purposely undermanned Bulls team as they sat Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday, they put themselves in position to win after trailing by 18 early. After leading by five courtesy of a LaVine walk-down triple with 1:02 left, they made a couple critical errors that allowed the 76ers to steal a game the Bulls won’t mind them taking at the end of 82.

Denzel Valentine’s inbounds pass with 5.9 seconds left was intended for LaVine, but Embiid stepped in front for a steal as they were in position to make it a free-throw game the rest of the way.

Similar to the Bulls’ unlikely win over the Orlando Magic before the All-Star break, they returned the favor as 76ers rookie Ben Simmons made free throws after the steal to give the visitors a one-point lead, setting the stage for the final play.

If learning lessons is what the last 100 quarters of basketball is supposed to be about, the Bulls got a big-time lesson in a game that ultimately means nothing.

“These are learning opportunities for our team,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I couldn’t be happier, the way we went out and competed. We dug ourselves an 18-point hold and (fought) our way back—have complete control of the game.”

Control was wrestled from the 76ers by Portis’ able and quick hands. Taking more of a scoring posture since Mirotic’s departure, Portis has never been shy about being aggressive.

But now he’s being encouraged in that department, playing a big part in the Bulls’ tying their franchise record of 18 triples with six of his own, scoring 21 in the first half and not backing down one step from the massive Embiid.

“I kind of struggled from (three) in the last six, seven games,” said Portis, who didn’t take much time off during the All-Star break. “I think I’ve shown this entire year, trying to stay consistent and be a spark off the bench.”

Counting the last two games before the break, Portis has been on the best scoring binge of his career—cementing his place in the league when just a few months ago, many were questioning if the Bulls should’ve actually picked up his player option following the Mirotic incident.

His 25.0 points in the last three, along with scoring in double figures for seven straight games are career-bests. With every flex, every energetic plea to the crowd and resourceful score underneath the rim, Portis is becoming a player the Bulls can’t afford to plan without.

The stage was set for a Portis breakout shortly after the incident, when he was serving his suspension to start the season. When the Bulls traveled to Miami and Orlando, he flew on his own to Orlando for dinner with his mentor, former NBA veteran and Magic assistant coach Corliss Williamson.

Williamson, a player who was not to be trifled with during his career, told Portis essentially, “this too shall pass”.

“Just play your game,” Williamson told NBCSportsChicago.com recently. “Don’t put any pressure on yourself about what’s gonna happen after this year. What’s got him here is hard work, how hard he plays in the game. He continues to do that, he’ll be successful.”

Portis recalled the dinner where he was finally able to confide and unleash after weeks of frustration. Calling Williamson a father figure dating back to their Arkansas roots, where Portis played on Williamson’s AAU teams in middle school, Portis put his trust in him and came back reinvigorated.

“We talked for hours about the whole situation,” Portis told NBCSportsChicago.com “He told me when I come back to come 10 times harder. When people play this game and play the right way, they forget about the other stuff. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Scoring 38 tends to remake a narrative.

“Bobby just continues to improve,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a confident kid that goes out and plays with a ton of swagger and toughness. You need that, to go out and play with that type of effort. He’s tenacious on the glass. He’s getting the crowd into the game.”

When speaking of Portis, Hoiberg’s face went from flush to beaming, knowing how far Portis has come in his three years—being a player who wouldn’t take 3-pointers with confidence to now unleashing them whenever a defender’s feet shows the slightest hint of leaning back.

No hesitation.

“Regardless if I’m making shots, I try to leave it all out on the floor,” Portis said. “It felt good making shots, being able to help the team. I wanted the win tonight.”

Portis helped make up for the Bulls not getting their usual production from Dunn, who struggled guarding the bigger Simmons and Lauri Markkanen, who missed all five of his 3-pointers and made just one field goal in 32 minutes.

“You can put he and Lauri together,” Hoiberg said. “It gives you two guys that can stretch the floor and space it, two guys that can rebound, two that can put it on the floor. It’s exciting to think about when Kris gets his rhythm back.”

And now, Williamson’s words have proven to be prophetic for his pupil, because if the Bulls aren’t seeing Portis as a key part of their future, there’s about 25 other teams who’ll be lining up for his services this summer.

“I told him don’t even worry about it,” Williamson said. “Let your game speak for itself. People who really know you, know what type of person you are. You start producing people will forget about it and love you for what you do on the court.”

His game is talking, even if the Bulls’ loss was one they’d rather have taken in silence.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Projecting the Bulls’ future

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Projecting the Bulls’ future

In the latest edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Will Perdue and Kendall Gill recap the Bulls’ 116-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, look at the continued growth of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn, and discuss if Bobby Portis is part of the Bulls’ long term future.

They also check in on LeBron James and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, discuss whether or not the Golden State Warriors can make another title run and the latest on the status of San Antonio Spurs guard Kawhi Leonard. The guys also discuss how Oklahoma guard Trae Young could look in a Bulls uniform if he’s available for them in the draft.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.