Cubs

CSN's final top 20 basketball rankings

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CSN's final top 20 basketball rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (33-1)

Results: Defeated Evanston 59-34, Bloom 45-35 and Proviso East 50-48

Hoops Talk: Jabari Parker and Steve Taylor help cement the 2011-12 Wolverines on the list of the best high school basketball teams in Illinois history.

2 Proviso East (32-1)

Results: Defeated West Aurora 62-51, Rockford Auburn 55-45; Lost to Simeon 50-48

Hoops Talk: The Pirates fall short in a state championship game that completely lived up to the hype. Guard Paris Lee and forward Sterling Brown return in 12-13.

3 North Chicago (25-7)

Results: Defeated Marshall 91-81, Springfield Lanphier 74-67; Lost to Peoria 72-64

Hoops Talk: It was a magical run for North Chicago, who now faces a future without prolific scorer -- and future ISU Redbird -- Aaron Simpson.

4 Bloom (30-4)

Results: Defeated Edwardsville 53-41; Lost to Simeon 45-35 and Rockford Auburn 57-46

Hoops Talk: Bloom reached state for the first time since 2000. Now the challenge will be replacing nine seniors, including guard Donald Moore.

5 Hillcrest (27-6)

Results: Defeated DuSable 47-44; Lost to Peoria 60-50; Defeated Springfield Lanphier 72-67

Hoops Talk: Jalen Loving had 17 points and 13 rebounds against Lanphier. Guard Jovan Mooring will be one of the key building blocks next season.

6 Warren (26-4)

Results: Lost to Rockford Auburn 49-43

Hoops Talk: What a career for Chuck Ramsey. The head coach accumulated 403 wins over 19 seasons.

7 Marshall (24-8)

Results: Lost to North Chicago 91-81

Hoops Talk: Korbin McClain and Milton Doyle depart, but keep an eye on guard Derrick Miles, along with forwards Tony Lewis and Citron Miller.

8 West Aurora (25-6)

Results: Lost to Proviso East 62-51

Hoops Talk: Juwan Starks and the Blackhawks gave East a run, but could not keep up in the closing minutes. Jontrell Walker will only be a junior in 12-13.

9 Plainfield East (27-2)
Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: Ten seniors, including Brian Bennett, will move on. Roger Tating, Kentwan Steptore, Justin Kubal and Kevin Fervil will have to step up.
10 Marist (26-6)
Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: This year was only the beginning. Look for more heroics next season with L.J. McIntosh at the controls.
11 Bogan (26-4)
Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: Six seniors should return for the Bengals, but Donrell Whitaker (class of 2014) and Luwane Pipkins (2015) could make bigger headlines.

12 Elgin (26-4)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: It will be guard Arie Williams team next season. The Maroons will graduate a gifted athlete in Kory Brown.

13 Evanston (21-11)

Results: Lost to Simeon 59-34

Hoops Talk: Great second half of the season for the Wildkits. Evanston will lose 10 seniors, including 6-foot-4 Leonard Garron and 5-foot-10 Josh Irving.

14 Downers Grove South (23-6)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: Another 20 win season for the Mustangs. Who will step up in the absence of Jerron Wilbut and Jamall Millison?

15 Huntley (26-4)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: The sky is the limit for the Red Raiders. 6-foot-6 Amanze Egekeze will only be a junior next year.

16 Curie (25-3)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: Cliff Alexander and Marcellus Davis will help keep the competition at bay in Chicagos Red-Central conference.

17 Andrew (24-3)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: High expectations a rarity for this program -- will be in place for the Bolts next year. Forward Jubril Adekoya will be one of the areas best.

18 Seton (27-5)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: A fine season for the Sting, who will try to keep Brother Rice and Leo at bay in the Catholic South next year.

19 Whitney Young (16-10)

Results: No games played

Hoops Talk: Three potential D-I players could grace the Dolphins lineup next year: Tommy Hamilton, Jahlil Okafor and Paul White.

20 Du Sable (16-10)

Results: Lost to Hillcrest 47-44

Hoops Talk: Cinderella almost made it to Peoria. They could make another run next year. Big man Chris Galbreath (class of 2013) can play.

Looming & Lurking: St. Ignatius, Metea Valley, New Trier, St. Joseph, Wheaton St. Francis, Mundelein, St. Viator, Oak Park, Homewood-Flossmoor, Niles North, De La Salle, North Shore Country Day, Dunbar, Aurora Central Catholic, Providence-St. Mel, Lakes, Grayslake Central, Ridgewood, Orr, Farragut, Yorkville.

Willson Contreras willing to pay the price for mound visits

Willson Contreras willing to pay the price for mound visits

News broke to Willson Contreras that the league will be limiting mound visits this upcoming season, and the Cubs catcher —notorious for his frequent visits to the rubber — is not having it.

“I’ve been reading a lot about this rule, and I don’t really care. If you have to go again and pay the price for my team, I will," he said.

The new rules rolled out Tuesday will limit six visits —any time a manager, coach or player visits the mound — per nine innings. But, communication between a player and a pitcher that does not require them moving from their position does not count as a visit.When a team is out of visits, it's the umpire's discretion to allow an extra trip to the mound.

But despite the new rules, Contreras is willing to do what's best for the team.

“There’s six mound visits, but what if you have a tight game? They cannot say anything about that. If you’re going to fine me about the [seventh] mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Left, right, center: Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo are dreaming of being the White Sox championship outfield of the future

Left, right, center: Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo are dreaming of being the White Sox championship outfield of the future

GLENDALE, Ariz. — All that was missing was a dinner bell.

From all over the White Sox spring training complex at Camelback Ranch they came, lined up in front of the third-base dugout and all around the cage to see a trio of future White Sox take batting practice.

This is all it was, batting practice. But everyone wanted to get a glimpse of Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo swinging the bat. And those three outfield prospects delivered, putting on quite a show and displaying exactly what gets people so darn excited about the White Sox rebuild.

How to sum it up if you weren’t there? Just be happy you weren’t parked behind the left-field fence.

Jimenez and Robert are two of the biggest stars of the White Sox rebuilding effort, with Adolfo flying a bit more under the radar, but all three have big dreams of delivering on the mission general manager Rick Hahn and his front office have undertaken over the past year and change: to turn the South Siders into perennial championship contenders. The offensive capabilities of all three guys have fans and the team alike giddy for the time they hit the big leagues.

And those three guys can’t wait for that day, either.

“Actually, just a few minutes ago when we were taking BP, we were talking about it,” Jimenez said Tuesday. “Micker and Luis said, ‘Can you imagine if we had the opportunity one day to play together in the majors: right, left and center field? The three of us together and having the opportunity to bring a championship to this team?’ I think that’s a dream for us, and we’re trying to work hard for that.”

“We were just talking about how cool it would be to one day all three of us be part of the same outfield,” Adolfo told NBC Sports Chicago. “We were talking about hitting behind each other in the order and just envisioning ourselves winning championships and stuff like that. It’s awesome. I really envision myself in the outfield next to Eloy and Luis Robert.”

How those three would eventually line up in the outfield at Guaranteed Rate Field remains to be seen. Adolfo’s highly touted arm would make him an attractive option in right field. Robert’s speed and range makes him the logical fit in center field. Jimenez will play whichever position allows his big bat to stay in the lineup every day.

Here in Arizona, the focus isn’t necessarily on some far off future but on the present. As intriguing as all three guys are and as anticipated their mere batting practice sessions seem to be, they all potentially have a long way to go to crack the big league roster. Jimenez is the furthest along, but even he has only 73 plate appearances above the Class A level. Adolfo spent his first full season above rookie ball last year. Robert has yet to play a minor league game in the United States.

The group could very well make its way through the minor leagues together, which would obviously be beneficial come the time when the three arrive on the South Side.

“We were talking about (playing in the big leagues), but also we were talking about just to have the first stage of the three of us together in the minor leagues first and then go to the majors all three of us together,” Robert said. “To have the opportunity to play there should be pretty special for us. We were dreaming about that.”

For months now, and likely for months moving forward, the question has been and will be: when?

Whether it’s Jimenez or top pitching prospect Michael Kopech or any other of the large number of prospects who have become household names, fans and observers are dying to see the stars of this rebuilding project hit the major leagues. Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez made their respective jumps last season. Hahn, who has said repeatedly this offseason that the front office needs to practice patience as much as the fan base, has also mentioned that a good developmental season for these guys might involve no big league appearances at all.

And it’s worth remembering that could be the case considering the lack of experience at the upper levels of the minor leagues for all three of these guys.

“In my mind, I don’t try to set a date for when I'm going to be in the majors,” Jimenez said. “That is something I can’t control. I always talk with my dad and we share opinions, and he says, ‘You know what? Just control the things that you can control. Work hard and do the things that you need to do to get better.’ And that’s my key. That’s probably why I stay patient.”

But staying patient is sometimes easier said than done. The big crowd watching Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo send baseballs into a to-this-point-in-camp rare cloudless Arizona sky proved that.

Dreaming of the future has now become the official pastime of the South Side. And that applies to fans and players all the same.

“I’m very, very excited,” Jimenez said, “because I know from the time we have here, that when the moment comes, when we can all be in the majors, the ones that can finally reach that level, we’re going to be good, we’re going to be terrific. I know that.”