Cubs Notes: Still No Rizzo, but talk of his arrival continues


Cubs Notes: Still No Rizzo, but talk of his arrival continues

By Jose M. Romero
CSNChicago.com Contributor

PHOENIX If Cubs manager Dale Sveum thought he could put the Anthony Rizzo talk on ice for a few days while his team played a weekend series in Arizona after Sveum said the star prospect wouldnt join the club here he thought wrong.

Sveum fielded more questions about Rizzo before Saturdays game. Asked what expectations would be on Rizzo when he arrives, Sveum said part of the process the Cubs are trying to implement is to fill the organization with young players like Rizzo.

Sveum said the only player with close to the kind of hype generated for Rizzo that he has experienced was Ryan Braun when Sveum was coaching in Milwaukee. Braun didnt play as many minor-league games as Rizzo before coming up.

I dont think that Ive really been around anybody thats had this much hype getting ready to come up, Sveum said of Rizzo. Just being around him for the 30 days or so in spring training, he seemed to be a guy that was very ahead of the game maturity-wise. He has all those leadership skills and those kind of things. I think we all have to be a little bit patient and understand that the game is a lot different here than it is in Triple-A.

Sveum was asked if he was anxious to put Rizzo in the batting order, and said it would be nice to have extra firepower in the lineup.

When you just have threats that can hit home runs at any given time, its always nice to have those kind of guys in the lineup, Sveum said.

Also from Sveum before Saturdays game against the Arizona Diamondbacks:

-Its not fair for fans and observers to demand that Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano return to his 40-40 (home run and stolen base) days, or even close to it, from the past decade, Sveum said. When you get to that age (Soriano is 36) not too many people are 40-40 after 35 years old, it just doesnt happen, Sveum said, noting stolen bases in particular. Its unrealistic to think that someones going to be what they were at 25 years old, especially the stuff he was doing.

Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame


Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame

Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.

NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.

Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.

He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.

Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.

Recruiting news and notes: Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning piling up major offers


Recruiting news and notes: Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning piling up major offers

Lincoln-Way East sophomore athlete recruit AJ Henning (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) continues to pile up the major Power 5 scholarship offers this winter including his latest from Stanford on Wednesday.

"Stanford offered me a scholarship today (Wednesday)," Henning said. "I have thirteen scholarship offers so far and it's pretty amazing to have opportunities from such great schools and football programs."

Henning, who was a key performer in leading the Griffins to the 2017 Class 8A state championship run has been taking all of the recruiting attention and offers in stride.

"My family and I talk about recruiting a little bit but it's not really that pressing for me," he said. "I still have two years left of high school so I'm really not in any rush."

Henning, who plans to visit Notre Dame on March 3 is now holding early scholarship offers from Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Miami of Ohio, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, Syracuse and Western Michigan.

Oswego East junior defensive back recruit Justin Clark (6-foot, 180 pounds) has also seen a nice spike in his overall recruiting stock this winter. Clark has been able to add six scholarship offers along with recruiting attention from several Big Ten programs.

"I have offers now from NIU, Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Iowa State, Toledo and Ohio University," according to Clark. "I've also been staying in touch with Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Purdue. Northwestern is waiting on my test score and they seem pretty interested. Iowa, Purdue and Minnesota all want me to come out and visit them on campus and the same goes for all the schools who have offered me."

Clark, who played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety, cornerback as well as return kicks and punts and also punted for Oswego East being recruiting to play at what position in college so far?

"So far the majority of schools are recruiting me to play safety," Clark said. "I'm very open when it comes to position and I also love to return kicks and punts. I just like to be as versatile of a player as I can for my team."

Batavia junior linebacker Michael Jansey Jr. (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) has continued to remain on several college recruiting radar screens this winter and Jansey Jr. has also seen his offers list grow.

"It seems like my recruiting is all starting to come together really well," Jansey Jr. said. "My latest offers from from Miami of Ohio, Kent State, Eastern Kentucky, Cornell and Wyoming."

Jansey Jr, has also remained in steady contact with several Big Ten schools this winter.

"I'm also in touch with Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska," he said. "Also some of the SEC schools are starting to follow me on Twitter. It's just pretty exciting and my recruiting is really starting to all coming together."

Jansey Jr. has early scholarship offers now from Central Michigan, Ball State, Toledo, Illinois State, Iowa State, Western Michigan, Princeton, Cornell, Kent State, Miami of Ohio, Wyoming, Illinois State and Eastern Kentucky.

One of the better stories in the Class of 2019 in Chicagoland has to be Jacobs junior offensive tackle Joacheim Price (6-foot-8, 310 pounds). Price, who has been a mainstay on the Golden Eagles basketball team since his freshman year had never played football until last June. Price is now holding early offers from the likes of Illinois, West Virginia, Iowa State and Northern Illinois this winter. 

"The first time in summer football workouts I didn't know how to get into a stance," Price said. "I had to stay over after every practice that summer just to work on getting into a stance. I also had to learn all of the plays and also learn technique. I just hung in there and kept working and started to gain more and more confidence."