Bulls

Frankie O: Line of demarcation

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Frankie O: Line of demarcation

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com
There are events that create these lines in our lives and nothing is the same. For anyone associated with Penn State University, a line was drawn on November 5, 2011, and there is no going back. For the alleged victims of Jerry Sanduskys evil, predatory reign these lines were unfortunately drawn a long time ago, covered in a sickening shroud. I can only hope that for their sake that a new, uplifting one can be drawn, but the cynic, and realist, in me has no idea if that can ever be the case.

I think about these victims every day. Thats the parent in me. I cant help but feel a little guilty whenever I give my little ones a hug and kiss. I realize how precious they are and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. For some reason Ive been doing it a lot more frequently lately. How some monster could see them as something else is very unsettling. Seeing children for the gift they are is at the core being a parent. I dont know if it is coincidental that Sandusky does not have any biological children of his own. I know for myself, when my oldest was born it changed the way I looked at everything. First and foremost was the unconditional love and need to provide for and protect the new center of my universe. And not being unaware of what was right or wrong, being responsible for someone elses little angel took on an entire new meaning. I cant think of a bigger responsibility then when I am in charge of the care of someone's child.

That a sick deviate can exist is something that a behavioral psychologist can try to explain, but that doesnt mean the normal-thinking of us can understand. The issues being dealt with here are beyond any sort of acceptable behavior. But what makes me especially nauseous in this case is that there where highly educated people, who were put in a position because they should know better, and they did nothing to stop the atrocities from continuing. When procedure means that a university official can determine when a crime has occurred without consulting police, this should be a big red flag that morality has been shoved aside for profitability.

The more we learn the sicker it gets. I dont know when the thought of a cover-up began, but you cant convince me that isnt what occurred. In that case, what kind of monster agrees the safety and innocence of young kids is worth saving the program? I cant begin to fathom the depths of the feelings of the victims, but how could one be so unfeeling as to turn their backs on them?

The fallout, of course, is that it casts a stain on anyone associated with the university in any way. I know there has been a lot of talk about the current team and I get that, but this is much bigger. Being a symbol for child abuse, which the university now is, means that anyone who wears the Penn State colors, walks on the university campus or has the name prominently featured in their resume, is going to have to answer questions and explain how they feel about what has occurred.

Hopefully this will create enough emotion that it motivates us to make sure that the truth is learned and no matter who it is, anyone in any way responsible will have to pay a price.

Not that that will erase any of what has happened. Listening to the Bob Costas interview with Sandusky on Monday was chilling. I wont try to analyze his pauses and inflections for what secret meaning they possess, I think its obvious enough, but by just going on the facts of what he was talking about, at what point is it appropriate behavior for a man in his 50s to be showering at any time, let alone late at night in an empty building, with a young boy? Horeseplay? Again, I dont understand why this guy is not in jail! Not only that, he has no restrictions on his movements or is being monitored. In fact he was advised by his attorney, to take a vacation with his wife so he will be ready for the stress of the upcoming trial. Does that make anyone else angry?

This brings me to the least understood situation of what we are dealing with, at least with some that I talk to. These victims must confront their abuser in a court of law if justice is to be done. In a way it is to re-live their nightmare over again for all to see. I know that this is a fundamental procedure in our judicial system, and rightfully so, but it rips at my heart to think of how painful that must be. One can only hope that they have the strength and support to be able to do what must be done. And now that they are older, they can finally stand up to the person who willfully took advantage of them, in a way they were unable to as a child.

That is also how people are going to understand the magnitude of what has taken place. This story still has many, many unanswered questions. What has yet to come out is the explanations of what those tied to the university will use as their excuse. Im sure it will center on one person though, and whether you believe them or him. Mike McQueary being able to talk has to make a lot of people nervous. He also will have a say in the way that Joe Paterno will be viewed from here on out, although there still are some who refuse to believe that Joe could have done any wrong. At this point its a little late for that kind of thinking, isnt it? Its going to be to what degree of wrong, when all is said and done.

But whatever happens, its going to be when we hear from the kids themselves that this whole awful episode will hit home. No amount of spin-doctoring is going to be able to change what happened to them and the culture that allowed it to happen more than once.

The contradiction that is Paterno and what was built at Penn State is that we should strive to be something better, that education and brotherhood are great virtues. But the measure of what we achieve isnt in the magnitude of what we have built, it is in the knowledge that we make this a better place to live one at a time, bringing everyone with us, especially those who cant always fend for themselves. Somehow, Paterno and those around him forgot this very basic idea. They became enamored with themselves and all that they possessed. Soon we will learn at what price.

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

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USA TODAY

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

Everybody saw the play, that awkward instance where Zach LaVine looked ready for his second dunk of the season but was fouled from behind by Atlanta’s Taurean Prince.

It looked as if LaVine was ready for liftoff but one of his jets misfired, sparking at least the thought of his recovery from his ACL injury being a bit off—but he laughed at the thought.

“I don’t know why everybody keeps talking about it,” LaVine said Sunday at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, where the Bulls held practice. “The dude stepped on the back of my foot, so I couldn’t get off the ground. Everybody’s wondering if I’m okay, yeah. I just missed a fouled layup.”

The adrenaline from his first two games have worn off a bit, and he missed his first four shots from the field Saturday before hitting a couple in the start of the third quarter in the Bulls’ 113-97 win over the Hawks.

He looked winded a few times during his stint and admitted his conditioning isn’t where it should be—as expected given he’s missed 11 months of real basketball. He said his conditioning is at about “70 percent”, and you can certainly see it in his jump shot not being as fluid as it was last season in Minnesota.

“It was feeling good in practice but in games it’s seventy,” LaVine said. “Playing defense, getting back, running the break, just getting used to it.”

Add to it, the Bulls cover the most halfcourt ground of any team in the NBA with their set offense and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has long said he’s not slowing down his offense while LaVine is in.

The shooting guard will have to catch up to the pace, and it’ll probably be better for him in the long run.

“I think it’s just ‘okay’ and rightfully so,” said Hoiberg about LaVine’s conditioning. “It’s impossible to simulate game action in practices when you’re doing individual workouts. Every time he plays that conditioning will ramp up. As he plays, it’ll get better and better. And he’s such a good and natural athlete, it’ll come back quickly.”

Hoiberg isn’t concerned about the variances in LaVine’s performances. He came out the gate with such force and adrenaline in his debut against Detroit and two days later against Miami, but it’s tailed off against Golden State and then Atlanta.

“I think Zach’s doing great,” Hoiberg said. “You look around the league where players have come back from significant injuries, he’s gonna be up and down. His first two games he’s been unbelievable. A couple games he hasn’t shot the ball great. He played unselfish basketball last night.”

LaVine’s minutes has been extended to 24 from 20, and he’ll still practice in the off-days as the Bulls want to keep his rehab on schedule as opposed to having him play heavy minutes initially.

He’ll be re-evaluated after Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia and could see his minutes rise before the Bulls host the Lakers Friday at the United Center.

“I should just get used to it,” LaVine said. “Just getting used to the swing of things. It takes a second for your body to get adjusted to it.”

Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Pregame Live.

1. Anthony Davis

The five-time All-Star just continues to improve. While he's not averaging career-highs in any major category, no one's going to scoff at his 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.1 blocks in 36 minutes per game. He's shooting nearly 56 percent from the field and is on pace for a career-best in 3-pointers made, which is a pretty impressive statistic. Lauri Markkanen will have his hands full, and it may be in the Bulls' best interest to get Nikola Mirotic some early minutes to try and get physical with Davis. There's no real way to slow him down.

2. DeMarcus Cousins

And if the Bulls should so happen to get lucky and slow down Davis, there's another All-Star starter waiting alongside him. Boogie Cousins has been every bit as good as Davis this season, averaging 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 36 minutes. He's certainly not as efficient as Davis (47 percent from the field, 5.0 turnovers) but is deadly inside. He's shooting a career-best 52.8 percent on 2-pointers this season, and his 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks make him a serviceable defender (although the Bulls could certainly stretch their offense to make him work more).

3. Rajon Rondo

Rondo hasn't been great in his first season with the Pellies, but perhaps he's turning things around. Beginning with his absurd 25-assist game just after Christmas, Rondo is averaging 7.4 points, 8.2 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He's allowed Jrue Holiday to play more off the ball, and while his defense is nothing to write home about he's logging solid minutes for a Pelicans team woefully short in the backcourt.