Greer, Orr await return of Marquise Pryor


Greer, Orr await return of Marquise Pryor

Tyquone Greer plays basketball at Orr. So the 6-foot-7 junior doesn't command as much attention from fans or media as players from more celebrated schools and more established programs such as Simeon, Whitney Young, Morgan Park, Marshall or Crane.
But Orr coach Louis Adams is beating a drum in Greer's behalf. "He is one of the best players in the state, a Division I recruit. He is one of the top five players in the state. What separates him from other players? He can put the ball on the floor at 6-foot-7," Adams said.
A lot of major Division I colleges are listening. Greer has scholarship offers from Illinois, DePaul, Wisconsin, Bradley, Baylor, Marquette, Arkansas, Florida State and Providence. And he has attracted interest from Miami (Fla.), South Carolina and Nebraska. More can be expected.
Greer got more exposure last weekend as Orr won three games in Detroit. He had 17 points and eight rebounds in a 61-54 victory over East English Village and 23 points and nine rebounds in a 47-36 triumph over Detroit Frederick Douglass. Louis Adams Jr. had 14 points and four assists in a 46-34 decision over Detroit Community.
They'll return to action on Friday when Orr (9-2) plays Westinghouse in a Public League Red-West match-up.
"This is the best team I've had," coach Louis Adams said. "We are good enough to win state if we do things we are supposed to do and stay disciplined."
Greer said the key to success is working together and believing in each other. "As the coach says: 'Trust in each other.' We can only beat ourselves. We are very athletic and we hustle a lot. Last year's team was a shooting team. They lived and died by the three-point shot. But this team is more into going to the basket," he said.
And the Spartans could be even better. Marquise Pryor, a 6-foot-6 senior who is arguably the team's best player, is due to be released from jail on Feb. 22 and Adams expects him to rejoin the team.
Pryor, who averaged 20 points per game last season and was one of the state's leading rebounders, was arrested last September near his Englewood home and later charged as an adult with gun possession. Already facing a gun charge, he pleaded guilty in both cases and entered Cook County's four-month disciplinary program.
"He has been with me since seventh grade. He is a 17-year-old kid. He made a mistake. He deserves a second chance," Adams said. "With him, we can beat Northern Illinois. He makes us one of the best teams in the country. He is a man out there. He could be our best player. He is probably the best rebounder in the country."
Greer said he is looking forward to Pryor's return. Last year, with Greer and Pryor, Orr finished 22-6 and lost to Wheaton St. Francis in the regional. Three years ago, the Spartans were 19-7 and lost to Riverside-Brookfield in the sectional.
"(Pryor) is a big part of this team," Greer said. "With him, we could be undefeated."
As it is, Greer (16 ppg) and 5-foot-10 senior point guard Jamal McDowell (10 ppg, 8 assists) are the only returning starters from a year ago. They blend with 6-foot-8 junior Marlon Jones (12 ppg, 8 rpg), a transfer from Crane, 6-foot-3 junior Louis Adam Jr. (18 ppg), the coach's son, and 5-foot-11 senior Brandon Clemons (8 ppg), a transfer from Simeon.
Adams Jr., a transfer from Thornton, has offers from DePaul, Bradley and TexasPan-American. He backed up Greer by contributing 39 points in the three-game sweep in Detroit last weekend.
Other contributors are 6-foot-4 junior Armani Ousley and 5-foot-11 junior Jerion Jackson.
Greer's first love was football. A native West Sider, he started playing football with the Vikings youth football team in third grade. He played quarterback and wide receiver. Several high schools recruited him to play football. He opted for St. Patrick. He dreamed of being the next Tom Brady. He wanted to go to Ohio State to play football.
In fact, Ohio State and Baylor are his dream schools--for basketball. "I have been watching Ohio State since I was little. I really wanted to go to Ohio State for football. They haven't offered from basketball. I'm hoping they will. But they haven't shown any interest. It is disappointing. I have another year to show them what I've got," he said.
An unanticipated growth spurt turned Greer's interest from football to basketball. He grew from 6 feet to 6-foot-5 in seventh grade. As he got taller, he began to think basketball was the sport for him, not football. All of a sudden, football was too slow paced for him. He liked to run up and down the basketball court.
"In seventh grade, I started to realize I was pretty good at basketball," Greer said. "I was playing football and basketball at the same time but I committed to basketball in eighth grade. I played football for one year in high school, then stopped because I liked basketball better. And I was committed to St. Patrick but I met coach Adams at an all-star game and transferred to Orr after my freshman year."
Greer's idol is NBA star Kevin Durant. No wonder. "He is tall and can do all the things I can do...dribble, shoot, a lot of things that people my size can't do," he said.
"I'm 100 percent better than last year. I am more aggressive and more physical. I attack the basket more. I'm growing as a player. I'm smarter on the court and more mature on and off the court."
And if Marquise Pryor returns on Feb. 22, there is no telling how much better Greer and his teammates will be. Stay tuned.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time


Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Corey Crawford vs. ... Oscar Dansk? 

The Golden Knights have seen both Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban go down with injuries, so they're scraping for goaltenders at this point.

On one end of the ice, you have one of the best netminders in the league and a two-time Stanley Cup champion in Crawford. On the other, you have a 23-year-old rookie in Dansk making his first official NHL start who will be backed up by a 24-year-old rookie in Maxime Lagace, who has never appeared in an NHL game.

In his first game action, Dansk stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief during Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over St. Louis.

2. Fast start.

The Blackhawks are tied for second in both goals scored (13) and fewest goals allowed (four) in the first period, which has a large reason for their early season success.

The Golden Knights aren't the kind of team that gets out to a blazing start. They've allowed only five goals in the opening frame, but they've scored only five as well, which ranks among the bottom 10 teams in the league. 

3. Beware of James Neal.

The Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to win six of their first seven games of their inaugural season. And they probably don't have half of those wins if it weren't for Neal, who scored the game-winning goal in each of their first three games.

He leads the club with six goals and eight points, and serves as the motor for a team that doesn't have much offensive talent. He's the go-to guy, and somebody you have to keep an eye on when he's on the ice.


Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers


Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Tuesday night tilt against the Cavaliers on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. LeBron James will be on your television

Love him or hate him, LeBron James is must-see TV. Now in his 15th NBA season, James has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite playing just one preseason game (against the Bulls), James has shown anything but rust in three games, averaging 25.0 points on 60 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in nearly 37 minutes. He's a threat every night to do something you've never seen on a basketball court, His Airness included. Justin Holiday and Paul Zipser will have their hands full against the game's best player.

2. Lauri Markkanen, Week 2

Small sample size alert! But through the season's first week Markkanen and Ben Simmons are the only rookies averaging a double-double (Dallas' Dennis Smith has played just one game, averaging 16 points and 10 assists). While the Bulls have struggled through two games, Markkanen's net rating is third best on the team and he leads the Bulls bigs in rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Markkanen has shown some versatility offensively, and his 7 free-throw attempts have been a nice surprise as well.

3. Don't forget: The Bulls swept the Cavaliers last year

OK, so expecting a victory Tuesday night in Cleveland isn't smart. The Bulls will be underdogs just like they were in each of the four games last season, all of which were Bulls winners. It was the first time in 52 division series that LeBron James had been swept, which is pretty remarkable considering the Bulls were the No. 8 seed and the Cavs coasted to a third straight NBA Finals. We're not over here predicting a win. But just remember: the Bulls have fared well against James in the regular season.