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High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

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High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
8:14 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

The best Chicagoland prep basketball action can be seen right here on Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com. This week's edition of High School Lites features many ranked teams in YourSeason.com's Super 25, including a tilt between 3 Benet and 14 Notre Dame. We head out to Woodstock for our Team of the Week: Marian Central Catholic. You might see a familiar face on their bench-- former DePaul player Curtis Price, who is now their head coach. We'll also bring you the story of a standout girls basketball player who is living a 'fantasy' life for the Wheaton North Falcons. Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover Friday night:

York @ (13) Proviso West, 6:00pm

It could be a key early-season West Suburban Silver contest Friday in Hillside. The Dukes are off to another good start at 4-1. Senior guard Will Sullivan scored 23 points in their latest victory-- a 64-54 decision over Hinsdale Central. As for the Panthers, it'll be the first of a back-to-back with mighty East Aurora and Ryan Boatright lurking on Saturday. P-W, behind senior Ryan Woods, dominated Glenbard West last Friday 69-54.

(11) Thornton @ Andrew, 6:30pm

Four starters are back for the Thornton Wildcats this season, including guard Brian Greene. He teamed up with Bernard Brame and Dimitrius Hardwick in a convincing 68-47 win over Von Steuben at Sunday's Public League Shootout. Andrew is the proverbial team that nobody wants to play-- especially in Tinley Park. This vastly-improved team includes the Adekoya brothers: Jabbar, Jawad and Jubril, who can cause fits for the opposition.

Romeoville @ (20) Plainfield North, 7:00pm

The Southwest Prairie conference is there for the taking this season-- and both the Spartans and the 20th ranked Tigers figure to do some damage. Romeoville's defense was tough on the road last Friday, holding Minooka to 30 points. P-N's Jack Krieger is one of the top guards in the conference. Last season, he made 67 or 125 shots from 3-point range (53.6). He scored 39 points against Plainfield South earlier this season.

Ridgewood @ Fenton, 7:00

It's a family affair at west-suburban Ridgewood High School. New head coach Chris Mroz, the oldest of four boys, looks for his kid brother (Petey) to be a big contributor on the team. Guard John Caravia is another player to keep an eye on for the Rebels. The host Bison are paced by senior forward Dan Montano. Both teams figure to chase Riverside-Brookfield in the Metro Suburban this year...winners of nine straight conference titles.

(9) Proviso East @ Addison Trail, 7:30pm

The 9th-ranked Pirates have had plenty of time to think about the 85-63 dismantling by Hales in the St. Charles East Thanksgiving tournament. Now it's time to refocus, as the West Suburban Gold conference schedule awaits. The Pirates figure to be a force in conference, with guard Keith Carter setting the pace. Addison Trail is looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 64-61 overtime loss against Stagg.

Metea Valley @ (15) East Aurora, 7:30pm

This is the first year of varsity-level competition for the Metea Valley Mustangs. Last year, the JV squad was an impressive 23-2. Will it translate to wins on the varsity level? Their competition won't get much tougher than East Aurora. The Tomcats, led by Connecticut-bound superstar guard Ryan Boatright, look to set the tone in the Upstate Valley Eight conference.
Mt. Carmel @ Seton, 7:30pm

Illinois recruit Tracy Abrams took care of business in the Caravan's 88-56 victory over St. Francis de Sales last week-- the opener for their Catholic League East schedule. Abrams and fellow senior guard Malcolm Hill-Bey will face a challenge this Friday at Seton. The Sting feature a stellar player in Rodney Marshall. Both teams figure to challenge Leo for conference supremacy.

St. Francis de Sales @ (21) Leo, 7:30pm

The other side of the Catholic League East conference features the aforementioned Leo Lions, who just got by Seton earlier this season, 65-62. Leo returns nearly all of the players from last year's 25-9 team, and it includes Paul Beene Jr. and Maurice Joyner. A huge showdown with Mt. Carmel lies ahead on December 17th, but Leo cannot afford to overlook the Pioneers.

(14) Notre Dame @ (3) Benet, 7:30pm

The top matchup in Chicagoland Friday night. The visiting Dons are cruising. They have a 7-0 record which is head coach Tom Les best start ever. Rodney Prior has been on autopilot so far this season. He is coming off a 22 point performance against Loyola and has a 34 point game to his credit this year as well. Their defense has been tough, but will it be enough to stop Benet's Big 10 tandem of Dave Sobolewski (Northwestern) and 6-10 center Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)? It'll be quite a battle in the western suburbs Friday night.

GBB: North Lawndale @ (2) Whitney Young, 5:30pm

The Dolphins of Whitney Young try to continue their dominance of the girls basketball landscape in Chicagoland. And for once, they'll actually have a game in Chicago. Young has already played schools in the Memphis area, and they will travel to Detroit over the holidays and then take on competition from Wisconsin and St. Louis once the new year starts. They boast four college prospects: Chanise Trix Jenkins (DePaul), Kiana Johnson (Michigan State), Dija Disu (Texas Southern) and Bryesha Blair (Central Florida).

Check us out this Friday night just after our coverage of the Bulls-Lakers game. High School Lites streams live at CSNChicago.com.

'Adapt or die' is the perfect motto for Matt Nagy's coaching staff

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USA TODAY

'Adapt or die' is the perfect motto for Matt Nagy's coaching staff

Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor offered a, well, interesting assessment of his coaching philosophy while meeting the media at Halas Hall for the first time on Thursday.

“One thing that we say is adapt or die,” Tabor explained. “The dinosaurs couldn't figure it out and they became extinct.

“Coaches, they don't figure it out, they get fired. So we'll adapt, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of it.”

This wasn’t some veiled shot at John Fox — far from it, though it’s worth mentioning Fox did say last year: “I’m not an offensive coordinator, I’m not a defensive coordinator, I’m not a special teams coordinator, but I coordinate all three.” More than anything, Tabor’s comment pointed out the dinosaurs didn’t have a distinct schematic advantage over an asteroid.

But Cretaceous reference aside, Tabor’s more relevant point is one that seems to mesh well with Matt Nagy’s style: Be open to ideas, and be willing to change them if they’re not working.

And that’s exactly how a 39-year-old first-time head coach should approach things. Nagy comes across as supremely confident in what he’s doing but also secure in his own coaching talents to accept criticism or other ideas from those he trusts. In short: He doesn’t seem like a my-way-or-the-highway kind of a guy who could get caught trying to be the smartest guy in the room. This was a pitfall that, for example, Josh McDaniels encountered in his ill-fated tenure with the Denver Broncos (one of his notes after he was fired in 2011 was “listen better,” as Dan Pompei detailed in an enlightening story here).

“Each and every one of these guys has a lot of experience in that world and so for me, being a young coach coming into it for the first time, surround myself with people that have strong character and have been through those situations and know how to deal with it,” Nagy said. “Trust me, throughout this process, I'll be going to these guys for advice, and that's OK because it's only going to make me better.”

Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich doesn’t have any experience in the NFL, but Nagy didn’t view that as a problem. Instead, Nagy pointed to Helfrich’s experience running Chip Kelly’s innovative Oregon offense, which he feels can, among other factors, “help me grow not only as an offensive coach but as a head coach.”

And on the other side of that, Nagy said he and Helfrich are deep in discussions of what the Bears’ offense will look like in 2018, and the exchange of ideas has already been positive. Specifically, Nagy said Helfrich’s openness to different run- and pass-game philosophies stands out.

“That’s some of the stuff that we’re literally in right now, going through some of the things we do offensively and brainstorming,” Nagy said. “What do you like? What do you don’t like? And so, you know, for us, that’s the fun part, just trying to go through some of the offensive stuff and seeing where we’re at."

As for Nagy’s approach to the Bears’ defense, it’s simple: “Don't let teams score points,” he said. There’s obviously more to it than that, but Vic Fangio said he’s appreciated Nagy’s willingness to discuss different philosophies and ideas with him so far.

“He’s attacking it with enthusiasm, an open mind, open to finding out better ways to do things potentially,” Fangio said. “Especially since he’s been under one head coach his whole career, that’s not the only way to do things. And I think he’s open to that. So it’s been all positive.”

Saying and doing all the right things in terms of openness to new ideas doesn’t guarantee that Nagy’s reign will be a successful one in Chicago. But it does bolster the thought that Nagy — and his coaching staff — are on the right track in the nascent stages of turning around the Bears.

Bulls thankful Kris Dunn's injury wasn't worse; Zach LaVine cleared for extended minutes

Bulls thankful Kris Dunn's injury wasn't worse; Zach LaVine cleared for extended minutes

The fall was nasty and the concussion was substantial for Kris Dunn. But at second blush the Bulls are thankful it wasn’t worse.

Given the way his body jerked after Dunn released himself from the rim, the Bulls are glad he didn’t suffer a neck injury in addition to the concussion and dislocated front teeth.

“It could have been a major, major injury,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Obviously, it is a significant one with the concussion. You can't take these things lightly, but with the way that he fell and hit head first, we're really thankful that he'll be back hopefully before too long. But obviously we'll take things very cautiously, a cautious approach with this because of how significant concussions are. But hopefully we'll get him back soon.”

Dunn has braces on the front teeth to stabilize them, and Hoiberg said he’ll see the doctor every day over the next several days, per the league's concussion protocol. There’s a chance Dunn could join the Bulls on the three-game road trip, but he’ll miss at least Saturday’s game in Atlanta. The Bulls travel to New Orleans on Monday and Philadelphia on Wednesday.

It’s the second freak injury Dunn has suffered this season, in addition to dislocating his finger in the preseason. He struggled with it initially upon returning but recently had shown no signs of issues with it.

Dealing with a concussion and also a mouth injury makes things more complicated as far as his playing style. He plays aggressive and fast, bordering on recklessness occasionally.

Hoiberg doesn’t believe that will change when Dunn returns.

“I don't think it's going to change the way Kris plays,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously it was very unfortunate in the timing because he had a couple of really good plays there to get things really turned in our favor and get the momentum going down the stretch and they get a called timeout and get a layup out of it right away. Then we still had our chances late in that game. Kris was responsible as anybody for getting that game to striking distance. Unfortunately, we just couldn't make the plays we needed to to get the win.”

The more conservative style of Jerian Grant will take over in Dunn’s absence. Grant has been steady as a backup, averaging 7.6 points and 4.6 assists. Unlike Dunn, though, Grant hasn’t had issues with turnovers, at a four-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio this year.

Teams will dare Grant to beat them from the outside, as he’s missed 15 of his 16 3-point attempts this month.

“I've been here before, so I'm prepared. I've started a lot of games so far in my career, so I'm ready for it,” Grant said. “The last time I started, we got a win. I did what I had to do so I'm prepared to do whatever we need to do to get a win.”

Where Grant will receive relief is from Zach LaVine getting clearance for more minutes, as he’ll play in the fourth quarters and will have his minute-restriction increased to 24 minutes.

LaVine will likely play some point guard during stretches, and is shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range in the small sample size of three games and 19.7 minutes.

“We're not going to overextend him right now because he's still obviously very early in the process as far as getting back on the floor and getting in game shape,” Hoiberg said. “We don't want to get him fatigued out there so we'll keep his rotation stretches short. But wee will hopefully have him available some in the fourth quarter to give us what Kris does down the stretch, who's been as good as anybody on our team as far as helping out close games.”