NCAA Talk

Word On The Street: NU extending Fitzgerald?

Word On The Street: NU extending Fitzgerald?

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Contract extension for NU coach?

Teddy Greenstein reports that top Northwestern University officials are working on a lucrative and comprehensive contract extension for Pat Fitzgerald, in an effort to make the coach part of the program for many years to come. The deal is expected to be wrapped up in the next few weeks.

The Big Ten coach already has a deal through 2015, but NU athletic director Jim Phillips told Fitzgerald that the school wanted to enhance his contract after this season.

Kerry Wood demands broadcast job?

In December, Wood signed a 1.5 million, one-year deal with the Cubs. WSCR-AM 670 reported that Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood had a clause in his contract guaranteeing him of a broadcast job after his playing career ends.

According to a Cubs spokesperson, "there is absolutely no truth to that."

CSNChicago's David Kaplan spoke with Kerry Wood and the Cubs reliever laughed off the story saying "I have no interest in broadcasting and that report is untrue." (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Reed Johnson back on the North Side

Fans were pleased when the Chicago Cubs signed Kerry Wood last month. Now another fan favorite is back in the friendly confines.

Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan reports that outfielder Reed Johnson was signed to a minor-league deal with no guaranteed money. Johnson won over fans with his wall-banging dives during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. According to Sullivan, he'll be competing with Fernando Perez for the reserve outfield spot. (Chicago Tribune)

Notre Dame's Floyd passes on NFL

Michael Floyd accepted the Sun Bowl MVP trophy on New Years Eve and his teammates knew that he had played his final game for Notre Dame. But Wednesday Floyd announced that he will be back for his senior season.

"This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make," Floyd said. "My dream has always been to play in the NFL but I didn't think that this was the best time to make that jump." (Chicago Tribune)
Seahawks coach teaches press conference etiquette

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was interrupted during his press conference in which he addressed the media about his upcoming opponent Chicago Bears. The interruption came from a reporter's cell phone. Using it as an audio recorder, the phone was placed on Carroll's podium, and started vibrating in the middle of the presser.

Carroll was a good sport about the mishap, answering the phone and politely telling the caller that it was not a good time to talk, as he was in the middle of something. (Yahoo Sports)
Bulls commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 9, the North Suburban YMCA hosted a special event celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Current and former Chicago Bulls players visited the event and met with participants of the Y youth basketball program and children from the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.

Ronnie Brewer, Sidney Green, and Bob Love signed autographs and posed for pictures with the children after watching a film about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, and then led a discussion about the effect Dr. King had on the nation. (Trib Local)

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

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USA TODAY

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

On the heels of a 12-win improvement, UIC basketball is riding confidently into the new season. 

And why shouldn't they be? Head coach Steve McClain returns a young, talented nucleus that's expected to challenge for a Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. 

In fact, the program is in such good shape that they thought: Let's play Kentucky. 

Yup, that's right. The UIC Flames will match up with the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, a necessary stage in development, according to McClain. 

“Every year you build your program, there’s steps you have to take," McClain said. "When we got the opportunity to go to Kentucky, I think that’s the next level of exposure for our program.

"When you're chasing trying to be great, you gotta show your kids and show people what greatness looks like. I don't think anyone can argue what Kentucky has done, so I want to put our kids in that environment so they see what it is." 

The contrast between programs is severe. UIC hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2004. The Wildcats have made 11 since then. UIC has never advanced out of the first round at the Big Dance. Kentucky has eight National Championships. 

Even this upcoming season, as the Flames boast one of their most skilled teams in school history, none of them were ever touted like Kentucky's freshman class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation per ESPN. 

But the disparities in past successes don't seem to bother UIC. Instead, players, who were likely snubbed by bigger schools in recruitment, are excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage that the Flames rarely see. 

“First I was like, ‘It’s about time we got someone like (Kentucky) on our schedule,’" said center Tai Odiase, one of the few seniors on the roster. "We’ve been trying to play bigger teams to showcase what we’re made of."

“I don’t see why you go into a place like that without a chip on your shoulder. You don’t go in there just to play basketball, we’re trying to win."

UIC will be heavy, heavy underdogs. There's no way around that. But there are certain spots where they may not be at such a disadvantage. 

On the defensive end, Odiase continued to terrorize guards and big men alike, finishing fifth in the NCAA with 2.9 blocks per game. The dynamic guard duo from "The Six," Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey, are quick enough to hang and both took a huge step down the stretch last season. Then there's the return of 2015-2016 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Dikembe Dixson, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

"The doctors at times thought he was a freak of nature because he was back as quick as he was," McClain said.  

Still, it's a tune-up game for Kentucky, who also scheduled Kansas, UCLA and Louisville on their non-conference slate. But one team's expected walk through is another team's vital experience. 

"Our guys can walk in and see that on a given night, you can compete with anyone," McClain said. 

Given new athletic director Garrett Klassy's comments at his introductory press conference, it doesn't seem as if games like this are a one-hit wonder for UIC. 

“I am an aggressive scheduler," Klassy said. "I helped with the scheduling at George Washington. We’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"You want to measure yourself against the best. We have a lot of returning starters. It’ll be nice to go on the road, play a tough game and maybe sneak out an upset."