Bulls

Notre Dame's McDaniel helps healing process back home

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Notre Dame's McDaniel helps healing process back home

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Cam McDaniel could have kept his game ball, the one he earned in Notre Dame's biggest win in a decade. He could have kept it, and looked at it as a testament to the hard work he's had to do in the face of a difficult position change and loaded depth chart.
That game ball didn't make the trip back north with McDaniel.
After receiving it, he wrote the date and score of Notre Dame's win over Oklahoma on the ball and signed it with a dedication to the family of Jacob Logan.
Logan was a sophomore when McDaniel was a senior at Coppell High School outside of Dallas. Two years later, Logan -- a wide receiver -- starred for an outstanding Coppell squad alongside McDaniel's brother, Gavin, a running back.
On a warm mid-October day, Logan, McDaniel and a few teammates went to a lake house about 80 miles outside Forth Worth. Cliff diving was a pretty standard activity at the lake, and Gavin McDaniel and Logan jumped in.
McDaniel went first, and Logan leapt in right after him.
"My brother came up, and he didnt," Cam McDaniel said.
It took five days before dive and search teams found Logan's body. He was 17.
"Its been a very, very hurtful, grieving time for this community, especially the athletics family," Coppell coach Joe McBride said. "Jacob was a lot like Cam, he was such a great kid, great leader and great player. And when you lose a guy out of the community, unexpectedly like that, the backlash was just so painful."
Football, though, has played an important role in the healing process. In Coppell's first game after Logan's death, Gavin McDaniel broke off a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game, celebrating in the end zone by signing "21" with his hands. That was Logan's number.
And that was Cam McDaniel's number on Saturday in Oklahoma.
McDaniel normally wears No. 33, but went to coach Brian Kelly and asked if he could wear No. 21 to honor his former teammate. Kelly gave him his blessing, but McDaniel still had to talk to the guy with 21 as his number to go through with it.
Jalen Brown was going to have plenty of family make the three-hour drive from the Dallas area to Norman for Notre Dame-Oklahoma, so switching numbers could have been a headache.
"I knew that was going to be even a tough position for him to be in," McDaniel said. "But he was just awesome about it. He was a great friend and understood the situation and was more than happy to switch jerseys for that week. Big shout-out to Jalen there."
McDaniel called McBride in the middle of last week. The former Coppell star and current Coppell coach talked about McDaniel's possibly-increased role against OU -- McDaniel knew he was going to play cornerback and explained how he would be returning kicks if George Atkinson wasn't feeling better. Then, McDaniel informed his coach about the number switch.
"I told him to tell coach Kelly we appreciate him allowing him to do that," McBride said. "It meant a lot to a lot of people here."
So when McDaniel took the field for Notre Dame's biggest game of the year, he was honoring Jacob Logan. He returned four kicks for 77 yards and recorded a tackle while working as a cornerback, helping give Notre Dame's offense field position and hold OU's offense to just 13 points.
McDaniel's had some impressive games at his natural position of running back -- he carried 11 times for 55 yards and a touchdown against Miami, and nine times for 60 yards and a touchdown against Navy -- but those largely came well after Notre Dame's first-stringers put the Irish by a wide margin. So McDaniel's performance against Oklahoma had a lot more riding on it for Notre Dame.
But it also had plenty riding on it for the community of Coppell.
"He just gave a little bit more healing, he gave a little bit more, for lack of a better word, he just continued a bit of the healing process just getting his teammate to be continued to be honored down the road," McBride said. "Every time we can do something to keep him in our forethoughts and memory and still make him a part of our lives, it makes everybody really excited."
But McDaniel didn't honor Logan with just his jersey.
McDaniel left the game ball with his brother, Gavin. And Gavin delivered it to the Logan family. McDaniel gave up a prized possession to help the healing of a grieving family over the loss of their son, and his friend.
"It was a powerful thing," McBride said.

11 Bulls - including Cameron Payne - received a player vote to start in the All-Star Game

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USA TODAY

11 Bulls - including Cameron Payne - received a player vote to start in the All-Star Game

Maybe the rest of the NBA has really taken notice of the Bulls' recent play. After all, they're 13-8 since a putrid 3-20 start and are within shouting distance (if you yell really loudly) of the No. 8 spot in the East.

So maybe that's why 11 different Bulls - including the infamous Cameron Payne - received at least one vote to start in the NBA All-Star Game in February. That, or the players could not care less about the voting process and made a mockery of it for a second straight year.

This could become a get-off-my-lawn story, and we could go on for hours about why the NBA should really reconsider giving players 25 percent of the vote on starters. Then again, as a whole they seemed to get it right in the East, with Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt, and LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid in the frontcourt. 

But instead of complaining, let's just get to the hilarious results and show you how the Bulls fared in both the player and fan voting (no Bulls received any media votes, because they shouldn't have).

Fun fact: The Bulls combined received 170,669 fan votes. That's about 5,000 less than Rockets center Clint Capela received. Their 31 combined player votes were two more than Carmelo Anthony received, so yeah.

High School Lites features several teams with long winning streaks

High School Lites features several teams with long winning streaks

High School Lites is focused on the small schools this week as the show sticks with Class 1A and Class 2A teams that you need to get familiar with before the state tournament. The show has some long winning streaks to keep an eye on as teams with 15, 14, 13 and 12-game winning streaks will all be featured on Friday night.

Be sure to catch an all-new edition of High School Lites on Friday on 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago.

Thursday

Fenger at Corliss, 6:30 p.m. -- We head to the Public League White-South for this one as Corliss hosts Fenger. Corliss (16-2, 7-0) is riding a 14-game winning streak as they've only lost to one Illinois opponent this season. Senior big man George Conditt is a major All-Area threat as the Iowa State commit is putting up massive numbers. Fenger (8-7, 2-5) has dropped three straight games as they try to earn a win over a rival to get back in the conference mix.

Friday

Aurora Christian at Mooseheart, 7:30 p.m. -- Undefeated Aurora Christian heads to Northeastern Athletic rival Mooseheart in this one. The Eagles (15-0, 5-0) are the only unbeaten team left in the area as they feature senior guard Jake Wolfe, an All-Area candidate and Lipscomb commit. Mooseheart (8-2, 4-1) is also in the midst of a solid season as they had an easy win over Alden-Hebron in their last game. 

Alden-Hebron at Westminster Christian, 7:30 p.m. -- Staying in the Northeastern Athletic, Westminster Christian hosts Alden-Hebron. The Warriors (13-3, 5-0) have won three straight games, including an important win over Mooseheart that helped keep them tied for first place with Aurora Christian. Alden-Hebron (2-13, 1-4) wil try to earn its first win in over a month.

Burlington Central at Marengo, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the better teams in the Kishwaukee Valley play here. Marengo (10-5, 1-1) is coming off a 10-day layoff after beating Genoa-Kingston on the road. Burlington Central (16-2, 3-0) has won 13 straight games as they won the Plano Christmas Classic and their own Martin Luther King event. 

Crane at Collins, 5:00 p.m. -- Two unbeatens collide in the Public League White-South in this one. Collins (11-5, 7-0) has won three of its last four as they held off Jones for a win earlier this week. Crane (11-8, 7-0) is also hot as they've won three straight games heading into this one, as they also got a win earlier this week over Clemente. 

Momence at Watseka, 7:30 p.m. -- A matchup of unbeatens teams in the Sangamon Valley in this one. Watseka (13-5, 2-0) has won four straight games as they look to take the lead in the conference. Momence (14-2, 3-0) had an 11-game winning streak snapped when they lost to Herscher on the road. 

Northridge at Latin, 6:00 p.m. -- The Independent School League's top two teams do battle in this one. Latin (12-6, 5-1) is trying to catch up with Northridge for the conference lead as they just had a major test against Niles North in a non-conference loss. Northridge (12-5, 6-0) is coming off a win earlier this week against Morgan Park Academy as they 

Beecher at St. Anne, 7:00 p.m. -- The River Valley is one of the most hotly-contested conference races in the area, as four teams sit within one game of first place. St. Anne (8-8, 5-1) currently leads the league over three other teams as they've won four of the their last five games. Beecher (9-11, 4-2) gave St. Anne its only conference loss with a 52-44 win on Nov. 30 at home. Now the Bobcats see if they can pick up the season sweep on the road.  

Christ The King at Hope Academy, 7:30 p.m. -- A Chicago Prep Red conference game in this one. Hope Academy (15-4, 1-0) has won seven of its last eight as they're one of the better small schools in the city. Christ the King (10-7, 1-1) is coming off a win over Eisenhower earlier this week as they try to gain a game on Hope Academy in the league standings. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Ellison at Northtown, 6:30 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week heads to the Chicago Prep Black as two conference unbeatens play. Northtown (13-4, 1-0) has won 12 straight games since a 1-4 start as they haven't lost since Nov. 30. Ellison (9-10, 2-0) has won two straight games as they try to take the conference lead. These two teams also play a second conference game at Ellison later this season on Feb. 5.