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Rees pleased with Golson, even if it means less playing time

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Rees pleased with Golson, even if it means less playing time

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Three months ago, Tommy Rees had to be ready to enter games on a whim in case Everett Golson looked lost in Notre Dame's offense. He came in three times for the redshirt freshman, leading a game-winning scoring drive against Purdue and playing more than half of Notre Dame's 13-6 win over Michigan.
In early November, Rees once again replaced Golson for performance reasons late in the first half of Notre Dames tilt with Pittsburgh. But Golson came back in to that game, and thanks to his efforts plus a little luck, the Irish staved off an upset.
Golson hasn't looked back since Nov. 3. He's earned the trust of Brian Kelly and Chuck Martin to play through whatever struggles may arise.
But that doesn't mean Rees can take his helmet off and loiter around the sidelines, thanks to a rule that makes a player who had his helmet knocked off during a play sit out the following down.
"Thats come up on some third downs here, luckily been successful in a couple of them," Rees smirked. "Yeah, its another way that Everett manages for me to get thrown in there, but its been a fun run."
That run began in August, when Rees' one-game suspension for a May arrest knocked him out Notre Dame's fall camp quarterback battle before it even started. But while Rees didn't make an impact on the field, he was universally praised by the participants of the summer competition.
"He's been such a positive influence on all three of the younger guys," Andrew Hendrix said in August. "Having Tommy back there at all times is really an invaluable resource that we have."
For Golson, Rees was accessible for more than just quick questions on the field. The pair roomed together during camp, with the seasoned Rees serving as support for the relatively green Golson.
"Oh man, thered be a couple late night discussions," Rees explained. "Hed ask me what I thought he needed to improve on, you know, dont hold anything back.
"And I told him the truth sometimes -- I told him the truth all the time, sometimes it wasnt what he wanted to hear," Rees quickly corrected with a laugh. "But any way I could help, and Ive had a lot of fun working with him."
When Golson was named Notre Dame's starting quarterback in mid-August, it was tough to imagine him holding that role for a team that'll play for a title in early January. Even Golson himself couldn't have envisioned that.
"Id like to say I did, but really, I couldn't," Golson said. "Me being so young, you dont think about that, you kind of think about the smaller things -- whats going to happen on this play. You worry about the little things, you definitely dont want to mess up the little details."
Golson has reached the point where he feels he has the science of the position, to borrow a term used by Kelly plenty of times leading up to the season, down pretty well. The redshirt freshman is growing into a leader on the offense, too, a role that'll become more important with the departures of Braxston Cave, Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick (and potentially Zack Martin) after the season ends.
Rees, though, has one more year of eligibility left at Notre Dame, and is firmly entrenched in a backup role. But he doesn't necessarily seem unhappy with it, which makes sense given teammates have projected him as a great coach someday.
Hes already showcased that talent, to some extent, by taking Golson under his wing.
"Hes an extremely talented player, and he had some growth but its been exciting to watch him grow on the field and off the field this year, Rees lauded. Hes a tremendous young man and young player, and its been a lot of fun working with him.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Draymond Green? Assuming the Dubs start out with Green on Markkanen, this will be rookie's biggest test of the season. Green is an elite defender, capable of wrecking gameplans from the tip. He's physical, quick and athletic. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph, KD and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard. 

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.