Preps Talk

Rose bounces back in a big way for Bulls


Rose bounces back in a big way for Bulls

AUBURN HILLS, MIch.At least we know Derrick Rose doesnt have selective amnesia, forgetting the games he wants to forget.

Following his nightmarish 1-for-13 performance in the Bulls overtime win against the Heat Thursday at the United Center, Rose told the media after Saturdays practice that he had amnesia and already put that game behind him.

After Sundays win at Detroit, in which he scored 24 points, dished out nine assists and saved the Bulls from an upset loss by hitting a game-tying three-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in regulation to send the contest into the extra session, Rose proved that it was true with a strong individual outing and afterwards, he credited both his teammates and his own work ethic for the bounce-back game.

Were learning from it. Were finding ways to win. I dont know how, but were finding ways. We have a good team, man. Im trying to catch up with my teammates. Im trying to play as hard as them and Im trying to get my rhythm back, but theyre allowing me to. They give me the ball in situations where I was in before the injury. Im just trying to learn my way through it, the reigning MVP explained afterwards.

It was a brawl. Theyre a good team. Theyre still trying to win and they played hard. We had the game. We were up by 12 in the third, we let the game slip and fought our way back.

Its coming along, man. Ive still got to get used to the tape, but driving, I think its coming along. Just shooting, just my rhythm is coming along, he continued. Just working on my game, man. Every off day, just in the gym, just shooting shots. Driving, doing Mikan drills, just trying to get the feel for the ball and the basket.

Uncharacteristically, Rose shot four airballs in the gameIm shooting them. Im shooting airballs, he admitted. Thats not stopping me. If I get an open shot, Im shooting it. but he came up big when it counted most Sunday.

I just saw I had an open shot. I thought they were going to foul. Right when I saw BG Gordon didnt foul me and Monroe was kind of back some, I just shot the ball, he said, describing the shot that sent the game into overtime. Freelancing. Pick-and-roll, see what we can get in transition. They backed up and I shot the ball.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was pleased with Roses progress since Thursday.

I thought he was very explosive today. I thought he was terrific. He was in the lane. He still had some bobbles, but I thought his pick-and-roll offense was unbelievable. Changing direction was great and I thought he was getting to the rim, and he didnt get the calls, but he was getting hit, so hes got to keep going, he said.

Every time hes come back, its never more than a game with him. The other night, he struggled a little bit, but he had eight or nine assists and hes into the game, and hes a great leader, great leadership. The next day, hes in the gym, in a full lather from just working on his game and you just knew the next game, he was going to be ready to go and to me, you cant ask for more leadership than that. Thats the best type of leadership. Its not somebody just saying things and doing none of them, but somebody whos doing things and setting a great example, and setting the tone for the team. To me, thats the best type of leadership you can have and thats what hes doing.

Added teammate Joakim Noah: Its just great to have him out there. He puts so much pressure on the defense and that just makes easy opportunitiesDerricks a tough guy, so he knows that we need him and it was a good win for us.

Stagg's Kyle Neputy leads through action during offseason

Stagg's Kyle Neputy leads through action during offseason

While many athletes talk about leadership and the importance of being a leader, others let their actions do the talking. One of them is Stagg senior quarterback Kyle Neputy (6-foot-4, 234 pounds).

Neputy, who is signed and will play this fall at Cornell, participated in last year's annual Franklin Middle School Charity Dodgeball tournament. The tournament had such a positive impact on Neputy and his fellow Charger teammates that they decided to rally together and support a worthwhile cause for a second straight year. 

I had a chance to catch up with the Kyle Neputy at the sixth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds from the event benefited the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Cammy Can, Jack’s Army and Franklin Middle School. 

Neputy shares why he and his Stagg teammates decided to support the event. He also had a chance to reflect on making the move to Cornell later this year.

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

For the first time in a decade, the Blackhawks officially will not be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at the United Center, the Blackhawks will be sitting at home mid-April instead of looking to add to their trophy case.

Exactly 366 days before, the Blackhawks actually became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth, also the result of a game against the Avs:

The last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs, Denis Savard was the coach and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were just 19 years old in the midst of their rookie seasons.

The next year, Joel Quenneville took over as coach after four games and led the Blackhawks all the way to the Conference Finals.

Of course, the following year (2009-10 season) brought the first of three Stanley Cups.

For perspective on how incredible this stretch has been for the Blackhawks, here's how the other professional Chicago sports teams spent 2008:

—The Bears finished 9-7 in Matt Forte's rookie year (he's since retired) with Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback and Lovie Smith as head coach.

—The Cubs led the National League in runs scored en route to a 97-win regular season...before falling flat against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Lou Piniella was still the manager and Theo Epstein was still three years away from coming to Chicago.

—The Bulls found some incredible luck, pulling the No. 1 overall pick and selecting Chicago native Derrick Rose. He helped the Bulls to a 41-41 season as a rookie under coach Vinny Del Negro.

—The White Sox lost to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS after winning the AL Central under manager Ozzie Guillen. Carlos Quentin enjoyed a breakout season (36 HR, 100 RBI) while Gavin Floyd won 17 games. 

The Blackhawks still have eight games left before the 2017-18 season ends April 7.