White Sox

Teague won't be a Rose clone, but should stand out on his own merits

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Teague won't be a Rose clone, but should stand out on his own merits

Nobody truly expects Marquis Teague to step into the Bulls lineup and fill Derrick Roses shoes while the All-Star point guard recovers from ACL surgery, but the No. 29 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft does share some undeniable similarities with his fellow John Calipari protg. That said, neither his future coach or the man who pulled the trigger on drafting him wants to burden the Indianapolis native as he begins his NBA career.
Its going to take a number of guys to make up for the load that we miss while Derricks out, said Bulls general manager Gar Forman from the Berto Center following Teagues selection. Point guard is one of the positions we need to address as we go into free agency and thats something well look at starting on Sunday.
Hes a guy, as a freshman, was the starting point guard, playing with five other NBA players and helped lead Kentucky to a national championship. Hes a guy our scouting staff has watched and followed since high school, continued Forman, who repeatedly cited Teagues winning background, as he won a national title at the University of Kentucky, which had six players drafted Thursday. "What we feel he gives us is another guy that can break defenses down and get into the paint, and can make plays, both for himself and for others. Everybody said hes very, very competitive, hes a winner and thats something that you guys know over the years, weve stressed.
Hes got great speed and quickness, and we think, a very, very high ceiling and really thought he was a value.
Chimed in Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: Hes going to make a big adjustment going from college to the pros. The first part is learning how to be a pro and then its going to be based on performance, how he does. He has to learn our system, learn the league and then well see where we are. Its not a no or a yes. The first year you always look for a player to come in and learn the system, the league, and if they show they can handle the pressure of playing then hell play.
I hate to do compare Teague to Rose or his older brother, Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague. The thing about comparing him to Derrick or Jeff, hes his own player. Hes got different strengths than his brother, different than Derrick, hes a very good player, did a great job of running his team. There was a lot of pressure on that team all year long. They responded well and met every challenge and so that was a big plus, so were going to look at his strengths, were going to work with him to get in here as soon as possible. I think its important for him to have a big summer here, then thats the first step, he continued. The fact that hes been in a number of big games, I think, is important. He got better and better as the season went along. His ability to push the ball, get into transition, I think is a big plus. I think we can take advantage of that.
Its a big step from going to college to the pro gamethe fact that hes been around the pro game helps, but theres a big learning curve for him. Hes got to learn our system, hes got to learn our players, but as Gar mentioned, he made great progress throughout the course of last season and so, were expecting him to do the same thing here.
Teague was a scoring-oriented point guard during his prep career in Indiana, but functioned as more of a distributor at Kentucky. Although he went through some erratic moments early in his freshman campaign, he persevered to become a steadier floor general and while Thibodeau shies away from comparisons, hes regarded as being ahead of his brother at the same stage and his overall talent made selecting him an easy decision for the Bulls, even with players projected to land in Chicagosuch as Vanderbilts Jeff Taylor, Kansas Tyshawn Taylor, Memphis Will Barton and Teagues teammate, Doron Lamb; according to a source, they had zeroed in on another Vanderbilt player, sharpshooter John Jenkins, but he was picked by the Hawks at No. 23on the board.
One of the things that impressed about Marquis, if you followed him last year when he came in, he still had that scorers mentality to him and he really progressed throughout the year. You could almost see the progress, game by game, to where, about halfway through the year and to the end of the season, he really bought into what they were doing and he was a distributor, and was making plays for others. Again, we think hes a guy who can penetrate defenses and get into the point and make plays, said Forman. Hes young and there will be a period of time where hell have to develop and make strides, but we certainly feel as a group and I feel, that hes got a high ceiling and a lot of potential for down the road.
Hes an excellent athlete and even in the combine, he tested among the top two or three athletes in the combine. When you see him play, you see the speed and quickness, and jumping ability that he has, he continued. Like any freshman, he made a lot of strides defensively throughout the year. We were both on the phone with Coach Cal Calipari today and thats one of the things he stressed, that he made a lot of strides defensively and he got to the point where he was pressuring the ball and not allowing penetration. Hes 6-2, 6-2 12, but extremely long arms. Hes got length, hes got speed and quickness, so hes certainly got the tools to be a great defender.
Part of the reason the Bulls are pleased with the selection of Teague is that he fits their philosophy of choosing the best player available on the board, although he didnt quite fit what they were looking for going into the draft. Teagues overall talent made selecting him an easy decision for the Bulls, even with players projected to land in Chicagosuch as Vanderbilts Jeff Taylor, Kansas Tyshawn Taylor, Memphis Will Barton and Teagues teammate, Doron Lamb; according to a source, they had zeroed in on another Vanderbilt player, sharpshooter John Jenkins, but he was picked by the Hawks at No. 23on the board.
Our philosophy is and will continue to be, if two guys are comparable and one guy can fit more of a need, then we may go that way, but were going to go with the best talent thats available that we think will fit with our system and the culture thats been created here, so we obviously we think hes a talent and we think hell fit the culture and the system thats in place here, Forman explained. We thought of what was left on the board, that he was the best prospect left on the board and in a scenario where, going forward, the next three, four, five years were going to have a need there, needs at several places. But again we were going to draft the best player. We werent going to draft for a specific need. Draft the best prospect that was left.

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

GLENDALE, AZ --  There’s a different Tim Anderson at White Sox spring training this year.

You can see it on his face  You can hear it in his voice.

“I’m busting out of the shell. I’m talking more,” he said as he sat down for an interview with NBC Sports Chicago (in the video above).

It’s not the new Tim Anderson. It turns out, it’s the real one that’s been there all along.

“This is me. It’s always been me. I never knew how to express myself. I feel like I’m being a lot more open,” Anderson explained. “That’s what I want to give to fans. Let them know the real me. You’re cheering for me. Why not know me? I’m being open and kind of let fans into my life.”

The White Sox shortstop has learned a lot about life in the past year. It all started in May when the White Sox were in Baltimore to play the Orioles. Anderson received a phone call at 4 a.m. It was news from back home.

It was the worst phone call of his life.

His best friend Branden Moss had been murdered in the parking lot of a Tuscaloosa, Ala., bar after helping the victim of a fight.  

The two were like brothers. Anderson is the godfather to Moss’s young daughter. Moss was the godfather to Anderson’s 2-year-old daughter.

“It was heartbreaking,” Anderson said.

While Anderson grieved, playing baseball seemed like it would be a perfect escape for his pain. Only it wasn’t. Far from it.  Baseball might have made things even worse.

In fast-paced sports like football and hockey, players don’t have much time to think. It’s react, react, react. Whatever might be happening off the field feels like a million miles away.

Not in baseball.

The game moves at a much slower speed. There’s plenty of time for your mind to wander. Thoughts kept going back to Anderson’s lost friend, taken from him in an instant.

At 23, he didn’t have the tools to deal with the emotional pain and excel at baseball at the same time.

“The year was rough. I wasn’t having fun in between the lines. I was making the game harder than it was. I was thinking too much. I was feeling sorry for myself and the list can go on. When my friend died it definitely took a lot out of me. I had a dark moment,” Anderson said. “Some days I didn’t feel comfortable coming to the ballpark because I knew it was going to be a bad day.”

Making matters worse, there were many nights when Anderson didn’t sleep. Not a wink. Still, he dragged himself to the ballpark and somehow tried to play.

The results weren’t pretty. On June 22, Anderson already had 16 errors at shortstop, most in the majors. At the plate, he was hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.

He knew he was better than that. He also knew something else: He needed help.

In July, Anderson started meeting with a therapist who was able to unlock the pent up thoughts and emotions that he was burying inside him.

The therapist would write down everything that Anderson was feeling on paper and then read it back to him.

“Just going in and talking and pouring everything out of you. It lets you hear what you’ve been going through,“ Anderson said. “When she did it, it was a lot. I took what she read to me, balled it up and threw it away. I got lighter. It was a brightening. Those counseling sessions definitely helped me.”

Soon, Anderson was back to being himself both on and off the field.

In the month of August, he had 8 doubles, 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

“Woof. I was hot,” he said after hearing those stats. “That’s Tim. That’s more Tim that we need to see.”

In September, he batted .327 with 3 home runs and 9 stolen bases.

“We need a lot of that this year. That’s the way I want to go. That’s the way I want to go about it. Get back to what got me here.”

There was still an issue with his plate discipline. He had 32 strikeouts and only 1 walk in September.

“We play a tough sport as it is. They’re going to come,” Anderson said about the walks. “I mean, when I walk more, what are you going to tell me? ‘Start swinging more?’ It’s one of those things. It’s a give and take. We’ll see what happens.”

In 2017, Anderson received a crash course in adversity. What did he learn from all that pain and misery?

“Tough times happen, but they don’t last forever.”

Now that he’s survived the personal storm from last season, he wants “another shot at it. I feel like last year went left. This is new season.”

So, what does he envision for himself in 2018?

“Having fun, smiling a lot, picking up my teammates, hugging on the coaches and players. A lot of love, more so than stats,” Anderson said. “I’m fired up. I’m excited. I feel like I’m ready to lead this pack. We got a great group of guys. We’ve got a chance to do something special.”

Injuries affecting Fire's preseason with season three weeks away

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USA TODAY

Injuries affecting Fire's preseason with season three weeks away

It may be a good thing that the Fire’s originally scheduled season opener March 3 at Colorado got moved back.

The Fire’s preseason has been riddled with injuries to key players and the extra week may end up being needed to get the team ready for the season. Four players (not counting the already known long-term injuries to Michael de Leeuw and Djordje Mihailovic) sat out Saturday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast University due to injury: Daniel Johnson (a right ankle injury suffered in a game against Philadelphia on Feb. 8), Grant Lillard (left knee), Matt Polster (left knee) and Luis Solignac (left hip).

Polster’s injury is especially notable because he has had recurring left knee problems since first suffering a sprain in the 2016 season finale at Toronto. Polster missed the first nine games of 2017 due to the injury and missed three more in August due to a related injury.

The 24-year-old, who is now the longest tenured player on the team and the only player remaining from before general manager Nelson Rodriguez’s tenure began at the end of the 2015 season, arrived with the Fire after playing with the U.S. national team in January. He played all 90 minutes on Jan. 28 against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bastian Schweinsteiger still hasn’t played in the preseason and the team hasn’t listed him as injured.

All the absences, combined with rest for some of the team’s regulars, resulted in a starting lineup against Florida Gulf Coast that featured two players who have appeared in an official match with the Fire. Three trialists and four draft picks started.

Four of the Fire’s seven scheduled preseason matches are in the books. The Fire lost 2-1 to Montreal on Feb. 14. One of the bright spots was a rare set piece goal after the Fire trailed the Impact 2-0. Dax McCarty headed in a free kick from Diego Campos. Campos has been dangerous on set pieces, hitting the post with a free kick and assisting a goal from a corner kick in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Florida Gulf Coast.

Next up is a match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Feb. 21. Next Saturday the Fire play at Orlando to finish up play in Florida.

The Fire close out the preseason March 3 against the team’s USL affiliate, Tulsa, at Toyota Park before the season opener on March 10.