Blackhawks

Banged up Wolverines prepare for Pontiac

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Banged up Wolverines prepare for Pontiac

On Thursday the Simeon Wolverines travel to Pontiac, Ill. for the 82nd Pontiac Holiday Tournament. The 16-team field is a solid one, packed with very good squads from around the state, giving the Wolverines an opportunity to continue to build their rhythm.
Simeon will play its first game at 7:30 Thursday night against United Township High School of East Moline, Ill.
The Wolverines head into Pontiac banged up, as Illinois commit Kendrick Nunn is nursing a hip injury and Jabari Parker, who committed to Duke last Thursday, is still working his way back into playing shape while continuing to rehab his injured foot.
On Wednesday, Simeon held its final practice before departing for Pontiac Thursday. And while Parker was able to participate, Nunn instead opted to spend his time in the swimming pool working on his hip.
On Tuesday I bruised my hip in practice, so today I just tried to work it out in the pool trying to get it loose, explained Nunn after practice. Its still tight, but Im going to ice it and see how I feel on Thursday. I should be able to play in the tournament I probably wont be 100 percent and in a couple of days, I should be better.
As for Parker, hes been working extremely hard to get himself back into form. The All-American hasnt played since Dec. 15 when the Wolverines competed in a tournament in Memphis, Tenn. He missed all the teams practices and games against Carver and Brooks last week as he continues to rehab and work on his conditioning.
Im feeling alright. Going through rehab has been a pain. But Im just glad I get to practice with my guys, Parker said after practice on Wednesday. I feel a lot better, though. I feel like my legs are getting better, my hips are getting stronger which helps out my feet, and Im just getting my rhythm back, gradually.
Coach Robert Smith had his team go through a full-court scrimmage during practice and, instead of having Parker play with the starters like he normally would, strategically placed him with the second group. During the scrimmage seniors Russell Woods and Dayton commit Kendall Pollard pushed their star player, and Smith was pleased with what he saw.
I liked the intensity today, and thats probably because Jabari was here and he was on the opposite team as the starters today, Smith said. He was really competing with Kendall and Russell and the intensity was just so much better.
Parker appreciated the challenge from his coach and commended both his teammates for doing all they can to make him work hard and improve.
Im trying to just finish strong at the basket trying to draw fouls. Russell pushes me there because hes so athletic and I have to alter my shot sometimes. But Im working on just trying to go to the basket as strong as possible, Parker said.
Kendall is a real good player. Hes probably one of the best in Chicago and in the country. Hes helped me continually, ever since I was a freshman. I just keep on going at him and he goes at me twice as hard. Thats what makes it so competitive.
Today was the best that Jabari has looked in a while, opined Smith after practice. Hes starting to look like himself a little bit. He still looks a little winded, but thatll come in time. But offensively he was able to move and defensively he was able to move. He looked like he could explode off the ground and I think its because hes lost the weight. But were just taking it day by day and hell continue to get better.
Smith said he is looking to see his team continue to jell and improve as a unit in the upcoming tournament. With only five games under their belt since Dec. 1, the Wolverines are still playing catch up with teams who already have established their rhythm and havent been beset by injuries.
Im looking for us to get better offensively, defensively, and to just have better cohesiveness, Smith said. Kendrick is a little banged up and hopefully he can get on the court and we can have our full team. We still havent played a game with our full team yet. I think Jabari is probably at 45 or 50 percent now, and if Kendrick can get out there on the floor and we can get into a rhythm with our full group, I think well look pretty good.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Connor Murphy interview and narrowing down potential draft candidates at No. 3 for Blackhawks

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AP

Hawks Talk Podcast: Connor Murphy interview and narrowing down potential draft candidates at No. 3 for Blackhawks

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Connor Murphy joins the show to break down the Blackhawks' man-on-man defensive zone coverage, how the team stayed together during the long losing skids and do the young players have a strong voice in the locker room?

Pat Boyle is then joined by Slavko Bekovic and Charlie Roumeliotis to discuss what the Blackhawks may be thinking with the No. 3 overall pick and narrow the field to three potential candidates. Should the Blackhawks draft for need or best available player?

Plus, the guys provide an update on how the Blackhawks are performing at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.

0:45 – Connor Murphy joins the podcast

2:00 – Murphy’s summer so far

2:35 – Murphy’s off-ice training regimen

3:35 – Murphy evaluates his season

5:05 – Murphy on comeback from injury

6:30 – Murphy explains the Hawks d-zone coverage

10:00 – Murphy’s conversations with father Gord Murphy

12:10 – Murphy on making it through tough times last season

13:10 – Murphy on unity between vets and youth

14:25 – Murphy’s goals for the future

17:00 – Hawks draft prospects one month out from NHL Draft

19:30 – Byram’s stock up while Podkolzin’s stock down

21:00 – Should Blackhawks draft for need and improve now?

26:25 – Future of the Blackhawks blue-line

33:15 – Blackhawks replenishing the prospect pipeline

35:45 – Our top 3 prospects for the No. 3 pick

41:05 – How the Blackhawks are doing at the IIHF World Championship

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Where should Khalil Mack rank among all-time best Bears?

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USA TODAY

Where should Khalil Mack rank among all-time best Bears?

One season was all it took for Khalil Mack to enter the conversation among the all-time best Bears players.

Six forced fumbles, 12.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and one pick six kept him in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation despite an ankle injury.

It’s hard to stack one dominant season against players who maintained excellence over multiple years, but Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson did just that in their ranking of the top 100 Bears players of all time.

For Mack’s efforts in 2018, he came in 60th on the list, one spot behind former defensive end Julius Peppers.

Richard Dent is the only player in Bears history to record more than 12.5 sacks in a season, and Mack’s production was tied for the third best year for the franchise since they started recording sacks in 1982.

Peppers hit double-digit sacks twice in his four years in Chicago with three trips to the Pro Bowl, but Pompei and Pierson may have been hesitant to rank Mack too highly given how little time he’s spent at Halas Hall.

The star outside linebacker is not the 60th most talented player in team history, but in terms of best contributions while on the Bears, his lack of tenure could be what keeps him lower on the list.

If he continues at his current rate, he should rise near the top of the rankings after another few seasons.

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