Cubs

Big Ten recruiting class rankings

Big Ten recruiting class rankings

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
3:38 p.m.

By Mike Clark
YourSeason.com

1. Ohio State: Don't expect the Buckeyes to fall from their perch atop the conference anytime soon. They have one of the top five classes nationally, one which mines Ohio's rich vein of prep talent but also includes three players from Florida and two from Illinois: Fremd OL Brian Bobek and Vernon Hills WR Evan Spencer.

2. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are still focusing on their traditional base in the Big 12 region, with five players from Texas. But with their impending move to the Big Ten, they're also making inroads into the Midwest with Sacred Heart-Griffin OL Ryan Klachko from Illinois and a couple players from Ohio.
3. Iowa: Coach Kirk Ferentz went far and wide for this deep, talented class, targeting Texas, the East Coast and Illinois among others. The group includes Glenbard West OL Jordan Walsh and Thornridge RB Mikail McCall along with Edwardsville's multi-talented Rodney Coe.

4. Michigan: New coach Brady Hoke hit the ground running and snagged one prominent late commitment from Simeon OL Chris Bryant. The rest of the class leans heavily on players from Michigan and Ohio, including one of the nation's premier all-purpose backs: Justice Hayes of Grand Blanc, Mich.

5. Michigan State: Like their state rival, the Spartans put together a class heavy on players from Michigan and Ohio, though Canada and New Mexico also are represented. Hinsdale Central OL Jack Allen was an early commit.

6. Penn State: One of the conference's smaller recruiting classes is heavy on linemen, especially on the defensive side. The Nittany Lions didn't target the Chicago area this year; the closest they have to an area recruit is kicker Sam Ficken from Valparaiso, Ind.
7. Illinois: Probably no school had a bigger improvement from last year to this year than the Illini. They were aggressive in the Chicago area and came away with a strong group led by Sun-Times Player of the Year Reilly O'Toole, the Wheaton Warrenville South QB. But the talent doesn't end there: keep an eye on DB Dondi Kirby from Monroeville, Pa., Gateway and 5-11, 215-pound RB Donovonn Young from Katy, Texas.
8. Wisconsin: The Badgers stayed close to home, getting commitments from eight Wisconsin players, and dipped into the seemingly endless talent pool in Ohio. They also picked up one of the Public League's rising stars in Curie DE James Adeyanju.

9. Northwestern: Though the Wildcats' academics allow them to recruit nationally with commitments from California to Texas to New Jersey, they paid plenty of attention to their own backyard. Richards' versatile Jarrell Williams and Ols Matt Frazier of Bishop McNamara and Jack Konopka of Fremd lead the local list.

10. Indiana: New coach Kevin Wilson landed one of the nation's top linebackers in Zack Shaw of Coshocton, Ohio. Prospect OL Peyton Eckert is the Hoosiers' lone Chicago-area signee.

11. Minnesota: The Gophers lost Naperville North TE Matt LaCosse to Illinois after the firing of coach Tim Brewster, but kept twin brothers Kyle and Luke McAvoy, a pair of offensive linemen from Bloomington.

12. Purdue: It's been a rough spell for the Boilermakers, with just 13 wins in the past three seasons, and the conference's smallest recruiting class may not offer a lot of help. Purdue did grab one of the leaders of Homewood-Flossmoor's 2010 turnaround in 6-4, 300-pound defensive tackle Michael Rouse III.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 10th, 11th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 10th, 11th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.

Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th. 

Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.

The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.

Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.