Bears

Brooks earns respect, capture City Title

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Brooks earns respect, capture City Title

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
10:20 p.m.

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

On the back of Brooks' warm-up shirts is the phrase "Respect is taken."

The Eagles took their respect over the past three weeks, knocking off North Lawndale, Bogan, Farragut and Curie on the way to the Public League championship game. Then Friday at Chicago State Brooks put the finishing touches on the magical run, beating Young 67-54 in the title.

The senior backcourt led the way for Brooks. George Marshall scored 23 and dished out four assists. Mike Powell scored 15 and grabbed five rebounds.

Marshall, Powell and big-men twins Keith Gray (seven points, nine rebounds) and Kevin Gray (five points) are four-year starters for the Eagles. Chris Head coached Brooks for the past three years. Bobby Locke left Evanston in August to take the Brooks job.

"They were a very tight team when I took over," Locke said. "I didn't yell at them for the first month of practice."

Brooks (22-3) jumped out to a 14-7 lead. Young closed to within one point on a Sam Thompson dunk to open the third quarter, but the Eagles responded with a 15-3 run. The Dolphins never threatened again.

"We started out with a lot of momentum and got that lead," Brooks senior Xavier Wells said. "After that we knew we just had to keep it up."

Wells hit two three-pointers to start the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points.

"George, coach and I sat down at the beginning of the season and had a meeting to make sure we were all on the same page," Powell said. "It's great to play with George. We're double trouble."

Thompson led Young (17-10) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kwai Pearson scored 14 points and Derrick Randolph added 12. The Dolphins seemed out of sync from the opening tip, never able to capture the magic they played with in their upset of top-ranked Simeon in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Young beat Bogan 46-44 to win the sophomore title. Freshman Paul White led the Dolphins (31-2) with 15 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Keith Langston added nine points and five rebounds. Sophomore Juwan Henry led Bogan (30-1) with 14 points.

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

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USA Today

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

The Chicago Bears won the offseason. At least, that's what the national opinion seems to suggest.

General manager Ryan Pace may not have read all the news clippings, but he offered his thoughts on the job he and the front office accomplished since January 1.

"It's been aggressive, a lot of work has been done, very exciting and energizing," he said at Bears training camp from the campus of Olivet Nazarene University Thursday. "There's a lot of new pieces and it's really neat to see the assets come together."

Pace and his team certainly did do a lot of work. The Bears made headlines in free agency with the signings of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, three players expected to provide a huge boost to the Bears' passing game.

In addition to what he did on offense, Pace exercised his option with the transition tag placed on Kyle Fuller and matched the Packers' offer for the ascending cornerback. It was a big-money deal that showed players in the locker room he's willing to reward hard work and effort. It also showed the fans that he wasn't going to let the Packers steal a homegrown talent.

It didn't stop there. Pace strengthened the defense even more with the selection of linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round of April's NFL Draft and gave the offense yet another weapon in the second round when he traded up to select Anthony Miller, a receiver who could challenge for a starting job as a rookie.

Yeah, it's been an aggressive few months.

And let's not forget the biggest change of all: Matt Nagy.

Pace's tenure as Chicago's GM will likely be defined by the last few months. He invested in his hand-picked quarterback and made his first "real" coaching hire after a few years of experience on the job. He'll sink or swim with those two decisions. He knows it, and he went all-in this offseason.

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

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USA Today

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

The toughest part of any comeback from injury in sports is the mental aspect. Players have to build trust in their body again in order to eliminate thought from their movements.

In the case of Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson, he has to regain confidence in his left knee after tearing his ACL in last year's season opener.

According to coach Matt Nagy, Robinson is ready.

Nagy, who met with the media at Bears training camp Thursday in Bourbonnais, told reporters that Robinson is mentally and physically ready to go. The biggest issue for Robins, Nagy said, is building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Robinson is more than 10 months removed from his ACL tear, an injury that generally takes less time than that to recover. He participated in some on-field work during minicamp sessions this offseason in an effort to build that confidence.

Robinson will look to regain the 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown form he displayed in 2015, a year in which he was arguably the top young receiver in the NFL. 

"For us, he can play multiple positions," Nagy said. "We want him and Mitch to work on timing."

They'll start working on that timing Friday when the Bears kick off their first training camp practice.