Cubs

Chicago to host top talent; Parker discusses college choices

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Chicago to host top talent; Parker discusses college choices

When it comes to choosing a college, Jabari Parker has a lot of factors to take into consideration.

The Simeon standout has narrowed his options to Michigan State, Stanford, BYU, Duke and Florida, and as the process of committing to a school continues, Parker has a few main keys that will help him make his final decision:

"Relationship with the coach, relationship with the team and the style of play," Parker listed. "Also, how will the team be the following year as far as whether the coach is going to stay or not."

But first and foremost, Parker's main priority is to pick a school that will provide him the best education. Simeon coach Robert Smith has helped Parker and his family every step of the way, and he's even received some advice from Derrick Rose, who suggested he decides based on who can provide the best support on and off the court.

Chicago Elite Classic

As Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter puts it, he and Smith will finally be "having their baby" on Saturday morning.

After just over eight months of planning, the two coaches from Chicago's powerhouse schools will be hosting the Chicago Elite Classic, a tournament that will welcome the nation's top high school basketball programs from California, Maryland, Utah, Ohio and Georgia.

Slaughter, Smith, Parker and Whitney Young junior standout Jahlil Okafor joined Chicago Tribune Live to discuss the upcoming event and what it will be like to face the nation's top talent in their hometown.

"It's a blessing for me," an injured, yet optimistic Parker said. "Growing up, you always see these games on TV, but now I get to see it up close. A lot of the nation's talent and my school playing against one of these teams in our hometown, so that will be very fun for me."

Although Parker won't be able to join his teammates on the court, Okafor is looking forward to representing Whitney Young and providing Chicago "bragging rights" if his team can take down the other competitors.

Of course when you bring together the country's best players, the caliber of talent naturally leads to a high level of competitiveness overall. With the tournament just two days away, the talking has already begun.

"It's a lot of trash talking," Parker said about the general atmosphere. "But I don't pay it any mind because there's only one way I play this game and it's because of the love, not any of the attention.

"We're just friends at the end of the day, the competition already knows what I'm capable of doing, so they don't do too much trash talking to me."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 49th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 49th homer 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's 49th homer of the season came with a runner on 1st and one out, when Oriel Hershiser served up a high fastball that Sammy belted 415 feet into the last few rows in left-center field. 

Sosa would later start the game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth, scoring the game-tying run on a Henry Rodriguez single through the right side of the infield. Jose Hernandez would step in the next at-bat and walk it off with a base hit that scored Mark Grace, as Sammy and the Cubs bested the Giants 6-5. 

Fun Fact: A 33-year-old Barry Bonds would hit home run No. 25, finishing the season with 37 homers. He would finish the next season with 34 dingers but would string five consecutive seasons with at least 45 home runs, of course hitting a record 73 home runs in 2001. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Michael Kopech prepares for The Show

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Michael Kopech prepares for The Show

Pete McMurray, David Haugh and Ben Finfer join David Kaplan on the panel and discuss the long-awaited arrival of Michael Kopech for the White Sox, Yu Darvish's short rehab start and Mitch Trubisky's second preseason game.

Plus, they discuss new NFL rules and when Eloy Jimenez could get his call up.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: