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CSN Top 20 IHSA basketball rankings

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CSN Top 20 IHSA basketball rankings

1.Whitney Young (11-1)
PrepsTalk: Jahlil Okafor thoroughly dominated Saturdays game against Numann-Goretti (PA) at the Cancer Research Classic32 points on 77 shooting. Paul White added 19 points and seven rebounds.

2. Morgan Park (15-1)
PrepsTalk: The Mustangs leap into the 2 position, thanks to Saturdays 81-51 win over Normal U-High, who features standout Keita Bates-Diop. Billy Garrett, Kyle Davis and Josh Cunningham all reached double-figures.

3. Simeon (9-2)
PrepsTalk: Jabari Parker (17 points, 13 rebounds) came to play against Montverde (FL) Saturday but got little support against the elite prep basketball powerhouse. Simeon hosts Perspectives-Calumet Wednesday.

4. Marian Catholic (14-1)
PrepsTalk: Tyler Ulis scored 21 points --13 in the first quarter-- as Marian Catholic defeated Marmion 65-42 Friday night. The Spartans will travel to Providence on Tuesday.

5. North Chicago (14-1)
PrepsTalk: The Warhawks got a week off after taking first place at the State Farm Holiday Classic. They now return to North Suburban conference play: Wauconda on Tuesday; Libertyville Saturday.

6. Neuqua Valley (14-0)
PrepsTalk: The Wildcats were flawless in November and December. Can they continue the momentum in January? Wednesdays game at Bolingbrook (who just beat H-F) should be an interesting test.

7. Proviso East (10-3)
PrepsTalk: The Pirates can now concentrate on the West Suburban Gold, with conference games at Hinsdale South (Tuesday), home vs. Morton (Friday) and Willowbrook (118) on the slate.

8. Oswego (11-2)
PrepsTalk: Oswego will dive back into Southwest Prairie conference play as Plainfield Central comes to town on Tuesday. Then, they will travel to Minooka (Friday) and Plainfield North (118).

9. Benet (15-3)
PrepsTalk: Nice statement win for the Redwings on Friday, as they go into Niles and defeat ESCC foe Notre Dame. Sean OMara (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Pat McInerney (11 points, six boards) impressed once again.

10. Notre Dame (13-2)
PrepsTalk: Matt Mooney scored 14 points, but the Dons could not hold a 10 point halftime lead against Benet. Nazareth will have back-to-back home games with Nazareth (Friday) and Conant (Saturday).

11. West Aurora (11-2)
PrepsTalk: West utilized good free throw shooting and a dominance on the glass to beat Naperville North 68-56 on Saturday. The Blackhawks will now face West Chicago Friday.

12. Orr (9-2)
PrepsTalk: Orr had a good showing in Michigan over the holiday break. The Spartans jump back into Public Red-West play this week, traveling to Marshall and North Lawndale.

13. Bloom (10-3)
PrepsTalk: Johnny Griffin, Dejahown Freeman and James Coleman earned all-tournament honors at the McDipper Tournament. The Blazing Trojans will battle Lockport on Tuesday.

14. Niles North (10-3)
PrepsTalk: Malachi Nix, Billy Voitik and BJ Beckford have propelled the Vikings thus far. North will travel to Maine East (Tuesday) and then host Deerfield (Friday).

15. Larkin (14-1)
PrepsTalk: No place like home for the holidays? How about most of January, too? After winning the Elgin Tournament, the Royals will only play one game away from Larkin this month.

16. Providence-St. Mel (12-3)
PrepsTalk: The Knights picked up a 69-59 win over Aurora Christian on Saturday at the Rock Falls Shootout. Providence-St. Mel will face Christ The King on Friday.

17. Stevenson (10-4)
PrepsTalk: The Patriots will have their work cut out for them to start 2013at Mundelein (Friday), then at Vernon Hills (Saturday) and then they host Zion-Benton next Friday.

18. Brother Rice (12-2)
PrepsTalk: Alex Majewski scored 16 points as the Crusaders took care of Bishop McNamara on Friday, 57-49. Rice will host Washington on Wednesday and then Hales on Friday.

19. Curie (7-5)
PrepsTalk: The record may not reflect it, but the Condors a forcespecifically 6-9 junior Cliff Alexander. He tallied 25 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks against Muskegon (MI) on Saturday.

20. St. Patrick (11-3)
PrepsTalk: Four East Suburban Catholic teams are in the CSN Top 20; the Shamrocks break through with a 62-54 win at Fenwick on Saturday. Royale Ewing led all scorers with 18 points.

Looming and Lurking: Lemont, Homewood-Flossmoor, Crystal Lake Central, St. Rita, Naperville Central, Bogan, Maine South, Montini, North Lawndale, Zion-Benton, Lake Forest, Dundee-Crown, Geneva, Marist, York, Oak Park, New Trier.

You can catch High School Lites, sponsored by Discount Tire, every Friday night at 10:30. We stream the show live at csnchicago.com.

Be sure to follow @PrepsTalkCSN and @JoeCSN for prep basketball coverage.

Get caught up with your latest Blackhawks news ahead of 2018 NHL Draft

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Get caught up with your latest Blackhawks news ahead of 2018 NHL Draft

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Bulls take sober approach in draft, satisfied with steady roster growth  

Bulls take sober approach in draft, satisfied with steady roster growth  

It wasn’t an exciting night at the Advocate Center but it was a successful one in the eyes of the rebuilding Chicago Bulls.

And a telling one, from their inaction as they stayed put to select Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. and Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison with their two first round picks.

They’re not looking to press the fast-forward button on this methodical process, placing unrealistic expectations on themselves that they’re nowhere near ready to embrace.

But perhaps, it was necessary.

Trade offers were around, and the Bulls were enamored with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marvin Bagley III in addition to their interest in Mohamed Bamba. But the price of swapping picks, along with giving up the 22nd spot and a future first-rounder was too rich for the Bulls, according to sources.

“We’re always looking and probing for opportunity. How close we got, we don’t know,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “We looked into some things. We thought it was more than a six-player draft. And Wendell is a guy we’ve been high on for quite awhile.”

They believe they’ve opted for prudence instead of panic on a night where bold, confident steps are expected.

After a painful march to the end of an unsatisfying season and dropping a spot in the lottery, a trade would’ve been a do-good when many felt the Bulls should’ve been at the top of the draft order.

After all, so much was made of their scouts and staff spending so much time during the year to assess the top talent—nobody wanted to see all that unspoken promise result in a mid-lottery seventh selection.

“We feel we’re in a situation at this time of our rebuild that to give up assets, important draft assets to move up a spot or two, that didn’t make sense to us and the way we’re planning,” Paxson said. “We continue to talk about being patient and disciplined in how we make decisions.”

One can look at it as the Bulls being unwilling to embrace what comes with taking a top-four talent—especially with Jackson being viewed as a long play as opposed to an instant impact prospect—the word “playoffs” would’ve been swirling all around Madison and Wood for the next several months.

Or one can view it as a sober approach, that Paxson and Forman know there’s far too many unanswered questions about their core, that a slightly better-than-expected regular season wasn’t going to seduce them down a costly road.

They don’t seem to be completely sold on Kris Dunn as the unequivocal point guard of the future, unafraid to take Trae Young if he fell into their lap.

Zach LaVine didn’t play to his expectations, the franchise’s expectations and he didn’t look comfortable playing with the Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, in part because they didn’t have the opportunity.

He enters restricted free agency and nobody will know how much the Bulls value him until they put an initial offer in front of him, likely on the eve of free agency a week from now.

As much as the last 12 months were about hitting the reset button and trading Jimmy Butler to put themselves in this spot, the months of October to April didn’t shed as much light as many anticipated—hence the talk from Paxson about patience and not being in a rush with the rebuild right now.

Because honestly, there’s nothing to rush—the last thing this distrusting fan base wants to hear.

Carter can be exactly what the Bulls need—some ways immediately, other ways in time provided the roster construction is competent and not done at a snail’s pace, the biggest fear from this jaded fan base.

Having to sacrifice at Duke once Bagley III reclassified to get to college, his offensive game didn’t develop as much as it could have—and it’s not like he’ll be featured early on in Chicago with Markkanen and LaVine penciled in as main scoring options.

“As much as you wanna talk about the game getting away from bigs, big guys and their ability to score, the way the game’s going,” Paxson said. “He wants to set screens for guys. This is a young man who’s gonna fit into the team concept that we want to have. And Chandler will do the same.”

Carter had to submerge his talents and gifts during the one season he had to showcase it for the greater good. It speaks to a certain emotional maturity the 19-year old has, a sober approach to look at the bigger picture while still making the most of his not-so-plentiful opportunities.

“Wendell is still a young guy,” Paxson said. “Very few draft picks are finished product, especially in our game where we’re drafting so young. He’s got a lot of room to grow. Defensively as a rim protector, he’ll do really well. Verticality at the rim, he’s been taught really well. Smart kid, we think he’s gonna be really good.”

Hutchison isn’t the high-upside talent Carter is, having played four years of college ball, improving each year to the point that the Bulls supposedly made him a promise very early on in the draft process.

Their unwillingness to give up the 22nd pick, whether they like the perception or not, stems from their belief Hutchison can be an impact player.

“We like Chandler a lot,” Paxson said. “We scouted him early, scouted him often. He knew we liked him. He addresses a position of need. We had debates on wings and players at his position. His ability to rebound and take it off the board, those things are really valuable, especially the way we want to play.”

Paxson alluded to tense discussions leading to the draft, where one can surmise there was serious consideration about not just going with the status quo—their reported interest in point guard Collin Sexton should be proof of that—and that should come as a positive sign for Bulls fans, who feel the front office is satisfied with a slow-rolling, low-accountability approach since they aren’t saddling themselves with high expectations.

To paraphrase Forman, the Bulls are “still building up our asset base” and subtly saying they expect to be in a similar position next June.

Soberly saying winning and contention isn’t on the horizon can be refreshing to hear, but they walk a fine line of expressing too much comfort in things staying the way they are.