Bulls

CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins & Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (15-0)

Results: Defeated Brooks 95-61, Morgan Park 57-44

This Week: Monday vs. Findlay Prep NV (at Springfield, MA), Wednesday vs. Urban Prep, Friday vs. CVCA and Saturday vs. Southwind TN (at Memphis, TN)

Hoops Talk: The Wolverines can put a lock on their elite national status with a win against an equally distinguished Findlay Prep team with seven D-1 prospects.
2 Proviso East (14-0)

Results: Defeated Willowbrook 78-37

This Week: Thursday at Downers Grove South, Saturday at Leyden

Hoops Talk: The tilt against Downers South should go a long way in deciding the fate of the West Suburban Gold conference.

3 Curie (13-1)

Results: Defeated King 88-43

This Week: Monday vs. North Chicago (at MLK Shootout), Tuesday vs. Lindblom, Thursday at Dunbar

Hoops Talk: Look for a lot of offense in Mondays game against North Chicago, who features Illinois State-bound Aaron Simpson.

4 Warren (12-2)

Results: Defeated Libertyville 72-53 and Lakes 77-47

This Week: Friday at Lake Zurich, Saturday vs. Downers Grove South (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: Nathan Booth, Darius Paul and the Blue Devils dont miss a beat after a two-week stretch of without games.

5 Andrew (13-0)

Results: Defeated Lincoln-Way East 61-46, Thornridge 66-50 and Illiana Christian 59-34

This Week: Friday at Thornwood

Hoops Talk: Adekoya brothers get most of the headlines, but credit is also due for players like Glorind Lisha, Alex Zappavigna and Tyler Hook.

6 Plainfield East (13-0)

Results: Defeated Romeoville 75-41

This Week: Tuesday vs. Naperville Central, Friday at Plainfield South, Saturday vs. Larkin (at Railway Classic Shootout)

Hoops Talk: 6-9 Brian Bennett is a perfect complement to talented guards Jawan Straughter and Dee Brown.

7 Elgin (13-1)

Results: Defeated Larkin 59-52 (OT), Streamwood 64-37

This Week: Friday vs. Geneva, Saturday vs. Huntley (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: 11 straight wins and 1,000 career points for Kory Brown. Arie Williams came was clutch in the extra session against Larkin.

8 Bogan (17-1)

Results: Defeated Corliss 99-38, Brooks 101-60 and St. Francis 76-58

This Week: Wednesday at Morgan Park, Friday vs. Harlan

Hoops Talk: The Bengals are averaging over 93 points per game in their last four contests. Devonte Smith and DeVaughn Johnson continue to dominate.

9 De La Salle (13-2)

Results: Defeated Brooks 58-46 and Gordon Tech 68-40

This Week: Friday vs. St. Ignatius

Hoops Talk: Alex Foster, Alvin Ellis and Gavin Schilling continue their solid run. Fridays game should be a battle.

10 Downers Grove South (13-2)

Results: Defeated Fremd 66-55, Leyden 67-57 and Glenbard North 66-60

This Week: Thursday vs. Proviso East, Saturday vs. Warren (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: Jerron Wilbut hit five threes en route to a career-high 33 points against Glenbard North. The Mustangs now face a grueling week of competition.

11 New Trier (13-2)

Results: Defeated Maine South 41-39

This Week: Monday vs. Buffalo Grove, Friday at Niles West, Saturday vs. Taft

Hoops Talk: Connor Boehms clutch play down the stretch and Reid Bermans layup with 1.6 seconds to go saves the day for the Trevians against South.

12 Huntley (12-1)
Results: Defeated Crystal Lake South 43-33 and Prairie Ridge 63-29

This Week: Wednesday vs. Jacobs, Saturday vs. Elgin (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: Saturdays performance against Elgin could vault the Red Raiders into special company in Chicagoland prep hoops. They cant overlook Jacobs, though.

13 Bloom (14-2)

Results: Defeated Crete-Monee 43-38

This Week: Monday vs. Sandburg (MLK Day of HoopsJoliet Central), Friday at Kankakee

Hoops Talk: An emphatic statement win on Friday night against C-M, as the Blazing Trojans have now regained their balance after two tough losses.
14 Hillcrest (13-3)

Results: Defeated Eisenhower 86-62

This Week: Wednesday at Richards, Friday at Bremen

Hoops Talk: The Hawks are away from the nest for their next four games. Their next home game is January 27th against T.F. South.

15 Whitney Young (8-5)

Results: Defeated Raby 78-60 and Farragut 47-43

This Week: Wednesday vs. Marshall, Friday at North Lawndale

Hoops Talk: Three straight 3s in the fourth (one by Gabe Snider and two by Scott Kingsley) helped jump-start the Dolphins at Farragut. Jahlil Okafor hits GW layup.
16 St. Ignatius (13-2)

Results: Defeated St. Joseph 57-53 and Farragut 54-37

This Week: Friday at De La Salle, Saturday vs. Brooks (CPS Shootout)

Hoops Talk: Brian Howard helped save the Wolfpack at St. Joseph. They trailed by 13 at halftime and took the lead for good with 1:42 to play.

17 Metea Valley (15-1)
Results: Lost to Waubonsie Valley 62-61 (OT); Defeated St. Charles North 70-54

This Week: Monday vs. Rich Central (MLK Day of HoopsJoliet Central), Friday at East Aurora

Hoops Talk: The Mustangs 28-2 run in the first quarter against North helped erase the sting of Wednesdays defeat.

18 Marshall (16-4)

Results: Defeated Crane 57-54 and Aurora Central 80-54

This Week: Wednesday at Whitney Young

Hoops Talk: Dont look now, but the Commandos are the only undefeated team in conference play in the mighty Red West.

19 Notre Dame (14-4)

Results: Defeated Brother Rice 63-44, Loyola 50-45 and Nazareth 65-54

This Week: Friday vs. St. Patrick

Hoops Talk: Here come the Donsthree straight wins going into Fridays rivalry tilt vs. the Shamrocks. Junior Matt Mooney has played well.
20 Mundelein (17-3)

Results: Defeated Stevenson 59-51 and Antioch 51-39

This Week: Friday at Lake Forest

Hoops Talk: Junior guard Robert Knar leads the Mustangs into the Top 20 for the first time. Circle January 28th on your calendar: Mundelein at 4 Warren.
Looming & Lurking: Dunbar, Harlan, Crane, Farragut, Waubonsie Valley, Naperville North, West Aurora, Glenbrook North, Foreman, Herscher, St. Viator, Lemont, Homewood-Flossmoor, Seton, St. Rita, Joliet West, Rich South, North Chicago, Hope Academy.

How Coby White is putting it all together over most recent hot stretch

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USA Today

How Coby White is putting it all together over most recent hot stretch

The shots are starting to fall for Coby White. In seven February games, the Bulls freshly-turned 20-year-old is averaging 17.7 points, 4.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 35.7% from 3-point range (eight attempts per). That’s good news for the Bulls. 

And better is that’s not all that’s going right for White. Yes, consecutive career-high 33-point games — something no rookie reserve has ever done — on cumulative 55% field goal shooting (12-for-22 from deep) will grab eyes, especially on the heels of a frigid stretch between the beginning of February and the All-Star break. But after Sunday’s losing-streak-snapping 126-117 win over Washington, Bulls coach Jim Boylen peeled back the layers of White’s growth.

“I think he's been aggressive in transition, I think his finishing has been terrific, he's had the ball up and out, he's got it out of his stomach, something he's working on,” Boylen said. “I think his work pre-practice, post-practice is paying off.”

And of White’s defense: “We make a defensive (film) edit on Coby after every game. And him and I watch it together… (Early in the season) he had, of his 14 plays on the tape, you know, seven of them were good and seven of them were bad. Now it's like 10 are good and four are bad. He's climbing in that way.

“What he's finding out is: If you get into the game defensively and you follow your assignment and all that, good things happen for you at the other end. It just does. And I think he's locked in that way.”

White’s restricted area finishing has steadily improved over the season (59.3% in February) — he’s getting to the rim and finishing through contact better than ever before (White’s seven free throw attempts versus the Wizards ties a season-high). In transition, he’s a blur running off live rebounds and steals, which could prove a boon for a Bulls team that lives in the fastbreak. His decision-making and ability to change speeds in the halfcourt stand out. Defensively, though not yet perfect, he’s staying more and more connected off-ball, rotating sharply and hunting loose ball recoveries.

If the jumpers are falling, gravy. But the game slowing down for White, and his confidence growing as a result, should excite the Bulls and their fans the most. White, for his part, has learned over the course of a curious rookie campaign to control what he can control.

“It feels good,” White said of his recent red-hot shooting. “But I think now I look at the game differently than I did at the beginning of the year. Now, I just look at the games like I'm gonna go in and play hard on both ends of the court, that's all I'm gonna do. And then control what I can control — I can't control whether I miss or make shots, so. I'm just going out there and playing hard.”

That comes from Boylen, who White lauded for pushing him to continue improving, especially defensively.

“Coach Boylen was preaching to me, you gotta play defense you gotta play defense, so I took it as a challenge. And I feel like I'm continuing to get better at it. I still can get better at it,” White said. “But he pushes me, he pushes me to be a good player, so I can't knock him for that and that's the type of coach I want.”

None of the above (nor Boylen’s unconditional trust in White) has culminated in his first career start, despite clamoring from some media and fans. But perhaps that’s OK. Boylen has often preached White’s increasing comfortability leading the Bulls’ second unit — even injury-ravaged — and that comfort is starting to show up on the floor and in the stat sheet. It speaks to the labeless approach the Bulls have taken to White’s development.

“We got a second group that's playing pretty good again, and we're also melding Coby into that first group at times in the game,” Boylen said when asked if starting White could be a possibility. “So, coming off two 33-point games, I don't know if it makes sense to [start him].”

To that point: White is still getting his fair share of minutes — he played 34 tonight and is averaging 30.6 in February — and a healthy amount of time on the floor staggered alongside Zach LaVine and Tomas Satoransky. White has also played valuable minutes down the stretch of games recently and his usage rate is up to 24.1% over his last seven games. Opportunity comes in many forms.

“I feel like I'm in a good position,” White said. “This year for me wasn't about starting, it wasn't about being this being that, it was just about me getting better over the season. That's the main thing in this league, you just keep getting better. You don't want to be a guy that just stays the same the whole time.”

White certainly hasn't. The overarching point is that nights like tonight (and Saturday against Phoenix) further emphasize how crucial his continued progression will be down the 25-game stretch of this ill-fated Bulls season — whatever form it takes. Talk of a playoff push has noticeably tempered around the United and Advocate Centers, but White’s been the center of plenty of conversations.

“You see how explosive he is,” said LaVine, who’s been highly complimentary of White all year. “Trying to figure out some nicknames for him. Either like propane or gasoline or something like that. His scoring is special. He can do it in a variety of ways. He's finding his rhythm. Kid's good. He's real good.”

If we land on a pseudonym by mid-April, it’d be a welcome sign.

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Coby White drops 33 in 2nd straight game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Coby White drops 33 in 2nd straight game

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders Podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson and Allana Tachauer discuss Coby White becoming the first Bulls rookie since Michael Jordan to score 30+ points in back-to-back games; LaVine breaking the Bulls record for threes made in a single season; and Dwyane Wade's role in Derrick Jones Jr.'s controversial dunk contest victory.

0:40 - Allana's back and the Bulls losing streak is over

1:10 - White drops 33 points in second straight game

5:30 - Tomas Satoransky records team-high 13 assists

6:45 - Zach LaVine breaks Bulls single-season three-point record

8:35 - Bradley Beal scores 53 points and doesn't get victory

9:45 - Have injuries kept Bulls from reaching their full potential?

11:10 - Should Daniel Gafford start over Wendell Carter Jr.?

14:00 - Pros and cons of playing White and LaVine together

18:25 - Is LaVine in the Bulls long-term future?

20:50 - Injured Bulls look like boy band

22:45 - Did Wade rig dunk contest for Jones Jr.?

25:50 - Does Coby need to start?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.