Bulls

Fans' outfits attract plenty of attention at Ryder Cup

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Fans' outfits attract plenty of attention at Ryder Cup

MEDINAH Dave Vivolo wasnt exactly sold on wearing a red, white and blue wig. But theres something about a patriotic golf event and a persuasive friend.

I told him I wasnt going to do it but he talked me into it, said Vivolo of good friend Greg Short, both of whom live in southern California. Theres a certain camaraderie between people when you wear a wig or (costumes) or something here. Its very social. All in all, its excellent.

From Bubba Watson goading fans to cheer during his opening tee shots, to the nation-themed garb donned by spectators, the Ryder Cup is an audio and visual display of team and country devotion. For an event like this, the national pride has been evident. Fans have done everything from the subtle, like a wig or an Uncle Sam hat, to the extreme full flag suits and, in one case, a Captain America costume.

And for some, no distance was too far to travel.

Four men from Dublin, Ireland, with flags tied draped over their shoulders, had a weather-related reason to come here.

The sunshine, said Ken Tannen. After the last two European Ryder Cups (in Ireland in 2006 and Wales in 2010) we were so wet we decided to come here. Its absolutely awesome. We were just saying on the No. 1 tee earlier, it doesnt get any better than this.

Some of the outfits have garnered plenty of attention. A group of seven men from Great Britain have become weekend celebrities thanks to their suits, which are Union Jack from head to toe. Several fans stopped to have their picture taken with the group.

We all play golf at the same club back in the UK, so its a boys long week away. Weve had photos taken, national newspapers back home showed us, its been great, said Craig Nightengale, who added the groups been welcomed here. A vast majority of Americans have been great to us. Theyve been very sociable.

Jerry and Rosann Gorman didnt have to travel far for this one. Living just a mile away in Roselle, the Gormans, dressed in plenty of red, white and blue, took in Saturdays matches after volunteering here on Thursday.

Its been fantastic. The whole communitys involved and all the local people are embracing it, said Jerry Gorman. With both the Europeans and Americans, the money doesnt matter. Its all pride and everybodys a good sport.

Rosann agreed, and said the amicable feelings have been among the colorfully decked-out crowds, too.

Its been very interesting, especially with the Europeans. Its been fun to mingle with them, she said. I can listen to those British accents all day.

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Anfernee Simons looks more like a ball boy than a 2018 NBA Draft prospect right now. He’s not considered small, what with having a 6-foot-3 frame with a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine at 183 pounds, “heavier” than Lottery-bound guards like Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.

But there’s plenty of potential to unpack from the soon-to-be 19-year-old, baby-faced combo guard. Don’t let the appearance fool you. Simons is one of the most talented players in the class, and a team patient enough to let him develop at his own pace could reap major benefits in due time.

You won’t find much video on Simons, as the IMG Academy star is preparing to be the first prospect to go preps-to-pros without a year in college since Thon Maker did so in 2016.

Simons, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2018 class, originally committed to Louisville in November 2016 and then decommitted the following September shortly after Rick Pitino was fired. Since he had graduated from Edgewater High School in Florida and was playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy, he became eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft because he is a year removed from high school. That’s where he played this past season, declaring for the draft and signing with an agent in late March.

“The opportunity is there. Me and my parents talked about it a lot and I feel like I’m confident in myself that I’ll be able to make this jump,” he said at last week’s Combine. “So I just felt like, do it now and not waste any time.”

Simons has been on the radars of NBA teams, even if he’s not a household name like Ayton, Doncic and Bagley. He’s currently projected outside of the Lottery, in part because teams haven’t seen him compete against collegiate level talent and because his wiry frame almost surely means time in the G-League as a rookie. But again, the skill set is there.

Simons is a point guard with solid range beyond the arc. He may struggle off the ball because of his size, though that long wingspan and a quick release from his chest should allow him to get off shots. He’s a blur in transition and finishes well at the rim – his 41.5-inch vertical was tied for third best at the Combine, and his three-quarters court sprint was eighth fastest.

He’s a mixed bag defensively. Wingspan is the fun buzz word these days, and that will help him at the next level, but his small frame means there’s work to be done. A strength and conditioning coach will salivate at bringing Simons into the weight room and getting his body NBA-ready.

“Just staying durable through 82 games,” Simons answered when asked about his biggest challenge physically at the next level. “Taking care of your body is real pivotal so I feel like learning how to take care of my body now is a good thing.”

Simons maturely answered that the “unknown” of his game will be both a positive and minus during the pre-draft process. While fellow prospects he may face in team workouts don’t know as much about him and, thus, his game, teams also need to find out more about Simons’ game and off-court habits.

“Coming in young, people don’t know who I am and haven’t seen me play much. That’s the good side about coming in early,” he said. “It could be the same thing (negatively). People haven’t seen me like that, so I feel like they don’t know who I am. They probably think I’m too young to play in the league.”

Simons met with the Bulls and has scheduled a pre-draft workout with them. Though the Bulls feel like their rebuild could go quicker than anticipated – especially if they hit on their No. 7 pick – there could be plenty to gain from drafting for upside on a player like Simons.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne will both be free agents in 2019, and Denzel Valentine’s long-term future isn’t set in stone in Chicago. That leaves plenty of openings in the backcourt behind Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Simons won’t be ready to contribute much in 2018-19, but the Bulls wouldn’t need him to. A handful of outlets projected Simons as a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Bulls could snag him a year earlier, let him develop in Hoffman Estates and bring him up in a year when they’re a step closer to contending.

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

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Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Class A Winston-Salem

Gavin Sheets hit his first home run of the season in a 12-4 loss. While it's taken him this long to hit his first ball out of the park, Sheets has a .380 on-base percentage and his 24 walks make for one of the top 10 totals in the Carolina League. Blake Rutherford doubled in this one, while Sheets, Rutherford, Alex Call and Luis Alexander Basabe combined to draw five walks.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 9-3 win.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had two hits in a 9-3 loss.