Bulls

Gray, Brooks knock out Morgan Park

Gray, Brooks knock out Morgan Park

Sunday, March 13, 2011
12:52 a.m.

By Tim Cronin
Yourseason.com

Brooks' Keith Gray wasn't supposed to play on Friday night. A hyperextended left knee was supposed to keep him out of the Class 3A sectional final against Morgan Park.

Then the phone of Brooks coach Bobby Locke rang. It was Gray's father with good news.

"He wants to play," Locke was told. "It's his decision."

It was a bold one, backed up with similar play on the court, play that helped Brooks to a 60-46 victory over Morgan Park before about 1,700 fans at Rich South. Gray scored 10 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked three shots, an emotional leader.

"I've been in pain the whole month," Gray said. "I said (tonight) it really didn't hurt, so he said, 'Go ahead and play.' "

The pain melted away during the game, during which Brooks (24-3) built an 11-point lead, only to see the Mustangs, led by Wayne Blackshear's 14 points, claw their way back. The lead had been trimmed to 41-37 on Blackshear's drive to the basket with 1:30 left in the third. Only then, after a 9-2 outburst, did Locke call time.

"The reason I went so long is because I have so many seniors," Locke said. "I don't have to get on them as much as they get on each other."

The result of the tempest in the huddle was an 11-point run that put the Public League champions ahead to stay, though the Mustangs (20-7), despite being rebounded 42-17, pulled within six points with 1:15 left, causing a few Eagles fans to worry.

There were no worries for Brooks at the end.

"With the exception of Wayne, they don't have rebounders," Locke said. "You make him over out to the perimeter and make him shoot jump shots, and everybody (on Brooks) goes to the boards. That's what we did. Our main priority was to get the first rebound."

Priority accomplished.

"Everybody had us as the underdogs," Gray said. "We came and showed 'em we were the winning team tonight."

Brother Kevin Gray added 13 points to go with 10 rebounds for Brooks, which was led by George Marshall's 18 points.

Now there's another decision for Gray, and Locke, to ponder.

"He probably won't play on Tuesday," Locke said, thinking ahead to Tuesday's supersectional against Lindblom.

Of course, that's what Locke thought going into Friday's game.

For Morgan Park, the loss closes Blackshear's high school career prematurely. Double-teamed much of the game, he still paced the Mustangs.

"I wish I had him with me the rest of my career," Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said.

"Coming this close, it hurts," Blackshear said. "They were probably more aggressive on the boards than us."

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

james_wiseman.jpg
USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0

Will Nick Madrigal make Opening Day roster? White Sox say he has 'a few more things to prove'

Will Nick Madrigal make Opening Day roster? White Sox say he has 'a few more things to prove'

What’s the White Sox plan for second base in 2020?

Depends on when you ask.

“If we sat here today,” general manager Rick Hahn said during his pre-SoxFest press conference Thursday, “it would be some combination of Leury Garcia, Danny Mendick and Nick Madrigal.

“Ask me again on March 25.”

Presumably, Hahn and manager Rick Renteria will be asked many more times between now and then.

It doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult question to answer if we’re talking about the bulk of the 2020 campaign, as Madrigal — ranked as one of the best prospects in baseball — figures to be the guy at second base for a majority of the season. But with just 29 games played at Triple-A Charlotte last year, the White Sox might not be as ready for him to make the leap to the bigs as the fan base seems to be.

“He's got a few more things to prove,” Hahn said. “I think that when we go through trying to be as objective as possible thinking about where he is developmentally, he hasn't necessarily answered all the questions we have for him at the minor leagues.

“But we're going to go in with fresh eyes and a fresh approach in spring training and see where he's at and in all probability make an assessment there.

“I don't think we have him, by any means, written in pen as the Opening Day second baseman at this point, if that's what you mean. But could he change our minds? Yeah.”

Madrigal just might do that. After all, the bat-to-ball skills that continue to be described as “elite” are still there. He struck out just 16 times — 16 times! — in 532 trips to the plate between three levels of the minor leagues in 2019. He’s had his defense talked up as Gold Glove caliber since the White Sox selected him with the No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft. All the rave reviews are still there.

Considering the alternatives are two guys who seem to be ticketed for reserve status, at best, in Garcia and Mendick, it’s no shocking thing to suggest that Madrigal is probably the organization’s best second baseman. But during this rebuilding process, the White Sox have been consistently patient with their prospects, an approach that has maddened fans at times. But Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez arrived at the big leagues eventually, and a big-money extension for Luis Robert has cleared his path to an Opening Day roster spot a year after he set the minor leagues on fire.

“We still want him to get more at-bats,” Renteria said of Madrigal on Thursday. “I want to see him out there defensively. He can catch the ball. We already know that he's a heady player. I think we want him to still have the at-bats this spring to see big league play, more big league pitchers.”

And so you can begin to envision an Opening Day lineup without Madrigal in it as he continues to polish off the final stage of his minor league development in Charlotte. That means Garcia, likely, as the Opening Day second baseman and the main option there until the White Sox deem Madrigal ready for the major league stage. Mendick will probably earn a roster spot, as well, and he might see more time than expected should Renteria opt to utilize Garcia’s versatility in the outfield on any sort of regular basis.

While there are plenty of guys out there on the free-agent market that might strike as better options than those two — and the White Sox might not be done making smaller additions before Opening Day — it might also not make the most sense to pay for someone who will be backing up Madrigal in a matter of weeks or a couple of months. Just something to consider.

Anyway, Madrigal’s really going to have to blow the doors off the Cactus League, it would seem, if he’s going to be starting alongside Robert & Co. in the March 26 opener against Kansas City. But until he and the White Sox get down to Arizona, the answer can’t be more certain than “maybe, but probably not.”

But, hey, feel free to ask Hahn again come March 25.

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