Cubs

H-F's Williams: Basketball or football?

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H-F's Williams: Basketball or football?

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Posted: 11:55 a.m.

By Taylor BellCSNChicago.com
It is generally agreed that it is virtually impossible for a blue-chip athlete to compete in football and basketball at a major Division I college due to the overlapping seasons and the demands of both high-profile sports.

Can you name one?

The short but distinguished list includes two Heisman Trophy winners: Terry Baker of Oregon State in 1962 and Charlie Ward of Florida State in 1993. It also includes two Olympians: Charlie Hoag of Oak Park and Kansas in 1952 and Quinn Buckner of Thornridge and Indiana in 197; also Jesse Arnelle of Penn State in 1954 and Matt Trannon of Michigan State in 2007.

Anyone else?

Tim Williams hopes to beat the odds.

Williams, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior at Homewood-Flossmoor, is a quarterback in a spread offense whom coach Craig Buzea predicts "has the ability to be another Cam Newton." Last season, he passed for 2,116 yards and 21 touchdowns for a team that went from 1-8 to a 10-3 state semifinalist. But due to lack of exposure, he has no scholarship offers.

In basketball, Williams is rated as the No. 7 prospect in Illinois' class of 2012, according to one scouting service. Last season, he averaged 12 points and six rebounds for a 23-5 Class 4-A sectional semifinalist. He is being recruited as a small forward. He has 10 scholarship offers, including Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Indiana State and Drake.

"It bothers me that I don't have any offers in football," Williams said.

"I understand that I haven't gone to camps and haven't got much exposure. Until this year, I was concentrating mostly on basketball. My choice? I wouldn't want to give up either sport. I would like to play both sports at the highest level I can. I love them both. It would be hard to choose one over the other."

Credit Buzea for stirring Williams' interest in football. He coached at Portage, (Ind.) for 14 years, then moved to Michigan City, Ind. for three years before being hired last year to rejuvenate the H-F program. He went 10-3 last season and is just beginning to use his entire playbook.

"I was ready for a change," said Bueza, a native of Griffith, Ind. "Illinois football had intrigued me with its playoff situation. I wanted to broaden my horizons."

"I was familiar with the H-F program. In 1994, my first year at Portage, we went to the state title game in Indiana, the same year that H-F won the state title in Illinois. I was intrigued by H-F's talent pool and its potential. I knew they could turn it around."

Williams was impressed. All of a sudden, thanks to Buzea, football was fun again.

"He changed our attitude, our approach to new things, more discipline, more punctuality, more team concept," Williams said. "He talked to me. He said he liked what he saw on film. He ran the same type of offense, the same plays. Everybody started to feel good about football again."

H-F, ranked No. 6 in the Chicago area, crushed Senn 76-6 in its opener, then trounced Deerfield 47-0 last Friday. The Vikings play at Lincoln-Way Central on Friday night in a Southwest Suburban Blue matchup. Against Deerfield, Williams completed 11 of 15 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.

"He is a football player," Buzea said. "He is not as smooth as pure passers but he is as accurate as any thrower I've been around. The game moves in slow motion for him. He understands the game. He makes all the throws. His upside is tremendous.

Because he has played so much basketball in the summer, he has barely touched the surface of what he can do in football. He is more serious about football than he was a year ago."

Because Williams is concentrating on leading his football team to the state championship, he said the recruiting process will resume after the season. He wants to re-evaluate his stature after the football season, to see if he has any offers. Then he will arrange for campus visits. Duke and UCLA in basketball and Miami (Fla.) in football have always been his favorites.

He hopes they will invite him to make a visit.

"I used to think I was better in basketball," Williams said. "But after last year, I realized I have talent in football. Now I take both sports more seriously. Some say I am a basketball player but when they come to a football game, they think I'm a football player."

MLB, MLBPA, and Sony Interactive announce multi-year extension of partnership

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USA TODAY

MLB, MLBPA, and Sony Interactive announce multi-year extension of partnership

On Monday it was officially announced in a joint statement that the MLB, MLBPA, San Diego Studio, and Sony Interactive had agreed to a multi-year extension on their partnership to create the popular, officially licensed MLB video game, MLB The Show.

This year's upcoming edition of MLB The Show, MLB The Show 20, features Cubs superstar shortstop on the cover. The award-winning game will be entering a pivotal year as MLB The Show 20 will be the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Among the other big announcements from Sony Interactive was that the Sony exclusive title will be making its way to other console platforms soon, as early as 2021. 

The Baez-led MLB The Show 20 will feature a variety of specific gameplay features and promotions to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the beloved MLB video game franchise. 

Potential Cubs target Shogo Akiyama is reportedly in the U.S. during the winter meetings

Potential Cubs target Shogo Akiyama is reportedly in the U.S. during the winter meetings

The Cubs could use a leadoff hitter and a center fielder. One player who can fill both of those holes is available is looking to sign soon.

Japanese center fielder Shogo Akiyama is in the U.S. with his agent, according to Sports Nippon, while the winter meetings take place in San Diego.

Akiyama is a center field option when center field options are limited this offseason. Brett Gardner is a free agent, but the 36-year-old wouldn’t be easy to pry away from his only professional organization.

Akiyama is 31 and saw a dropoff in his numbers in Japan last season, but still had a .392 on-base percentage with 20 home runs in 143 games.

Albert Almora’s struggles last season left the Cubs with uncertainty in center going forward. That saw Jason Heyward spending some time in center with Kyle Schwarber and Nicholas Castellanos on the corners. That’s not a pretty defensive outfield. Meanwhile, Akiyama has two Golden Glove awards in Japan.

He would also bring on-base skills and speed to a Cubs lineup that has resorted to having power hitter Anthony Rizzo play leadoff at times.

Akiyama would also likely not be an expensive option, which is key for a Cubs team reportedly looking to get under the luxury tax this offseason.

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