Bulls

High School Lites Preview

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High School Lites Preview

Comcast SportsNet is your go-to place for prep basketball highlights in Chicagoland. Fridays High School Lites feast will feature conference battles on the north shore and profile some up-and-coming teams in the western suburbs.

Who will gain momentum on the eve of the holiday tournament season? Here is a snapshot of each game Comcast SportsNet will be covering this week on High School Lites. All rankings reflect the CSN Top 20:

THURSDAY GAMES

Girls: Bolingbrook (4-0) @ Lockport (2-6), 6:30 p.m.

Ariel Massengale is at Tennessee now, but forward Morgan Tuck and a talented group of Raiders remain. Tuck led all scorers with 18 points as Bolingbrook defeated Sandburg 56-25 Tuesday night. It's a challenging week for Taylor Quain and the Porters. They are facing two of the toughest teams in Chicagoland: Homewood-Flossmoor (69-45 loss on Tuesday) and now Bolingbrook.

Girls: Metea Valley (4-6) @ Waubonsie Valley (7-1), 7:15 p.m.

Waubonsie Valley's team might be a little more focused -- and a little more careful -- come Thursday night. The Warriors committed 21 turnovers in a 65-47 loss to Bartlett Tuesday. Becky Wilford paced the WV attack with 13 points. Metea Valley, who is starting to show a little more consistency after an 0-3 start, gets good contributions from Bria Walker, Anna Petersen and Megan Geldernick.

FRIDAY GAMES

Farragut (4-3) @ Westinghouse (6-2), 4:00 p.m.

If Westinghouse is to have any chance of winning Friday, they have to contain Farraguts Rashaun Stimage. The senior center was unstoppable Wednesday against Manley, racking up 27 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in the Admirals 93-37 victory. Westinghouse also comes in on a high note, after defeating Raby 72-54 Wednesday night. They also have a showdown with Whitney Young on Monday.

No. 9 New Trier (7-1) @ Waukegan (3-4) 7:30 p.m.

The Trevians have more than just Dartmouth-bound forward Connor Boehm. Guards Austin Angel, Reid Berman and David Braigel have New Trier off and running this season. Its always a battle when these Central Suburban South foes meet and this year figures to be no different. The Bulldogs have a talented guard in Akeem Springs and an up-and-coming forward in sophomore Jerome Davis. Theyre looking to bounce back from a Wednesday upset at the hands of Grayslake Central.

No. 16 West Aurora (5-1) @ Glenbard North (3-2), 7:30 p.m.
The top spot in the DuPage Valley conference doesn't have a runaway favorite this year. West Aurora and Glenbard North figure to be among the teams in the upper tier of the division. This game figures to be a nice showcase of forwards, Juwan Starks for West and Josh Fleming for North. The Blackhawks are riding high off a 71-59 win over Naperville Central, while the Panthers turned a few heads with a 59-55 victory over rival Glenbard East last Friday in Lombard.

St. Charles East (5-2) @ No. 17 Elgin (7-1), 7:30 p.m.

Could we have another Fab Four lurking? Arie Williams, Dennis Moore, Cortez Scott, Devin Gilliam and Kory Brown are the foursome that have kept the Maroons rolling all season. Each one of them scored in double-figures Tuesday night as Elgin beat Burlington Central 73-41. St. Charles East should cause a few more problems. They looked impressive in their last contest, a 56-43 decision over Geneva. They have Purdue recruit Kendall Stephens and an improving supporting cast.
No. 3 Proviso East (7-0) @ Hinsdale South (3-4), 7:30 p.m.

The Hornets got a much-needed win Tuesday night against Argo, winning 64-51. Their attack revolves around guard Phil George and center Brock Benson (both scored in double-figures in the win over the Argonauts). Can they hang with the Proviso East? St. Louis-bound Keith Carter, Sterling Brown and the rest of the third-ranked team, CSNs Muscle Milk Team of the Week, figure to be one of the states elite.
Willowbrook (1-5) @ No. 6 Downers Grove South (6-1), 7:30 p.m.

If the No. 6 Mustangs are to keep pace with the Proviso Easts and the Mortons in the West Suburban gold conference, they need to take care of league games like this on their home court. Senior guard Jerron Wilbut is coming off a 20-point performance last Friday in a win against Morton in Cicero. The Warriors will try to get back on the winning track; Fridays game represents the first in a three-game-in-five-night stretch.
Lake Forest (3-4) @ No. 4 Warren (6-1), 7:30 p.m.

If the fourth-ranked Blue Devils are to send retiring head coach Chuck Ramsey out in style, this figures to be the perfect year to do so. Warren is stacked this year, with seniors Nathan Boothe (C) and forward Darius Paul (F) at the controls. Warren is coming off a 61-45 win over Mundelein. Lake Forest has an interesting story in freshman Evan Boudreaux, who is playing on the varsity level for the Scouts. He scored 13 points in a losing effort Saturday against Zion-Benton.

Every Friday night at 10:30, High School Lites will bring you scores and highlights from the Chicagoland basketball courts. We'll also have in-depth feature stories and take a look back down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment. This week, be sure to check out CSN's Muscle Milk Team of the Week, the Proviso East Pirates. Well tell you why two of the famed Three Amigos are helping lead the boys from Maywood to a possible trip to Peoria in March (and no, were not talking about Chevy Chase, Martin Short or Steve Martin).

High School Lites streams live every Friday on CSNChicago.com. Its also where you can find: Drive 2011, the story of the Simeon Wolverines. This weeks journey takes us to Wednesdays tilt against Carver High School.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well by leaving comments at the bottom of this story. Also, please note that this weeks show will appear after our BlackhawksDucks coverage and SportsNet Central.

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

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USA Today

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

It’s no secret that the Bulls’ season hangs in the balance. At 17-30, the team is at once three games out of a playoff spot and slated ninth in the current lottery standings. 

To hear head coach Jim Boylen and co. tell it, a playoff berth remains the more desirable of those two timelines. But according to Basketball Reference, the Bulls have the third most difficult remaining strength of schedule in the East. And worse, they’ll have to face the (immediate) future without Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and Daniel Gafford.

The loss of Markkanen — the most recent of that group to go down — has tipping point potential. In the Bulls’ first game without him, they mustered just 81 points at home against a swooning Sacramento Kings squad, shooting 8-for-37 from 3-point range in the process. The team’s need for secondary scoring outside of Zach LaVine glared

But, as Boylen has maintained all season, the Bulls are not going to change the way they play. They just need to play better.

“We gotta play faster, we gotta move the ball. I thought we had a couple possessions where the ball stuck. The ball can’t stick. We gotta move it, we gotta drive it,” Boylen said of the loss to the Kings before the Bulls’ Saturday night matchup with the Cavaliers in Cleveland. “I also think we missed some opportunities that we need to make.

“Our margin for error is not great. We have to make the plays we can make and make the shots we can make.”

For now, at least, the starting lineup won’t change (sorry #StartCoby crowd) — though Boylen said he’ll keep his rotation fluid. As for outside reinforcements being brought in?

“We have not talked about that. Doesn’t mean we won’t,” Boylen said when asked if the Bulls could actually pivot to ‘buying’ at the trade deadline, given their relative proximity to a playoff spot. “We’re in the middle of a really tough stretch of games, and a lot of games, so my focus has been on that.

“I love the guys we have,” he added. “And we’re gonna keep coaching and teaching the guys we have. I’ve got a good group, a coachable group.”

Absent from those adjectives was ‘interchangeable’ but that word has been ever-present in Boylen’s vocabulary through the ups and downs of this season. In his first full year at the helm, his primary goal remains clear.

“Because we’re establishing this system,” Boylen said when asked why, through thick and thin, the team’s playing style hasn’t changed, as it did last season after Boylen was hired. “Last year, we were tearing it down and then establishing it. Now we’re gonna keep establishing it.”

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What White Sox fans wanted to know from Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria at SoxFest

What White Sox fans wanted to know from Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria at SoxFest

SoxFest brings the opportunity for fans to question team brass. And sometimes things can get a bit fiery.

This year, however, it was more of a victory lap for Rick Hahn after he loaded up the roster with an incredible amount of offseason acquisitions. Rick Renteria, too, got plenty of adulation after he came out and said the White Sox have their sights on reaching the postseason for the first time in more than a decade.

But there were still questions. Fans stepped up to the microphone and got some answers out of Hahn and Renteria during a pair of panels Friday and Saturday.

Here are some of the more interesting and pertinent questions and answers from the two sessions.

Extensions for Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito?

The White Sox have made headlines in each of the last two offseasons by handing out big-money extensions to Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert before they played a game in the major leagues. But Saturday brought a fan question about whether the team was planning more extensions, specifically ones for Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, two guys who broke out in a big way in 2019 and established themselves as the team's best all-around hitter and the ace of the starting staff, respectively.

These are not terribly pressing matters, obviously, as both guys are under team control for another four seasons. But the longer they go on their current deals and the longer they're allowed to keep improving, the more expensive they'll become to retain.

Hahn said that it's a White Sox priority to keep all of their talented young players together for as long as possible. He also mentioned that it has long been a part of the plan during the rebuilding process to be aggressive on extensions, as the team has shown with the deals for Jimenez and Robert. Players earn the right to reach free agency and explore the open market, but the White Sox do have a pretty good track record of retaining their own players, often on deals that have allowed them to keep some financial flexibility.

Tim Anderson in right field?

Whether it was a legitimate strategy proposal or a makeshift way to get Yolmer Sanchez back to the South Side, one fan suggested moving Tim Anderson to right field, pointing out Anderson's large number of errors at shortstop and that moving Anderson off the position would open room for Sanchez to work his defensive wonders on a daily basis.

Well, that suggestion didn't get much consideration from Renteria, who said rather definitively he will not be playing Anderson in right field.

The question might not have been the most realistic suggestion, but it allowed Renteria to express his belief in Anderson's defense. Though Anderson has made a ton of errors at shortstop — 88 of them in his four big league seasons — he continues to receive rave reviews from White Sox brass. Renteria said Saturday he believes Anderson will be "an elite shortstop in the big leagues," and Hahn said this weekend he believes Anderson will be a Gold Glove finalist one day.

As for Sanchez, he's still on the free-agent market despite winning a Gold Glove in 2019. And while the White Sox have shortstop spoken for with Anderson and second base spoken for with Nick Madrigal, eventually, Hahn was asked about the likelihood of a Sanchez return Friday night and basically reminded everyone to never say never.

More starting pitching?

Hahn said Thursday that while there likely won't be any more big-ticket additions, the White Sox busy winter might not be completely over just yet, with minor moves still being discussed by the front office. More starting pitching would seem to make plenty of sense considering there's not a ton of depth behind the five guys slated to make up the Opening Day rotation: Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease and Gio Gonzalez. Considering the plan for Michael Kopech has yet to be finalized and Dylan Covey is no longer with the organization, some small additions like the Ervin Santana deal last spring would be logical.

One fan asked why not add a slightly bigger ticket item, specifically bringing up free-agent pitcher Taijuan Walker, to further bolster the starting staff. Hahn wouldn't close the door on adding more starting pitchers but pointed out that because of the depth the White Sox have on the way — with Kopech factoring into things somehow and Carlos Rodon, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert all working their way back from Tommy John surgery — the White Sox might not be the most attractive destination for a mid- or bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher, who could see his opportunity to pitch vanish once all those arms return to full strength.

A return for Dane Dunning?

Speaking of starting-pitching depth on the way, Hahn did offer up some sort of timeline for one of those guys, saying that Dunning could be pitching for a minor league affiliate come "June-ish." That's a made-up month on the same level as "Smarch," but it's also a good sign for the White Sox, who saw Dunning flying through the system before his injury.

Hahn said at last year's SoxFest that if not for the arm injury he suffered in 2018, Dunning could have factored into the Opening Day rotation for the 2019 season. Considering that level of potential readiness — a level most likely altered in some fashion by the surgery and long layoff — Dunning might be someone who could play a role in the 2020 season.

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