White Sox

High School Lites: Weekly Hoops Preview

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High School Lites: Weekly Hoops Preview

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
9:08 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Comcast SportsNet is the place to be for high school sports! Fridays edition of High School Lites will feature 11 ranked teams in action, including battles between Proviso East and Downers Grove South, along with St. Ignatius and De La Salle. Also, David Kaplan has the story of Reilly OToole: the state champion quarterback from Wheaton Warrenville Southwho also knows a thing or two about basketball. Well preview the High School Hoops Showdown in Hoffman Estates and well take a stroll down memory lane in our flashback segment, featuring Simeon. Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover Friday night:

Hyde Park @ (19) Curie, 4:00pm

No, its not exactly Bears-Packers, but the highly anticipated matchup between Hyde Park and Curie has the makings of a classic. Its a fight for Red Central conference supremacy. Although Hyde Park (15-3, 7-0) isnt ranked, they will be coming in with a lot of momentum after Wednesdays 63-46 win at King. Aqui Shareef leads a very well-balanced attack for the Thunderbirds. Curie is coming off an 88-42 thrashing of Chicago Richards, which netted them their 20th win on the year. Devin Foster had 23 in the win.

Schurz @ Steinmetz, 4:00pm

Like Hyde Park-Curie, the Schurz-Steinmetz game will also be one that could decide a conference championship. This time, the Blue-North bragging rights could be up for grabs. Schurz is 18-2 after a 58-28 pasting of Northside. Francisco Uriostegui is the go-to guy for the Bulldogs. Their 7-0 record in conference will be tested Friday by a Steinmetz team who beat Lake View 53-46 on Wednesday. The Silver Streaks (15-3, 6-0) are one of the deepest teams in conference. Their guard Pierre Baptiste will get a lot of looks.

(18) Downers Grove South @ (4) Proviso East, 6:00pm

Look out for the 4th ranked Pirates. They are on fire after two wins over marquee programs (Glenbard East and North Lawndale). Sterling Brown, the younger brother of the Lakers Shannon, has emerged as a leader. Center Trashaun Carroll is tough to contain as well. But Downers South will provide a serious challenge. Guards Jerron Wilbut and Jamall Millison have nice touches on the ball, and center Ziggy Riauka can dominate the low post. The Mustangs have won three straight since winning the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament.

Stagg @ Thornwood, 6:00pm

Lets face it, Thorntons going to be very tough to catch in the SW Suburban Red conference, but the race for second is intriguing in its own way, as four teams come into this weekends action with 3-2 recordstwo of them being Chargers and Thunderbirds. Stagg has won four of their last five, including Tuesdays 66-37 victory over Oak Lawn. Thornwood lost a heartbreaking 62-61 decision Friday to Bradley-Bourbonnais. Theyre led by Darrel Combs, one of the best guards in the conference.

(2) Benet @ Marist, 7:30pm

Benets David Sobolewski will try to play with a sore back Friday night on the south side. The Northwestern-bound guard cannot afford to have his team look ahead to Saturdays showdown against 17 Glenbard East. Benet defeated St. Viator 48-32 on Tuesday. Fellow East Suburban Catholic foe Marist comes in with a 13-8 record after Tuesdays 73-64 loss to Brother Rice. Guards L.J. McIntosh and Paul Simmons, along with center Nick Weishar will hope to contain an elite Benet team thats loaded with talent.

St. Patrick @ Nazareth, 7:30pm

Another intriguing game in the ESCCthis time in La Grange Park. Both teams are chasing Benetand they both feature standout forwards: Ryan Powers for Nazareth, and Jacob Williams for St. Patrick. Nazareth is hoping for a win here to give them some momentum for next weeks showdown against Benet. As for the Shamrocks, theyre coming in off an impressive 63-46 win over Niles West in Skokie.

(7) De La Salle @ (24) St. Ignatius, 7:30pm

The uniforms on the floor tomorrow night will probably feature a lot of blue, white, gold and red--- but the game really features a lot of orange. Illinois recruits Mike Shaw (De La Salle) and 6-10 Nnanna Egwu (St. Ignatius) tangle in a prime showdown in the Catholic North conference. Both players are the go-to guys on their respective rosters. The 7th ranked Meteors are coming off a 3rd place finish in a Missouri tournament last weekend. St. Ignatius has won five in a row, including Sundays impressive win over Orr in the MLK Shootout.

Glenbrook North @ Niles North, 7:30pm

Niles North may not seem like a basketball powerhouse, but they could end up turning some heads come playoff time. The Vikings dribble-drive motion offense, installed by former Maine East coach Glenn Olson, has given New Mexico recruit Abdel Nader (a Maine East transfer himself) a lot of gaudy scoring numbers. Niles North will be challenged by a Glenbrook North team with a lot of size up frontand a lot of momentum from their last two wins. They beat Maine East 82-31, and then Glenbrook South 66-39.

Maine South @ (16) Evanston, 7:30pm

Like the Glenbrook North-Niles North game, Central Suburban South tenants Maine South and Evanston are also fighting for first in their conference as well. The 16th ranked Wildkits will come in with something to prove after Tuesday nights 44-39 loss to Loyola. The focal point of the Kits offense is guard Garrett Jones, one of the top guards in the area. Maine South has quite a guard of their own in Matt Palucki. The Hawks have won six straight and already have a win over Evanston this year: a 51-45 decision on December 7.

THURSDAY GAME:

(9) Whitney Young 49, (25) Orr 39

Ohio State-bound Sam Thompson scored 16 points and Thomas Hamilton added 10 more as the 9th ranked Dolphins pull out a key Red West victory. Curtis Jones led the Spartans with 14 points and Illinois-bound Mycheal Henry had 11 more in the losing effort. Whitney Young will have only one day to celebrate their win, as they prepare to take on another ranked opponent Hales Franciscanon Saturday night. We will have postgame reaction to Thursdays game with Thompson and W-Y head coach Tyrone Slaughter.

Check us out Friday night at 10:30. High School Lites streams live at CSNChicago.com.

Avi Garcia's played in fewer than 20 games since April, but could he still attract trade-deadline suitors?

Avi Garcia's played in fewer than 20 games since April, but could he still attract trade-deadline suitors?

Avisail Garcia returned from his latest disabled-list stint with a bang, smacking a three-run home run in the fourth inning Saturday in Seattle.

The White Sox right fielder hasn't even played in 20 games since late April, when he went on his first DL trip, which lasted two months. A second, also featuring an injury to his hamstring, made it two weeks between games.

But when he has been able to step to the plate this summer, Garcia has been tremendously productive. He came into Saturday night with a .333/.347/.783 slash line and a whopping eight home runs in the 17 games he played in between his two DL stays. Then he added that homer Saturday night off longtime Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, giving him nine homers in his last 14 games.

Keeping this up could do an awful lot of things for Garcia: It could make his ice-cold start a distant memory, it could prove that last year's All-Star season might not have been a fluke, and it could keep him entrenched in the conversation about the White Sox outfield of the future, giving the team one of those good problems to have when deciding how he would fit into the puzzle alongside top prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert.

But here's another possibility: Has Garcia swung a hot enough bat in his limited action that he could be a trade candidate before this month runs out?

The White Sox don't figure to have too many players who are going to get contending teams worked up into a lather. James Shields, Joakim Soria, Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno. Those guys could classify as additions that would bolster teams' depth, but they might not be the attractive upgrades the White Sox were able to trade away last summer.

Garcia, though, could be. He might not slide into the middle of the order for too many contenders, but someone looking for a starting corner outfielder might be enticed by the kind of numbers Garcia has put up in June and July, albeit in a small sample size. Teams would also have to consider his health. He's already been to the disabled list twice this season. Teams would certainly have to be confident he wouldn't return in order to make a deal.

On the White Sox end, Garcia would figure to fetch a far more intriguing return package than the aforementioned pitchers, given that he's still pretty young (27) with one more season of team control after this one.

The White Sox have plenty of options when it comes to Garcia. They could deal him now, deal him later or keep as a part of the rebuild, extending him and making him a featured player on the next contending team on the South Side. But with a lot of significant injuries this year perhaps having an effect on when all those highly rated prospects will finally arrive in the majors — not to mention the disappointing win-loss numbers the big league team has put up this season — perhaps it would make more sense to acquire some rebuild-bolstering pieces.

Of course, it all depends on if there are any deals to be made. Do other teams' front offices like what they've seen from Garcia in this short stretch as much as White Sox fans have? We'll know by the time August rolls around.

Cubs fight back after Javy Baez ejection: 'We're not animals'

Cubs fight back after Javy Baez ejection: 'We're not animals'

If baseball wants stars that transcend the game, they need guys like Javy Baez on the field MORE, not less.

That whole debate and baseball's marketing campaign isn't the issue the Cubs took exception with, but it's still a fair point on a nationally-televised Saturday night game between the Cubs and Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Baez was ejected from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he threw his bat and helmet in frustration at home plate umpire Will Little's call that the Cubs second baseman did NOT check his swing and, in fact, went around. 

Baez was initially upset that Little made the call himself instead of deferring to first base umpire Ted Barrett for a better view. But as things escalated, Baez threw his bat and helmet and was promptly thrown out of the game by Little.

"I don't think I said anything to disrespect anything or anyone," Baez said after the Cubs' 6-3 loss. "It was a pretty close call. I only asked for him to check the umpire at first and he didn't say anything.

"I threw my helmet and he just threw me out from there. I mean, no reason. I guess for my helmet, but that doesn't have anything to do with him."

Baez and the Cubs would've rather Little check with the umpire who had a better view down the line, but that wasn't even the main point of contention. It was how quickly Little escalated to ejection.

"We're all human," Baez said. "One way or the other, it was gonna be the wrong [call] for one of the teams.

"My message? We're not animals. Sometimes we ask where was a pitch or if it was a strike and it's not always offending them. I think we can talk things out. But I don't think there was anything there to be ejected."

Upon seeing his second baseman and cleanup hitter ejected in the middle of a 1-0 game against a division rival, Joe Maddon immediately got fired up and in Little's face in a hurry.

Maddon was later ejected, as well, and admitted after the game he was never going to leave the field unless he was tossed for protecting his guy.

"He had no reason to kick him out," Maddon said. "He didn't say anything to him. I mean, I watched the video. If you throw stuff, that's a fine. That's fineable. Fine him. That's what I said — fine him — but you cannot kick him out right there.

"He did nothing to be kicked out of that game. He did throw his stuff, whatever, but he did not say anything derogatory towards the umpire.

"...You don't kick Javy out. If he gets in your face and is obnoxious or belligerent or whatever, but he did not. He turned his back to him. That needs to be addressed, on both ends."

Maddon and the Cubs really want Major League Baseball to get involved in this situation. 

There are many other layers to the issue, including veteran Ben Zobrist having to come into the game as Baez's replacement. Maddon was not keen on using the 37-year-old Zobrist for 1.5 games during Saturday's doubleheader and now feels like he has to rest the veteran Sunday to lessen the wear and tear of a difficult stretch for the team.

There's also the matter of the groundball basehit in the eighth inning that tied the game — a seeing-eye single that just got past Zobrist as he dove to his left. It tied the game at 3 and the Cardinals took the lead for good the following inning.

Does Baez make that same play if he were out there instead of Zobrist? It's certainly possible.

"The dynamic of our defense was lessened by [the ejection]," Maddon said. "Again, listen, if it's deserved, I'm good. It was not. They don't need me out there, we need Javy out there.

"And it surprised me. I stand by what I'm saying. It was inappropriate. MLB needs to say something to us that it was inappropriate because it was and it could've led to the loss of that game."