Bears

Locker Room Prep Talk never stops talking

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Locker Room Prep Talk never stops talking

First of all, I'm not computer-friendly. All I want to know about a computer is how to turn it on, how to print a story, how to obtain a printout of the story and how to shut off the computer. If anything conflicts with that process, I'm in trouble.

Secondly, I never cease to be amazed and awed by the Internet. So much information at your fingertips, sometimes inaccurate and saturated with unsubstantiated rumors, but easier to access than thumbing through an encyclopedia or thesaurus or even a dictionary.

Take my old blog, for example. I didn't know what a blog was until a few years ago. Then, in 2007, my old employers at the Chicago Sun-Times asked me to start a blog. "Locker Room Prep Talk" was born in November 2007. Until December 2010, I posted as many as 10 to 20 stories per month about high school sports in Illinois.

That's the thing: my last story on the archive is dated Dec. 29, 2010. Since then, Locker Room Prep Talk has taken on a life of its own.

Actually, there was one more story. The following week I posted a story on Simeon basketball star Jabari Parker. It was deleted by an editor after one day online because he claimed some readers protested some of the content included in the story.

I wrote about Parker's relationship with a Jewish basketball player from Glenbrook North. They are the best of friends and play on the same AAU team. Parker attended the youngster's Bar Mitzvah. It took up all of two sentences in a 1,200-word story.

When I was informed by the prep editor that the editor had ordered that the story be deleted--he never talked to me about the issue--I quit on the spot. I have never had any relationship with the Sun-Times since. After 33 years, I felt the paper at least owed me an explanation.

But "Locker Room Prep Talk" goes on and on and on. Google it up and there is it--every story I ever wrote, from 2007 to 2010. And nearly every day, a reader taps into the website, reads a story and emails a comment. Some days, there are as many as four or five comments.

Incredibly, that's how I finally found Homer Thurman. After searching for the former multi-sport star from Bloom Township in Chicago Heights for more than 30 years, a reader in Hawaii emailed on the "Locker Room Prep Talk" website that Homer had died in Honolulu on June 27.

Ken Nelson, an old friend of Thurman's dating to the late 1970s, had begun an online search for Thurman's background and discovered a story in "Locker Room Prep Talk" and my recent story for CSNChicago.com on Thurman's induction into the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum in Pinckneyville.

People from here, there and everywhere, including Hawaii, somehow find Locker Room Prep Talk on the Internet and check out the archive, then comment about a story that was posted sometime in the last 10 years.

Most recently, someone recalled my story on the late basketball star Billy Harris of Dunbar, noting that he had played many days at Dunbar's gym with Crane star Arthur Sivels. He said he rated Sivels, a playground legend, "just slightly above" Isiah Thomas, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Porter, Ronnie Lester, Mo Cheeks, Derrick Rose, Rickey Green and Michael Poole.

And a former Evanston player, having read an archival story on legendary Evanston coach Murney Lazier that was written so long ago that it had to be dusted off, praised the teachings of his former coach, pointing out that when he went to college he realized that Lazier had taught him fundamentals that weren't being taught at the next level.

It is unfortunate that the Sun-Times made a decision that forced the termination of "Locker Room Prep Talk." Readers can keep up with the same subject matter in the Prep section of CSNChicago.com every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In the meantime, "Locker Room Prep Talk" continues to take on a life of its own. In recent posts, another former city basketball player recalled Sivels, Larry Cross, Lloyd Walton and Jerome Freeman, a football fan recalled Deerfield's 1973 football team and coach Paul Adams, a former teammate of Hales Franciscan star Sam Puckett said "there never will be another Sam Puckett," and Mike Matthews, a starter on Hirsch's 1973 state championship basketball team, recalled the late Billy Harris.

A St. Laurence football fan claimed the Vikings' 1979 football team, with Ron Prusa, Mike McQuinn, Mike Berggren and Rick Gregus, was more talented than the more celebrated 1974 squad of Pete Allard, Jeff Pearson, Tim Grunhard and Paul Glonek.

Several city basketball fans chimed in with comments about former King star Jamie Brandon, one of only five players ever to score more than 3,000 points in state history and perhaps the best player never to compete in the NBA. And one fan argued that many Fab Five teams could be assembled but he would start with Cazzie Russell, Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Mark Aguirre and Dale Kelley.

Talk about one way to start an argument or a debate. Sounds like more grist for Locker Room Prep Talk to me.

Power Rankings Roundup: So far, the Bears are who they thought they were

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USA TODAY

Power Rankings Roundup: So far, the Bears are who they thought they were

As the Power Rankings come rolling in today, the Bears once again find themselves stuck in the middle. Khalil Mack draws national eyes even during 3 p.m. games in Arizona, but with those eyes comes a healthy dose of skepticism for Mitchell Trubisky. The NFC North kinda stumbled out the gate here, and the Bears sitting in 1st place at the quarter mark has garnered them some deserved praise. Still, there's a clear distrust in the Bears so far. Here's what they're saying: 

Ours: #11 (whatever), up 6:
Probably another overreaction, because thier offense is BAD. But that defense is good enough to carry them into the playoffs.

NFL.com: #17, down 3
The new NFC North terror, Khalil Mack, was at it again. Mitch Trubisky was more like north of terrible. He isn't losing games, but he isn't exactly helping this otherwise-ready-for-prime-time team win, either.

ESPN.com: #18, up 5
While the Bears rank second in plays per drive at 6.2, they are 29th in touchdowns per drive at 12.5 percent. Part of that reason: They rank 27th in red zone efficiency TD.

USA Today: #18, down 3
Khalil Mack among four players on pace to collect 21½ sacks this season. Meanwhile, Raiders on pace to collect league-low 16 collectively.

SB Nation: #13
I simply can’t put them higher than the Packers seeing the Packers beat them already. Mack is looking like he plays Michael Schofield every week. Maybe he needed to get out of Oakland to see his true potential?

CBS Sports: #16, up 8
They are leading the division after three weeks and easily could be undefeated. That defense is legit.

Sporting News: #16, up 2
The Khalil Mack trade is paying huge dividends, especially with Mitchell Trubisky struggling to move the ball consistently.

Fansided: #17, no change
The Bears are lucky to stay put after that showing. Yikes.

Yahoo Sports: #17, up 1
The offensive struggles are why the Bears aren’t higher on this list. The defense is really good, however.

How both the Cubs and Cardinals could pop champagne at Wrigley Field on Friday

How both the Cubs and Cardinals could pop champagne at Wrigley Field on Friday

The Cubs face-off with their hated rival Cardinals this weekend as both clubs enter this week in position to nab a postseason spot. The Cubs are only five wins away from winning their 3rd straight NL Central division title while the Cardinals are clinging onto the final Wild Card spot in the NL. And with both teams gearing up to finish the season playing each, Gordon Wittenmyer from the Chicago Sun-Times broke down a scenario where the Cubs and Cardinals clinch Friday night. 

This scenario relies on the Cubs winning Friday night against the Cardinals, who have been a pesky thorn in the side of the Cubs winning 9 of the 16 meetings this season. But if the Cubs are able to prevail Friday, it would give both the Cubs and Cardinals the chance to celebrate at Wrigley Field, while also making the final two games of the season just rest days for the starters. 

As weird as it would be to see both the Cubs and Cardinals celebrating a postseason birth, I'm sure fans wouldn't mind the Cardinals have their moment as long as it means the Cubs are partying as well.