Bears

Parker displays flair for the dramatic

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Parker displays flair for the dramatic

For the last three years at Simeon, Jabari Parker has shown hes an exceptional player on the court, and an even better person off it. But on Saturday night at the inaugural Chicago Elite Classic, the high school senior also showed a trait not many have seen: a flair for the dramatic, or as the kids like to call it, swag.
The 6-foot-8 Parker wasnt expected to play in Simeons 2012-13 season opener against Milton (GA) at the UIC Pavilion, but word began to circulate prior to tip-off that he would suit up, creating buzz in the arena as the estimated 5,000 fans in attendance realized they would get what they paid to see.
I wanted to play because I miss the game so much, said Parker who played 11 minutes and tallied six points and four rebounds in Simeons 56-35 victory. I just worried about myself for once and I felt like I missed the game and I wanted to get out there with the guys and begin my last year.
Parker had initially stated he wouldnt rush to get back on the court and allow his injured foot to heal on its own, but he obviously had a change of heart as game time neared. The decision to play was ultimately his call and Wolverines' head coach Robert Smith trusted his All-American when he said that he was ready to go.
When I got back to the hotel, Jabari said he wanted to go. So I thought about it and called his parents and they were fine with it; so I let him get out there and play, Smith said.
The excitement of Parkers return to the court for the first time since July wasnt just limited to the fans in the stands. His teammates were pretty happy about it as well.
It was exciting. We actually found out an hour before the game that he was going to play, sophomore standout D.J. Williams, who led the Wolverines with 12 points, said. He talked to coach Rob about it, then the rumor got out and thats what got us hyped for the game, that Jabari was going to play.
Said teammate Kendrick Nunn who scored 11 points in the opener, including being on the receiving end of some high-flying, alley-oop dunks, We were excited at the hotel when we found out Jabari was going to play. I didnt think he wanted to miss the beginning of the season and I know he just wanted to be here for the team.
When asked to assess his performance, Parker who is about 15 to 20 pounds above his playing weight was brutally honest.
Id give myself a D; close to an F, he said of his play. I just wanted to get a feel on the floor and that was the most important thing. My body felt good. I was surprised I wasnt as winded I wasnt gasping for air. I was alright and the foot feels alright.
To protect his injured foot, for the game, Jabari wore LeBron James latest signature shoe from Nike an event sponsor the LeBron X which has superior cushioning all its own.
In addition to that, he also wore specialized insoles to help prevent any chance of reinjury.
I had my orthotics in which were built for high-impact, explained Parker. They help because my foot isnt as loose and I am worried about my feet right now."
When asked how he felt physically after playing full-court basketball for the first time in five months, Parker jokingly stated, Im probably going to sleep like 12 hours tonight. My body is like an old man. Sunday my back is probably going to be aching and Ill need an ice bath.

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”