Bears

Parker stars as short-handed Simeon prevails

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Parker stars as short-handed Simeon prevails

By Michael O'Brien
Yourseason.com

Unlike a lot of high-level high school basketball programs, things have been relatively calm at Simeon. The No. 1 Wolverines have not had a lot of players in trouble or suspended, especially during their high school careers.

So that made it especially surprising Sunday when five Simeon players walked out in street clothes before the Wolverines Public League quarterfinal game against No. 14 Marshall.

Kendrick Nunn, Jaleni Neely, Jaylon Tate, Lawrence Briggs and Tyre Washington were all suspended for breaking a team rule.

"Those young men made a mistake," Simeon coach Robert Smith said. "They are apologetic. It was nothing illegal, they just broke a team rule."

Neely and Nunn are starters and Tate is generally the first man in off the bench. The Wolverines weathered their absence without a second thought, beating Marshall 73-62 to advance to Wednesdays semifinals.

Simeon (23-1) opened the game with a 14-0 run. Marshall managed to cut the lead to eight early in the third quarter but the Wolverines responded with a 12-3 run to retake control.

"This team is unbelievable," Smith said. "No one was in a hurry. We had confidence that the guys playing could step in. We lost a lot (without the suspended five playing) but losing the game was not a concern."

Junior phenom Jabari Parker was sensational with 33 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. He was 10-for-16 from the field. Steve Taylor scored 11 and grabbed 14 rebounds. Kendall Pollard added 10 points and four blocks.

Seniors Dwaun Stewart (seven points, six rebounds) and Reggie Norris (nine points) started in place of Nunn and Neely. Norris started a number of games while Neely was injured earlier in the season, but Stewart had not received any significant playing time in his career.

Milton Doyle led the Commandos with 19 points, but scored just two in the second half. He appeared to injure his leg at some point in the third quarter and was limping, but stayed in the game. Korbin McClain added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Derrick Miles scored 12.

Simeon will play Orr Wednesday at DePaul. Smith didnt say whether the five suspended players will be back on the court.

"We dont know yet," Smith said. "We strive for discipline."

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

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USA Today

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

The Bears are back in Chicago and Tom Brady and the Patriots are in town! With a week of practice wrapping up today, here's what's been happening in the lead up to Sunday's Bears-Pats matchup: 

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

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USA TODAY

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"