Bears

Rose cut from a different cloth than other superstars

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Rose cut from a different cloth than other superstars

Having to miss practice because of soreness after Mondays win over the Knicks, a 25,000 fine for criticizing officiating in the aforementioned game and getting rear-ended on the Kennedy Expressway, all sandwiched in between marquee matchups with star-studded opponents and potential playoff foes New York and Miami, wasnt an ideal way for Derrick Rose to spend his Tuesday afternoon. Those arent the type of headlines the reigning league MVP likes to make; hed prefer to let his game do the talking, like the previous week, in which he took home Eastern Conference player of the week honors for his stellar play.

In fact, he could do without all the fanfare in general his purchase of a 2.8 million condo in the Trump Tower included and just focus on the high-profile games themselves, showdowns he anticipated would be fun, a description that isnt uncommon when the 23-year-old is asked about so-called individual or team challenges. While the response may seem bland or generic, the look in the fierce competitors eye often gives away how he truly feels: Fun means a highly-competitive game, in which hell try to destroy the opposition.

As always, Rose tends to downplay things in his naturally understated ways, something that differentiates him from many of his superstar peers. While his on-court status makes him a must-have quote before and after games, rarely does he provide the media with inflammatory statements, although his candor occasionally makes for excellent insight.

Take last Wednesdays buzzer-beater to beat the Bucks in Milwaukee, already one of the signature moments in his young career. While he acknowledged that making a walk-off shot on the road was a childhood dream, there were no hints of either arrogance or overexuberance.

Afterward, teammate Brian Scalabrine who has played with Hall of Famers throughout his career, from Jason Kidd in New Jersey to Bostons Big Three told CSNChicago.com: Ive played with some great, great players and what makes him so different is he has the will to win, but he also has the skill to do it and he wants it. Hes not afraid of it. He wants that responsibility. Whether he makes it or misses free throws or something, he likes it. When you have that in your superstar, its the kind of guy you want to have.

Off the court, its the same. Rose has obviously endeared himself to fans worldwide with his combination of precocious basketball skills, remarkably explosive athleticism and extreme humility, but could some of that also be because he simply carries himself differently than the stereotypical NBA star?

In many ways, the NBA is like high school. With approximately 450 players on rosters and several friendships dating back to college, if not to their AAU days, the professional wrestling type of hype the media occasionally falls victim to using when promoting games between rival teams and players is different from reality, as current and former players often describe the league as a fraternity, in which players frequently socialize and stay in touch off the court, regardless of team affiliations or heated on-court occurrences.

That said, while theres a mutual respect factor for all players who make it to the highest level in the sport, as in every industry, natural friendships blossom and people of the same ilk tend to relate to others like them. While some players click with hometown or regional friends, college rivals, former teammates and just people they share commonalities with, there seems to be a growing number of superstar players that have formed a bond, whether formally or not.

Im way younger than those guys, so people that came in with me, Im by myself. Those guys are five or six years older than I am, so its totally different. Theyve been knowing each other for a very long time, playing against each other and with each other for a long time, Rose told CSNChicago.com days later. I stand alone a little bit, but Im a loner. Im used to it. I can be quiet all day. I dont need anyone to talk to. Thats just me.

Rose was talking about his experience at last months All-Star Game in Orlando, where he was criticized in some corners for not dancing on stage with the likes of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Back to the real world, he said after the game, to refresh your memory. I dont care how I lookif you would have saw me out there dancing, you would have been looking at me different. Im just meI can dance, but I think theres a time and place for it, and I dont think it was right then and there on stage when the Eastern Conference starters were introduced. The soft-spoken point guard was too polite to directly make the connection, but the implication was clear: Rose is a different breed.

I just think its the way he was raised, man. hes not really a clique-type of dude," said teammate Carlos Boozer. "The people that you see around Derrick are the same people who have been around him since he was a young fella his brothers, his boy Randall Hampton, guys he grew up in his neighborhood, his mom the same people around him now. Hes an NBA superstar and every time we go out or we see him at dinner, its the same people hes been with, Boozer explained. His clique outside of the family he grew with is us. Were his brothers, his team. Thats what makes him so dope because he knows where he came from, stays to where he came from and at the same time, his brothers are the people he plays with outside of his family. Hes very different, but definitely true to his roots, man.

Hes not changing. Listen: He has the same mentality. You would have no idea he was some mega-superstar, which he is, if you just talk to him day to day. If you walk into a room, he might not say anything to you, you dont know who he is, but you see him on all the billboards and you see him on every SportsCenter highlight reel. Just a humble dude, man. I keep telling people, hes the most humble star that Ive ever met in my life, in any sport, he continued. The craziest thing Ive seen is most stars love the attention; D-Rose shies away from it. He doesnt want to talk to you all. Hed rather us talk for him. Hed rather go about his business, enjoy his life. That, to me, is crazy because most stars want all the attention. He doesnt.

Echoed Joakim Noah: I love the fact that hes comfortable with who he is, you know? He doesnt have to impress anybody and he doesnt have to be what hes not. Hes comfortable with who he is. Thats why I expletive with D-Rose.

Its fitting the James and Wade are in the Windy City Wednesday coming off an overtime loss to the seemingly confused Dwight Howard and Orlando as the contrast between them and Rose will be on full display. Not in their games, as each of the trio are all elite talents, but in their respective demeanors, as the way Rose comports himself particularly behind the scenes, amongst their peers, with no media in sight is simply cut from a different cloth.

Yes, Roses comments about the officiating Monday seem out of line with his usual humility, but he made them out of a sense of injustice, not hubris. And while he continues to be patient with the media and address repeated questions about the same topic day after day and night after night how many Most Valuable Players are available before and after games, let alone the occasional shootaround? he is obviously getting weary of the constant onslaught.

But this is still the same guy who, until teammates stepped in to put an end to the practice, was determined to sign every autograph for diehard Bulls fans at the airport when the team plane landed back in Chicago in the wee hours of the morning following a road game. Even with all of the attention he receives and success hes had, and will continue to enjoy, as well as the untold riches coming his way, could he ever change?

Its doubtful. In the words of Noah who did note that, outside of his teammates, Rose does hang out with the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder duo Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, as well as Minnesotas Kevin Love, in the offseason; he works out with Westbrook and Love Too many big brothers.

James is one thing, an anointed future Hall of Famer since he was 15-years-old, complete with a never-before-seen hype machine and even with some missteps along the way at least in the media, though even the most avowed LeBron hater cant say hes made bad judgments off the court that could lead anyone to the conclusion that hes an outright bad person, if not a modest one hes become the person, in his public perception, and player, hes supposed to be, clutch performances aside. But in Wades case, his evolvement from underrated South Suburban high school star, Final Four hero at Marquette and NBA champion to his image now has been jarring when looked at in its totality.

This isnt meant to simply bash the Heat, as there will be plenty of time for that later in the evening, from a variety of voices. Its actually a league-wide thing, where stars transform as their brands grow, is somewhat of a necessary evil, but with Rose, his brand, the reason adidas inked him to that mega-deal last month, is built upon him being the same person hes always been.

You pay attention a little bit, but I just try to stay in my own lane, where I just worry about myself, he said.

Scalabrine offered some additional perspective: Derrick wants to be great, so hes not worried about what he needs to do or trying to be something hes not. He just wants to be the best player Derrick Rose can be, which is probably the best player in the world.

That focus and mindset has allowed him to thrive, while his humility is the reason that any perceived negativity seems to bounce off him like its Teflon. From the SAT saga coming out of high school to the sting of last seasons playoff defeat, people seem to forget about the bad when it comes to Derrick Rose after watching him play the next game, interact with the media from touching moments involving his mother to his aw-shucks demeanor after yet another amazing feat and most importantly, his humble approach, which gives one the sense that as seriously as he takes the game. He knows that the world doesnt revolve around basketball, let alone himself.

With Derrick and with me also, its family and the people youre around," fellow All-Star Luol Deng said to CSNChicago.com. "Im not saying anyone has bad people around him, but its really when your brothers are the same way his brothers are the same way as him; down to earth, the same people he has no choice but to be that way. If his brothers were doing that, people in his family or friends he hangs out with, it would be really hard for him to stay the same way, but hes doing a good job of just being him and just knowing that this is a game we play, Deng said. This is not life. Youre going to finish at 30-something and then have another life, so I think staying humble and staying down to earth, and putting God first is what hes doing and thats what we all should do.

First and Final Thoughts: The Brady Bunch are in Town

First and Final Thoughts: The Brady Bunch are in Town

Welcome into First and Final Thoughts, one of our weekly columns with a title that's a little too on the nose. Here we'll have Insider J.J Stankevitz and Producers Cam Ellis and Paul Aspan give some insight into what's on their minds between games.

Final Thoughts on Week 6

J.J. Stankevitz: On the surface, losing a game to your two previous offensive coordinators (Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains) and a punchline quarterback (Brock Osweiler) is rough. And undoubtedly, it is – Bears players still seemed frustrated by Sunday’s 31-28 loss to Miami on Tuesday, which would break the usual “24-hour rule” implemented by coaches. But the Bears won’t play in 88-degree temperatures all year, and their next two outdoor road games are in Buffalo (cue the lake effect snow) and East Rutherford, N.J. So that’s the good news: The Bears will have plenty of opportunities to prove that giving up all those yards and points to Miami was an aberration. This defense is far better than what it showed on Sunday.

Offensively, this is a quicker thought – Mitch Trubisky is going in the right direction, and that he was able to come out and have a strong second half (minus the end zone interception) after an uneven first 30 minutes was impressive.

 

Paul Aspan: “Everything points to the Bears beating the Dolphins – which scares the hell out of me.” That sentiment only grew with the news that Brock Osweiler would replace the injured Ryan Tannehill on Sunday morning. Maybe this wasn’t a trap game until that happened, but it became exactly that. The Akiem Hicks goal-line strip sack in overtime is the season-changing type of play that unlikely playoff runs are made of, but even that wasn’t enough. A pretty brutal offensive PI call turned a two score game into a Murphy’s Law spiral of turnovers, poor  no tackling, and another 4th quarter / OT let down - and not at the hands of Aaron Rodgers - by the typically stout Bears defense.

 

The end zone interception can’t happen, but Mitchell Trubisky showed that he is continuing to trend in the right direction especially with the go-ahead, 6-minute TD drive to give the Bears the lead with just over 3 minutes to play. As for Matt Nagy, I guess I get trying to escape with a 53-yard field goal, but if he’s going to preach “We’re going to be aggressive” all offseason, he’s gotta be more aggressive than settling for that.

 

Cam Ellis: Mitch Trubisky can throw the ball down field a little bit. He still leaves too many throws on the field, and yeah, that interception in the end zone was dumb; he's also only played in 17 games. Later on Sunday night, I watched Tom Brady and his 259 career games scramble around a huge pocket for like, 15 seconds before getting strip sacked and losing the ball. Mistakes are always going to happen. With that said, Trubisky's deeps balls are *gorgeous*: 

 

 

He throws into double coverage (yeah, I know, whatever) and places that ball perfectly into Taylor Gabriel's hands. The window for that pass to be completed is absurdly small, and a bunch of today's NFL QBs couldn't make that throw. And yeah, if all you had to do to be an NFL QB was throw a pretty deep ball, Jeff George and JaMarcus Russell would be Hall of Famers. But for all the flack that Trubisky gets -- a lot of which is deserved -- it's worth recognizing that he can do some things really well. 

 

First Thoughts on Week 7

 

Stankevitz:  I’ll be very interested to see on Sunday how much scheming Matt Nagy can carry over from his days in Kansas City against New England. The Chiefs ripped of 42 points against the Patriots in their season opener last year, and the Patriots’ defense doesn’t look much better this year. The Bears, of course, have different personnel, but perhaps there are certain plays or concepts that’ll work as well as they did in Kansas City in Chicago on Sunday. 

The Bears’ offense nearly picked off the defense on Sunday, and depending on Khalil Mack’s ankle may have to do so again on Sunday. And I’ll leave it at this: The NFL is weird. Just because a team looks like one of the two or three best in the league doesn’t mean they’re invincible. The Patriots are more likely to win than the Bears, but don’t discount the Bears putting together an airtight game and emerging from Tom Brady’s final trip to Chicago with a win.

Aspan: Every (rational? objective? realistic?) Bears fan circled this one as an L before the season started, but hey if the Lions can do it! Khalil Mack not being at full strength is an obvious concern, and Bill Belichick against a young QB is always going to favor New England. But we saw what the Chiefs offense just did to New England and the Bears certainly have a better defense (even if they looked like Kansas City in the second half trying to tackle Albert Wilson). One issue for the D in both losses this season has been opponents getting the ball out quick - and New England does do that quite a bit.

The most intriguing part of this matchup for me is that the Patriots are basically facing the same offense for the second straight week, while Matt Nagy has the phone-a-friend advantage. You have to imagine Nagy and Andy Reid have spent some considerable time on the phone the last two days, and if I were Nagy I would have dialed up his old OC Doug Pederson as well. As much as no one wants to talk about moral victories, playing the Patriots tough, even in a close loss, could set the tone for a strong second half against a pretty weak schedule. As far as this game is concerned, at the end of the day I still think Trubisky misses too many throws (not unlike Patrick Mahomes) to beat the Patriots.

Ellis: The Pats' offense is outstanding, and we all know what the Bears' defense brings. I think this game is going to be won on the other side of the ball, where both teams are fairly medicore. The Bears' offense ranks 14th in passing DVOA and 11th in rushing DVOA; the Pats' defense ranks 19th in pass DVOA and 13th in rushing DVOA. Can the Bears get better production in the red zone? Right now they rank a paltry 20th in points per red zone appearance (PT/RZ) at 4.72. New England has long employed a bend-don't-break defense that gives up huge chunks of "meaningless" yards before buckling down and holding teams to three. If I had to pick one specific thing that wins this game for the Bears, it'd be a smart, creative red zone game plan. You can put up points on this Patriots defense -- but settling for field goals all game is how you lose. 

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

Bloomington, IL/Chicago, IL (October 17, 2018) -- The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Playoff Pairing Show returns to NBC Sports Chicago for its eighth season in 2018. NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – will air the show live on NBC Sports Chicago+ on Saturday, October 20 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM CT. Viewers are urged to visit NBC Sports Chicago’s “Channel Finder” page (NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder) for exact NBC Sports Chicago+ channel locations in their area.

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show, which will reveal the brackets and first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes, can also be viewed via Live stream beginning at 8:00 PM on Saturday at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive, on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), and will also be accessible for viewing to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers via the brand new MyTeams by NBC Sports app (NOTE: MyTeams is available on iOS and Android devices, at no cost, to fans anywhere in the U.S. and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

"The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show' continues to be one of the most highly-anticipated events in the state of Illinois and we couldn't be prouder to once again showcase two-straight hours of live, interactive coverage across all platforms on Saturday night," said Kevin Cross, Vice President of Content for NBC Sports Chicago.  

NBC Sports Chicago anchor Leila Rahimi hosts the show and will be joined by a panel of experts on-set, including long-time IHSA TV announcer Dave Bernhard and Illinois high school football bracketologist Steve Soucie. IHSA TV veteran Camron Smith will breakdown each class with media members from around the state, including NBC Sports Chicago prep football expert “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the show and ask questions to be answered during the program by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #IHSAbrackets

The program will once again feature highlights, coaches interviews and media analysis from all over the state. In addition, NBC Sports Chicago will be gathering teams & fan reaction moments throughout the “Land of Lincoln” on Saturday from numerous school playoff pairing parties taking place that evening.

“This is one of the most anticipated nights of the year on the IHSA calendar,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Student-athletes, coaches and communities around the state have put their hearts into the last nine weeks, and for 256 teams, it’s an amazing chance to celebrate their accomplishments, while looking ahead to the path to the IHSA Football State Finals. We appreciate the time and effort that our partners at NBC Sports Chicago put into making this night so special.”

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show kicks off NBC Sports Chicago’s playoff coverage of IHSA Football, which culminates with all eight state title games being televised and streamed by NBC Sports Chicago on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23-24), live from Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.