Bulls

Saturday on CSN: High School Lites - IHSA Playoffs Round 2

hs-lites-preview-1105.png

Saturday on CSN: High School Lites - IHSA Playoffs Round 2

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest IHSA second round football playoff games across Chicagoland on High School Lites, Saturday at 11:00 p.m. In Class 8A, can Loyola Academy get payback against Stevenson, who eliminated the Ramblers at the same playoff stage last year? Can Waubonsie Valley beat Neuqua Valley in one of the state's best rivalry games? In 7A, can Mount Carmel upset Glenbard West on the shores of Lake Ellyn? In 6A, can Richards upset Lincoln-Way North in Oak Lawn in the last meeting between these two rivals? Catch highlights from games in 8A through 3A on this Saturday IHSA playoff edition of High School Lites.

Friday’s Viewers’ Choice Game, Class 7A: 

Geneva (9-1) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (7-3), 7:30pm

EDGY's Take: Geneva and head coach Rob Wicinski will rely on senior QB Sean Chambers (Princeton) and a strong running game led by senior RB Justin Taormina. Bradley and head coach Mike Kohl got a huge win on the road last week over Glenbrook North, 60-59, in 2 OT. Bradley will give the football to junior RB Camron Harrell early and often here. Can the Bradley defense slow down a Geneva offense that has been strong all year? Can Geneva win on the road at Bradley, where the Boilermakers have been known to pull off a few playoff upsets over the years?

EDGY's Pick: Geneva 37, Bradley 20

Saturday’s Schedule:

Class 8A: 

#16 Stevenson (7-3) at #1 Loyola (10-0), 12:00pm

EDGY's Take: This is a rematch from a year ago when Stevenson eliminated Loyola Academy 24-21 en route to the 8A championship. The Patriots will rely on senior QB Jack Sorenson (Miami of Ohio), along with a deep group of offensive skill players including RB/DB Tyler Vincent. Loyola Academy has been strong all season long on both sides of the football. Senior QB Emmett Clifford runs the Ramblers no huddle shotgun spread offense, and their skill players provide a tough matchup for the opposition. But the Ramblers defense remains its calling card. Senior DT Ben Leroy (NIU) is just one of several impact players. Can the Patriots defense slow down the Ramblers offense here?

EDGY's Pick: Loyola Academy 41, Stevenson 14

[MORE: IHSA Football Playoffs Saturday at 1 p.m. on CSN, Live Extra]

#9 New Trier (9-1) at #8 Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1), 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: New Trier and head coach Brian Doll will hit the road and try to slow down one of the state's most explosive offenses in Homewood-Flossmoor. The Trevians will rely on junior QB Clay Czyzynski along with a solid group of skill players including junior WR Eric Nicholas and senior RB Max Rosenthal. H-F counters with senior QB Bryce Gray along with the Harley-Hampton twins, senior RB/LB Devonte and senior RB Deante. Senior WR/S Kendric Pryor (Wisconsin) is also a key in all three phases for the Vikings this season. Can New Trier slow down the Vikings? Can the Vikings defense get the football back from the Trevians offense?

EDGY's Pick: HF 38, New Trier 17 

#15 Oswego (8-2) at #2 Huntley (10-0), 2:00pm

EDGY's Take: Oswego will be the second straight Southwest Prairie opponent for Huntley. Oswego and head coach Brian Cooney features a D-1 quarterback recruit in senior Steven Frank; however, the Panthers always look to establish the running game as their top priority. Huntley, coached by John Hart, was able to outmuscle Minooka in last week's 49-7 romp as the Red Raiders ran for nearly 300 yards in the win. Keep an eye on senior QB Anthony Binetti and sophomore RB Eric Mooney. Huntley’s defensive line is also a strength. Can Oswego outmuscle the Red Raiders on both sides of the line? Can Huntley avoid turnovers and win time of possession? 

EDGY's Pick: Huntley 28, Oswego 27

#30 Waubonsie Valley (6-4) at #19 Neuqua Valley (7-3), 6:00pm

EDGY's Take: Waubonsie Valley pulled off an impressive, 20-17, OT win last Saturday at Edwardsville to advance. The Warriors are guided by senior RB Max Ihry, QB Jack Connolly and a defense that has been consistently strong all season. Neuqua Valley also played well in beating Hinsdale Central, 29-26, last Saturday night to advance. The Wildcats have big play potential all over the field. Junior WR/S Isaiah Robertson had a big game back in the 28-7 win over the Warriors back in Week 3. Can the Wildcats get the big plays again in this rematch? I expect a very close game here.

EDGY's Pick: Neuqua Valley 21, Waubonsie Valley 14 

Class 7A: 

#16 Mt. Carmel (8-2) at #1 Glenbard West (10-0), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: This could wind up being one of the top games in the entire state this weekend. Mount Carmel and head coach Frank Lenti looked like a state title contender in last week's 42-15 win over Glenbard North. The Caravan ran the ball effectively and senior QB Anthony Thompson (NIU) is a key. Head coach Chad Hetlet’s Glenbard West squad features one of the state's top players in senior RB Sam Brodner (Vanderbilt). The Hilltoppers always play very fast and physical on defense. Can both teams avoid the turnover monster -- and also limit the penalties? This has the makings of a down-to-the-wire type of finish. 

EDGY's Pick: Glenbard West 24, Mount Carmel 21 

[MORE: The good and bad from Round 1 of the playoffs

#12 Benet (8-2) at #5 Cary-Grove (9-1), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy and head coach Pat New needed to go to the running game in beating St. Charles North last week. The Redwings got a big game from RB Alec McEachern; senior QB Jack Sznajder runs the football well to complement his passing attack. Cary-Grove and head coach Brad Seaburg doesn’t play around: they will run the football right at you and play tough defense week in and week out. Junior FB Ty Pennington has been a varsity starter for Cary Grove since his freshman year and is a name to watch here. Can the Benet defense handle the power running game from Cary Grove? The Redwings have fared pretty well against power running/option teams this season including beating Joliet Catholic 24-21 back in Week 8.

EDGY's Pick: Cary-Grove 27, Benet Academy 21 

#14 Lincoln-Way East (8-2) at #3 Libertyville (10-0), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East and head coach Rob Zvonar will travel to take on Libertyville and one of the state's top game-breaking players in senior QB Riley Lees. Lincoln-Way East’s offense is led by senior QB Brandon Bauer and a solid running game with backs Nigel Muhammad and Liam Morrissey. Libertyville and head coach Mike Jones will continue to run his offense through Lees, who is headed to Northwestern. On defense, the Wildcats are strong. They’re led by senior DE Ben Kimpler (Miami of Ohio). Can the Griffins defense contain Lees? Can the Libertyville defense take away LWE’s running game?

EDGY's Pick: Libertyville 20, Lincoln-Way East 14 

Class 6A: 

#5 DeKalb (8-2) at #13 Deerfield (7-3), 2:00pm

EDGY's Take: DeKalb has been strong all season. The Barbs have relied heavily on the arm and legs of junior QB Derek Kyler. Also, keep an eye on DeKalb senior OL Hayden LaPointe. Deerfield and head coach Steve Winiecki will look to senior QB Brian Ranallo and senior WR/DB Lukas Kerstein. Can Deerfield control the ball on offense, win time of possession and keep the DeKalb offense off the field? Can the DeKalb defense tighten up after giving up 44 points in last week's win over Hampshire?

EDGY's Pick: DeKalb 45, Deerfield 34

#1 Lincoln-Way North (10-0) at #9 Richards (7-3), 6:00pm

EDGY's Take: This game is a rematch from Week 1 as Lincoln-Way North beat Richards, 30-29. The Phoenix, coached by George Czart, feature a balanced offense led by QB Jake Arthur and standout athlete Jaylin Branch. North’s defense has also been solid all season. Richards and head coach Tony Sheehan has some serious speed on both sides of the ball. They will look to get the football into the hands of junior RB Pat Doyle. Richards has eliminated Lincoln-Way North from the state playoffs for the past three seasons.

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way North 35, Richards 34 OT 

Class 5A: 

#6 Marian Central Catholic (8-2) at #3 Joliet Catholic Academy (9-1), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: This game is a rematch from Week 5 as Joliet Catholic beat Marian Central Catholic, 41-3. Marian Central Catholic head coach Mike Maloney played for JCA’s current head coach Dan Sharp. Both are very familiar with each other. Can the Hurricanes get their running game on track this time around against a very strong JCA defensive line? Could we see Marian Central Catholic open things up a bit more in the passing game with senior QB Joe Budmayer? Can Joliet Catholic continue to pound opposing teams with its power running game? The Hilltoppers are more than capable with the passing game -- if needed-- with QB Cade Earl.

EDGY's Pick: Joliet Catholic 35, Marian Central Catholic 20

Class 4A: 

#7 Plano (8-2) at #2 Marengo (10-0), 3:30pm

EDGY's Take: Plano and head coach Brad Kunz have been very balanced on offense this fall behind junior QB Tyler Ward and junior RB/DB Michael Marshall. Marengo has been beating teams with a strong passing attack, led by QB Zach Knobloch. Their defense has been stingy, limiting Coal City to just 138 yards of total offense in last week’s 28-10 win. Can the Reapers offense dent the Indians defense? Weather permitting, can Marengo throw the football on the Plano defense?

EDGY's Pick: Marengo 28, Plano 16

Class 3A: 

#6 Elmwood-Brimfield (9-1) at #3 IC Catholic Prep (9-1), 4:00pm

EDGY's Take: Immaculate Conception is always a dangerous team come state playoff time. The Knights feature one of the top running back recruits in the Class of 2017 in Jordan Rowell, but their play action passing game is also capable behind sophomore QB Luke Ricobene. Elmwood-Brimfield, out of the Peoria area, ran the ball all game long in its 45-7 win over DePaul Prep. Keep an eye on RB Jackson Harkness. Can Elmwood-Brimfield find a way of slowing down the Knights? 

EDGY's Pick: Immaculate Conception 42, Elmwood-Brimfield 14

Jabari Parker unafraid of history, expectations that come with Chicago's homegrown stars: "There's no fear"

for-goodwill.jpg
USA TODAY

Jabari Parker unafraid of history, expectations that come with Chicago's homegrown stars: "There's no fear"

The Chicago sunlight followed Jabari Parker as he walked through the East Atrium doors of the United Center, facing Michael Jordan’s statue before meeting with the media, introduced as a Chicago Bull for the first time.


For his sake, the brighter days are ahead instead of to his back as he’ll challenge the perception of being the hometown kid who can’t outrun his own shadow.


Parker re-enters Chicago as the No. 2 pick in the draft that the Milwaukee Bucks allowed to walk without compensation despite holding the cards through restricted free agency, damaged goods on the floor but not giving the Bulls a discount to don that white, red and black jersey he’s always dreamed of wearing.


“There were other teams but as soon as I heard Chicago, I just jumped on it,” Parker said.


It took a two-year, $40 million deal (2019-20 team option) to get Parker home, along with the selling point that he’ll start at small forward—a position that’s tough to envision him playing with on the defensive end considering three of the game’s top six scorers occupy that space.
It was a dream come true for his father, Sonny Parker, and high school coach, Simeon Academy’s Robert Smith, who both couldn’t hide their joy following the first question-and-answer session with the media.


“This is where he wanted to be,” Sonny Parker said. “His family’s happy, the support is there. All I know is the United Center will sell out every game. He can’t wait.”


“Normally guys get drafted here. He signed to come here. He had a couple offers from other teams but he wanted to come here.”


The biggest examples of Chicagoans who arrived with outsized expectations for this franchise had varying results, but Derrick Rose and Eddy Curry both came away with scars of sorts that had many wondering why any hometown product would willingly choose to play for the Bulls.


The risk seems to far outweigh the reward; the emotional toll doesn’t seem worth the fare. And with the roster makeup not being ideal for Parker, no one could blame him for going to a better situation—or at least one more tailored to his skills rather than his heart.
“I think every situation is different. Derrick was excelling,” Bulls executive vice-president John Paxson said to NBCSportsChicago.com. “MVP of the league in his hometown before the injury. Eddy was just a young kid who didn’t have the savvy Derrick had. I think every situation is different. Jabari is such a grounded, solid person that he’s gonna be just fine.”


“You don’t have to spend a whole lot of time with him to figure out he’s got it together. He knows who he is. Comfortable in his own skin. A quiet guy. Hopefully he’ll thrive here. The goal is it works great for him and works great for us.”


It seemed like he was bred to be a pro—and not just any pro, but the type Chicago demands of its own when a covenant to play 82 nights a year has been reached. If the constant prodding from his father didn’t break his façade, or older brother Darryl doing everything he could to coax emotion from the most gifted of the Parker clan couldn’t do it, two ACL surgeries on his left knee may pale in comparison.


The numbers from Parker’s recent stint with the Bucks don’t bear it out, but Smith sees a player who’s back on track to being what his talent has always dictated he should become.


“Even watching him work out lately, it’s like whoa,” Smith said. “But of course, everything with Chicago period you have to be cautious. With his family and the support system he has, this thing is about winning basketball games and giving back to the community.”


“He’s had that (target) on his back since he stepped on the court at Simeon, coming behind Derrick and being one of the top five players as a freshman and No. 1 player as a junior. I don’t think it’s a huge problem, it can help him a little bit. If he has those moments if something doesn’t go right, he has someone to help him.”


Parker is more known for his restarts than his unique skill set in his young career, but even at 23 years old speaks with a sage of someone 20 years his senior, unwilling to tab this portion of his journey as a fresh start.


After all, it would be easy to envision his career beginning from the moment he left Simeon as a phenom followed by his one season at Duke—having two games where he totaled just 24 minutes with just two points to start the Bucks’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics isn’t typical of a star’s story if he sees himself that way.


“I don’t. I don’t want to forget all the hard work I had,” Parker said. “To forget I hurt myself and came back is to discredit my success. That in of itself is something outside the norm. I want to always remember the setbacks and failures I’ve had in my career so far. I want to use that as a sense of motivation.”


Bringing up his awkward pro beginnings in Milwaukee, where Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ascension to an unexpected strata mirrored thoughts he might’ve had of himself before his injuries, didn’t cause him to growl.


“I’ve never got jealous a day in my life. That’s why it wasn’t hard because I wasn’t jealous,” Parker said to NBCSportsChicago.com. “My journey is my journey. I gotta be proud of that and be patient. I took that and I move forward.”


The mention of his defense didn’t make him defensive, either, as he definitively pointed out the truth as he saw it, that today’s game is far more offensive-minded than the bruise-fests of the previous decades. Telling by his words in subsequent interviews, the best defense is a great offense and when he’s right, there aren’t many who can get a bucket as easily and with as much diversity as himself.


The only time Parker broke serve was at the notion he’d be following in the footsteps of Rose’s perceived failures, the setbacks Rose suffered when his knees began to fail after reaching inspiring heights players like Parker wanted to emulate.


At the podium for all to see, he corrected a question formed around Rose’s “rise and fall”, a sound byte copied and pasted by a couple Chicago-bred NBA players on social media in support of Parker’s words and feelings.


“Derrick had no lows. He didn’t. He still maintained. Derrick’s a legend, no matter what…no rise and falls. Injuries are part of life. Derrick is one of the best icons in Chicago. He accomplished his duty already.”


And later, he wanted to set the record straight again, drawing a line from how the media has presented Rose compared to how the people of Chicago see him, and vice-versa.


“We didn’t turn on Derrick, the media (did),” Parker told NBCSportsChicago.com. “We’re hometown. I speak for everybody, we love our hometown.”


The love of Chicago meant more than the prospect of not being able to live up to a glorious prep past, even though he should be well aware wanderlust can turn to villainy in a heartbeat—or the wrong step.


“There’s no pressure for me,” Parker said to NBCSportsChicago.com. “I’m just happy I get to play with some young guys, and I don’t harp on the negative. Anybody and everybody is gonna have an opinion. I value more my dreams than their opinions.”


And the dreamer steps forward, with a confident gait, eyes wide open and a city hoping it doesn’t repeat the same mistakes of its past.


“There’s no fear,” Parker said. “I haven’t faced any other pressure than bouncing back. I’m back on my feet and moving on.”


“When you struggle more, you succeed more.”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: With Jabari Parker in the mix, are the Bulls playoff contenders?

bari.jpg
USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: With Jabari Parker in the mix, are the Bulls playoff contenders?

David Haugh, Patrick Finley and KC Johnson join Kap on the panel. Jabari Parker is officially a Chicago Bull. So does that make the Bulls a playoff team? And who will play defense for Fred Hoiberg’s young team? Vincent Goodwill and Mark Schanowski drop by to discuss.

Plus with Manny Machado now a Dodger, are the Cubs no longer the best team in the NL?

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: