White Sox

Spark plug: Reserve Kendrick leads Simeon


Spark plug: Reserve Kendrick leads Simeon

Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
10:29 PM
By Michael O'Brien

There was plenty of talk between Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin and Simeon coach Robert Smith this week about which of them would be alderman, governor or president based on the outcome of Saturdays game.

So it was fitting that during the actual game Saturday at Chicago State, there were two possible future mayors Gery Chico and Rahm Emanuel sitting courtside.

Emanuel spoke with Simeon before the game and sat next to Simeon star Jabari Parkers mother during the game. He backed the winner, as the top-ranked Wolverines knocked off No. 5 Morgan Park 60-51.

Rahm talked with them before the game, said Jabaris dad, Sonny Parker. We knew he was coming out to support the kids in the community.

Morgan Park led for the majority of the first half, but Simeons physical defense seemed to wear down the Mustangs in the second half.

That probably surprised them, Smith said. Everybody thinks we are a soft team, but we can be physical.

Billy Garrett Jr. drained a three at the start of the third quarter to put the Mustangs ahead 36-30. Simeon responded with a 17-2 run to take permanent control of the game. Steve Taylor, a 6-7 center, drained two threes and scored eight during the run.

Steve shot the ball well, Smith said. Hes been getting pretty consistent with that this season.

Sophomore Kendrick Nunn sparked Simeon (16-0, 7-0) off the bench with 19 points and five rebounds, including a crowd-pleasing tip dunk. Taylor added 14 points and five rebounds and Parker scored nine and grabbed eight boards. The Wolverines dominated the glass, outrebounding Morgan Park 32-24.

Blackshear led the Mustangs (12-2, 5-1) with 16 points and seven rebounds, but managed only two free throws in the second half.

We were able to shut Wayne down in the second half, Smith said. Hes a great player, we knew he was banged up a little.

Blackshear has been nursing an injured knee, but didnt use that as an excuse.

No excuses, Blackshear said. I was able to play. Its a tough loss, but thats basketball. We started strong and then in the second half just lost it.

Chris Getz on Michael Kopech: 'He’s got no interest in being second best'

Chris Getz on Michael Kopech: 'He’s got no interest in being second best'

With his MLB debut a day away, the Michael Kopech hype train is rolling full steam ahead.

Chris Getz, the White Sox farm director, did nothing to really slow that train down. Getz was interviewed during the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast and it was all about the pitching prospect and his upcoming debut.

“His stuff is unique,” Getz said. “It’s front-line repertoire, there’s no question. But he’s got such a competitive mindset. He’s got no interest in being second best. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great person. He’s everything you ask for in a guy to be on a team to compete for championships.”

Getz said Kopech has become more confident with his curveball in his last six or seven starts. The “six or seven starts” timeframe is something both general manager Rick Hahn and Charlotte Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty said verbatim in other interviews on Monday. Apparently they saw what they wanted to in terms of Kopech’s development.

Kopech had a 1.84 ERA with 59 strikeouts and four walks in 44 innings in his last seven starts with the Knights. He also didn’t walk any batters in his last three starts over 20 innings.

“He’s got a lot of momentum going right now,” Getz said. “He’s in a very good position for success. He’s right where you want a player to be when we graduate them to the major leagues.”

McCatty, when talking about Kopech on ESPN 1000 with Fred Huebner, said Kopech’s fastball, slider and curveball are all plus pitches.

McCatty also has some experience with big time prospects coming up to the majors. He was the Nationals pitching coach when Stephen Strasburg made his major league debut in 2010. He had some advice for Kopech for his White Sox debut.

“I told him make sure you’re not throwing 102 in the first inning,” McCatty said with a laugh. “He’s gonna be exciting. He’s a specially talented kid. There’s no question about it.”

In Getz’s in-game interview with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone, Benetti asked about Kopech’s upside. Getz didn’t temper expectations in his response.

“To be a front end guy,” Getz said. “He’s got all the ingredients that all the best pitchers have. Michael, he’s going to be himself. He’s got a great personality. He’s got great stuff on the mound. He’s just going to be a guy that’s got a chance to be in the major leagues for a long time at the front end of a major league staff. In terms of throwing comparisons out there, there’s no need to do that. He’s going to be himself and he’s going to be a good one.”

Pedro Martinez talks up Michael Kopech ahead of his White Sox debut

Pedro Martinez talks up Michael Kopech ahead of his White Sox debut

Michael Kopech's pending debut for the White Sox on Tuesday is getting plenty of buzz among White Sox fans, but it's also getting some national attention.

Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez tweeted out some strong words about Kopech the day before Kopech is set to make his major league debut.

Martinez was one of the most electric pitchers in the game so when he talks about a pitching prospect as "the biggest up and coming arm in baseball," it carries some weight. As if White Sox fans couldn't be excited enough for Kopech's debut...

Kopech also got some love from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.