Bulls

Treadwell is in no rush to commit

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Treadwell is in no rush to commit

College footballs recruiting game has gotten downright vicious in recent years. Down and dirty. More pressure than trying to catch a pass amid three defenders. Want a scholarship? Commit now or someone else will get it. If you wait until signing day in February, youll probably end up somewhere you dont want to be.

Laquon Treadwell has heard it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Crete-Monees 6-foot-3, 197-pound wide receiver is one of the last of the top-ranked prospects in the class of 2013 who hasnt made an oral commitment. But he isnt in a hurry to make a decision. Let em wait. If they really want him, they wont give his scholarship to someone else, right?

Treadwell is sorting through 23 offers from the elite programs in the nation, including Alabama, LSU, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Michigan State. He hopes to add Oregon and Florida to his list before he gets around to thinking seriously about committing.

His stock rose over the summer after he displayed his skills at national invitation-only camps in Florida, Oregon, California and Georgia. He competed against the best players in the country in 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills and more than held his own. According to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, Treadwell is the No. 30 player in his class and one of the top five wide receivers.

I wanted to measure myself against the best, Treadwell said. When it was over, I think I played well against the top players and got my name out there. I made a lot of good plays. I didnt feel anyone was better than me. I feel I am so much better than last year. I learned so much over the summer. Its kind of ridiculous that I know this much in high school. This season, people will see me break big runs on every catch.

He admits he is leaning to Michigan. He has visited the Ann Arbor campus six times in the last two years. He has attended three games in 110,000-seat Michigan Stadium. He likes coach Brady Hoke and the coaching staff. He is comfortable with the players. He has a good relationship with Shane Morris, the third-ranked quarterback in the nation who recently committed to Michigan. He likes the fans, too.

Im comfortable with being there, he said. But I still want to make some visits. After the season, I want to take official (and fully paid) visits to farther places (like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, USC and Oregon). I want to do that. Most likely I wont make a decision until February. I want to weigh all of my options.

I havent narrowed it down yet. I have no dream school. What is important to me? Style of offense, head coach, position coach, how comfortable I feel with the other players. It doesnt matter which conference I am in. I just want to compete against some of the best players in the country, in practice and in games.

Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde is pleased that Treadwell is so level-headed and comfortable in his own skin, that he isnt intimidated by college recruiters, that he is aware if he chooses to wait and wants to visit faraway schools they will have to pay his transportation to their campus in December or January. So why should he hurry to make up his mind?

What makes him so marketable and so highly ranked among wide receivers in the nation is his competitiveness and his toughness, Verde said. He enjoys hitting. We started him at defensive end as a sophomore because he was so tough. He will play some defense this year, too. Some colleges said they would consider him as a defensive end because of his speed and strength.

To his credit and maturity, Treadwell has bought into Verdes recruiting philosophy. Make sure you are certain. Dont take visits after you make a commitment, the coach told his star player.

Thats why he hasnt committed yet, Verde said. It is hard for him to commit to a Big 10 school when he hasnt visited other schools out West. He is more level-headed than a lot of kids. Sure, he is under unbelievable pressure. What happens to a kid who cant afford to make a trip to a college campus? Laquon wants to be sure he doesnt have any regrets.

Treadwell wants to go to a school that throws the ball, a program that will prepare him for the NFL, his goal since he began playing football for the University Park Lions when he was 10 years old.

He started as a fullback, then was moved to running back, then quarterback as a freshman at Crete-Monee. As a sophomore, he was moved up to the varsity to play cornerback, then was shifted to wide receiver in the first week of practice. He wasnt a very happy camper at the time.

I didnt want to play wide receiver, he said. I had a great year at quarterback. I thought Id move up to quarterback on the varsity. I had a dream of being another Michael Vick. But once I got my rhythm down, I started to like it. There was so much space. After leading the team in receiving as a sophomore, I knew I could be very good. Even though I didnt have the ball in my hands on every play like at quarterback, I enjoyed the position. Now Im going to be another Justin Blackmon.

In the meantime, Treadwell hopes to do everything he can to lead Crete-Monee deep into the state playoff. Last years team finished 10-1, losing to Peoria Richwoods in the second round of the Class 6A playoff. Verde believes this years squad has the potential to be even better. So does Treadwell.

The passing game is intact. Quarterback Marcus Terrell, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior, completed 199 of 301 attempts for 2,822 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. And he threw only four interceptions. Treadwell caught 75 for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns.

We expect another great year from Terrell, Verde said. He has a great understanding of the spread offense. Everyone thought I was full of baloney last year when I said he would be our quarterback and manage the team. With his intelligence (30 ACT) and arm strength, everything is open for us. Our skilled players are very talented. We have fewer holes than ever before.

Other standouts are 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver Lance Lenoir, who caught 48 passes for 625 yards last year; 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior linebacker Nyles Morgan, who already has offers from Illinois, Notre Dame and Purdue; 6-foot-3, 285-pound center Austin Rosenfeldt; 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end Trevelle Smith; 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back Kyle Tilley; 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle Jonathan Schultz; and 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior cornerback and kick returner Deon Benton, who was one of the more dominating players on freshman and sophomore squads that went 18-0.

There are high expectations. We were 10-0 at one point last year and most of our corps is coming back, said Verde, who was a star linebacker on Marian Catholics 1993 state championship team. Potential means nothing. Follow-through means everything. We want to go a step or two farther this year. We feel we have more than in the past to do that.

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Anfernee Simons looks more like a ball boy than a 2018 NBA Draft prospect right now. He’s not considered small, what with having a 6-foot-3 frame with a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine at 183 pounds, “heavier” than Lottery-bound guards like Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.

But there’s plenty of potential to unpack from the soon-to-be 19-year-old, baby-faced combo guard. Don’t let the appearance fool you. Simons is one of the most talented players in the class, and a team patient enough to let him develop at his own pace could reap major benefits in due time.

You won’t find much video on Simons, as the IMG Academy star is preparing to be the first prospect to go preps-to-pros without a year in college since Thon Maker did so in 2016.

Simons, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2018 class, originally committed to Louisville in November 2016 and then decommitted the following September shortly after Rick Pitino was fired. Since he had graduated from Edgewater High School in Florida and was playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy, he became eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft because he is a year removed from high school. That’s where he played this past season, declaring for the draft and signing with an agent in late March.

“The opportunity is there. Me and my parents talked about it a lot and I feel like I’m confident in myself that I’ll be able to make this jump,” he said at last week’s Combine. “So I just felt like, do it now and not waste any time.”

Simons has been on the radars of NBA teams, even if he’s not a household name like Ayton, Doncic and Bagley. He’s currently projected outside of the Lottery, in part because teams haven’t seen him compete against collegiate level talent and because his wiry frame almost surely means time in the G-League as a rookie. But again, the skill set is there.

Simons is a point guard with solid range beyond the arc. He may struggle off the ball because of his size, though that long wingspan and a quick release from his chest should allow him to get off shots. He’s a blur in transition and finishes well at the rim – his 41.5-inch vertical was tied for third best at the Combine, and his three-quarters court sprint was eighth fastest.

He’s a mixed bag defensively. Wingspan is the fun buzz word these days, and that will help him at the next level, but his small frame means there’s work to be done. A strength and conditioning coach will salivate at bringing Simons into the weight room and getting his body NBA-ready.

“Just staying durable through 82 games,” Simons answered when asked about his biggest challenge physically at the next level. “Taking care of your body is real pivotal so I feel like learning how to take care of my body now is a good thing.”

Simons maturely answered that the “unknown” of his game will be both a positive and minus during the pre-draft process. While fellow prospects he may face in team workouts don’t know as much about him and, thus, his game, teams also need to find out more about Simons’ game and off-court habits.

“Coming in young, people don’t know who I am and haven’t seen me play much. That’s the good side about coming in early,” he said. “It could be the same thing (negatively). People haven’t seen me like that, so I feel like they don’t know who I am. They probably think I’m too young to play in the league.”

Simons met with the Bulls and has scheduled a pre-draft workout with them. Though the Bulls feel like their rebuild could go quicker than anticipated – especially if they hit on their No. 7 pick – there could be plenty to gain from drafting for upside on a player like Simons.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne will both be free agents in 2019, and Denzel Valentine’s long-term future isn’t set in stone in Chicago. That leaves plenty of openings in the backcourt behind Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Simons won’t be ready to contribute much in 2018-19, but the Bulls wouldn’t need him to. A handful of outlets projected Simons as a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Bulls could snag him a year earlier, let him develop in Hoffman Estates and bring him up in a year when they’re a step closer to contending.

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Class A Winston-Salem

Gavin Sheets hit his first home run of the season in a 12-4 loss. While it's taken him this long to hit his first ball out of the park, Sheets has a .380 on-base percentage and his 24 walks make for one of the top 10 totals in the Carolina League. Blake Rutherford doubled in this one, while Sheets, Rutherford, Alex Call and Luis Alexander Basabe combined to draw five walks.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 9-3 win.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had two hits in a 9-3 loss.