March 2008 Archives
The Benet boys volleyball team became the third Naperville-area club to win a tournament championship this season with its clean sweep of the Argo Invitational on Saturday.
Two weeks ago, Naperville North won at Buffalo Grove and Naperville Central won at Hoffman Estates.
Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley are lacking tournament titles, but at least the Warriors have played in a couple tournaments already. Neuqua plays in its first tournament this weekend at Glenbard East.
When Tennessee capped Sunday's NCAA Women's Tournament coverage with a win, it solidified what could be the strongest (and most uninteresting) final-eight field ever.
The last eight teams include each No. 1 seed and every No. 2 seed. No Cinderellas.
While a tournament like this will certainly produce a worthy champion, it won't draw the Joe Public general interest like the men's tournament does.
A Davidson-Kansas showdown captures everyone's attention. Something similar would have been nice for the women's game.
Neither of the out of state entries in the Tiger Classic made it to the gold bracket, despite arriving at tournament with impressive pedigrees.
Archbishop Moeller of Cincinnati is the defending state champion in Ohio. Mueller has won five state titles, including three of the last four.
The Crusaders went 3-2 and finished in 11th place.
DeSmet Jesuit is a former state champion in Missouri that has made it to the final four or the championship game every year but one in the 11 years boys volleyball has been an sanctioned sport.
The Spartans went 4-1, winning the silver bracket, to finish in ninth place.
What if Candace Parker never beat the guys in the 2004 Powerade Jam Fest dunk contest? What if Parker didn't even compete?
What if Parker didn't win and didn't compete but Louisiana State's Sylvia Fowles did?
That nearly happened, and history nearly looked a lot different.
Parker got her dunk down, Fowles didn't.
Up until that point, the two prep standouts were known as the only female high school players to dunk in high school competition. After that point, Parker became a national celebrity.
How would Parker and Fowles -- the two players expected to be selected first and second in the WNBA Draft next month -- be known now had they flip-flopped roles four years ago?
It's been two weeks and two days since Chris Brown signed a two-year deal with the Houston Texans worth a reported $3.6 million. The Heat Index took a look at how the blogosphere responded to the news of the former All-American at Naperville North signing his free agent deal.
Pro Football talk was bare bones, but did offer a bit of analysis by mentioning Brown would have to compete with Ahman Green for carries.
Naperville North won its pool at the Tiger Classic on Friday night, beating the tournament's defending champion Brother Rice and Oak Park-River Forest, both in two games.
The Huskies are on the opposite side of the gold bracket than Naperville Central. The teams could meet in the tournament championship.
The Sun-Times' No. 5 Huskies beat Brother Rice 25-20, 25-20 and beat OPRF 25-13, 25-17 to advance to the gold bracket.
North (6-2) will play Buffalo Grove (4-2) in the gold quarterfinals Saturday at 1 p.m. Buffalo Grove won its pool on Friday with wins over Evanston and Lincoln-Way East.
A contingent of four Neuqua Valley boys volleyball players were in attendance at the Tiger Classic on Thursday night, checking out the action, scouting the teams and mingling with the Waubonsie Valley and Naperville Central folks.
There were a couple Naperville North guys there, too, but then again the Huskies are playing in the tournament. I guess even if you didn't have a game, the fieldhouse at WW South was still the place to be for Naperville boys volleyball on Thursday night.
"Oh definitely," said Neuqua senior Jake Blackman, who along with Brian Clark and two other Wildcats, spent the night with pencil and paper scouting potential opponents.
I heard a couple Central parents ask Neuqua players the same question: When do you guys play?
Neuqua answer: we're not in this tournament.
Central parent: Really?
"...I was excited because I dunked before my brothers did."
-- Candace Parker in an interview posted on cbsnews.com on Tuesday.
Naperville Central will put its undefeated record on the line Saturday against Sun-Times' No. 8 Sandburg in the quarterfinals of the Tiger Classic.
The second-ranked Redhawks (8-0) won their pool on Thursday night with an impressive three-game win over No. 7 Marist and a smooth-sailing TKO of Wheaton North.
Making it to the golden bracket in this prestigious 24-team monster at Wheaton Warrenville South is an honor. Central junior Dan Dierking knows that, but he says the Redhawks want more.
"The teams here are really good teams," said the 6-foot-5 outside hitter. "I'm sure that (performing well on Saturday) gives us a little leg up, but we just have to keep pushing the whole season. We can't just stop at any point. We have to push throughout the whole year."
This video posted on Wednesday shows Madisun Bailey shooting hoops in her driveway on a 10-foot basket. Before she starts shooting, she turns to the camera and says this:
"My name is Madisun Bailey. I'm five, but you can call me Candace Parker."
Then she sinks the first five shots she takes, a mixture of baseline jumpers mainly, before missing her sixth shot, which barely rims out. But showing the all-around game of her basketball role model, Bailey follows her own shot, gets the rebound and makes her next shot.
File this under the category of "How you know you're really famous."
The most interesting part of this comprehensive story on Rivals.com previewing the Tiger Classic is how Wheaton Warrenville South coach Bill Schreier keeps seeking out the best teams.
To keep the competition at a high level, teams are put on a waiting list and as openings occur, the tournament director fills from the list. If teams are not competitive they are not asked back.
By Brad Engel firstname.lastname@example.org
The day after Tennessee's first-round NCAA Tournament win over Oral Roberts, Lady Volunteers coach Pat Summitt brought three players to the team's press conference.
Why senior Shannon Bobbitt, senior Alberta Auguste and redshirt junior Alex Fuller? To call them out, or in nicer terms, to put them on the spot.
"There are times when you know you have certain people that need to step up," Summitt said, "and these three have done that for us this year."
But then Summitt kind of, sort of -- let's face it, she did -- continued with remarks about their weaknesses.
Bobbitt didn't break Oral Roberts' zone defense as well as she should have. Fuller shot only 2 of 11 from the field. And Auguste didn't bring as much defensive pressure and board play as Summitt would have liked.
In the name of accountability, Summitt raised the stakes for her players. Who should she call out next, following the Lady Volunteers second-round win over Purdue on Tuesday?
Including Tuesday night's 12-5 loss to Naperville Central, the Naperville North girls water polo team has lost three of its past four and all five matches against area teams.
The good news is that Lockport comes calling on Wednesday.
This clip covers the first period and most of the second period of Naperville North graduate and Michigan senior Eric Tannenbaum's loss in the NCAA championships last Saturday to Mark Perry of Iowa.
The second clip picks up with 44 seconds remaining in the second period and shows the the rest of the match as Perry holds on for his second 165-pound title in a row.
Patrick O is leading the Sun Bracket Challenge after the first weekend with 219 points, giving him an eight-point lead over Danny P.
Tom Sc. with 206, Gordon H with 200 and Thomas Su with 197 round out the top five heading into the Sweet 16.
While The Heat Index was not allowed to "officially" enter the Sun Bracket Challenge, meaning we can't win the glorious prizes or "officially" taunt the feeble readers and their silly picks, we did fill out a bracket.
Now that Naperville Central has won the Hoffman Estates Invitational and is ranked No. 2 in the Sun-Times' boys volleyball poll, we get to see how good the Redhawks are this weekend at the Tiger Classic.
They maybe as good as that ranking. Or maybe not.
A poster on a thread at volleyballmag.com said this on Monday night about the Redhawks: "they are definitely not the 2nd best team in the state."
There was some speculation that Waubonsie Valley junior Rachel Bostick would lean toward accepting a basketball scholarship offer for college. But in the end, basketball never stood a chance.
If this were the NCAA men's tournament, people would be having a field day.
Oral Roberts' star player, 6-foot guard Mariana Camargo, suffered a possible ACL injury after slipping and falling on a sign used by Tennessee's cheerleaders.
It happened in the first minute of Sunday's first-round matchup between the top-seeded Lady Volunteers and the No. 16 Golden Eagles at Purdue's Mackey Arena.
Just like that, the underdogs had to play without their leading scorer (13.3 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.4 steals) and the upset bid was all but officially over.
"Not to jinx anybody, but losing Mariana is like losing Candace (Parker) -- on a different level, on a different planet, a different league," said Oral Roberts coach Jerry Finkbeiner on Sunday after The Sun went to press. "But Mariana is really the heart and soul of our team, and so we were dealt a big blow."
Finkbeiner felt Camargo -- a four-time member of the Brazil selection team -- was the one player who could match up physically with the Lady Vols.
Coach Pat Summitt told Finkbeiner after her team's 94-55 win that she knew exactly what Camargo meant to his program.
Then, in another classy act by the game's all-time winningest coach, Summitt greeted Camargo on the Golden Eagles sideline and shared a few words with her.
Any choice words for the Lady Vols' cheerleaders or the accident in general?
A trio of shortstops heads up the area's five-player contingent named to the Sun-Times' Top 100 softball list released on Saturday.
Michigan senior Eric Tannenbaum lost to defending national champion Mark Perry of Iowa in the 165-pound national title match on Saturday night in St. Louis at the NCAA wrestling national champioships.
Perry won the match 5-2, avenging the loss that the former Naperville North IHSA champion put on him at the BigTen Conference championship match two weeks ago.
Naperville North graduate Nick Fanthorpe won the seventh-place match on Saturday in the 133-pound class at the NCAA wrestling national championships.
The Iowa State sophomore beat Minnesota's Mack Reiter 10-7 to wrap up a season that saw him win a Big 12 conference championship and reach the quarterfinals at the NCAA championships.
By Patrick Mooney
The Sun-Times baseball poll slots Neuqua Valley, last season's Class AA state champions, at No. 5, while Benet checks in at No. 20.
The sidebar lists the area's Top 100 players, which includes Neuqua pitcher Ian Krol, Neuqua catcher Geoff Rowan, Benet pitcher Bryan Roberts and Naperville North pitcher Jake Naumann.
The Redwings were scheduled to visit No. 3 St. Charles North on Thursday, but the field wasn't playable. Assuming the weather finally breaks - and considering all those front-of-the-rotation pitchers - how far can area programs go into late May and early June? Did the comprehensive Top 100 list miss any prospects in particular? Who will be a surprise impact player this spring?
Naperville North graduate Eric Tannenbaum will wrestle for the 165-pound national title on Saturday in St. Louis at the NCAA wrestling national championships.
The Michigan senior will face defending national champion Mark Perry of Iowa. Tannenbaum beat Perry 7-1 to win the Big 10 title two weeks ago.
To advance to the championship round, Tannenbaum beat Mack Lewnes of Cornell 4-0 in the semifinals on Friday night.
Another former North standout, Iowa State sophomore Nick Fanthorpe, will wrestle for seventh place at 133 pounds. Fanthorpe, who lost in the quarterfinals on Friday morning, will face Navy's Joe Baker.
Fanthorpe, the Big 12 champion at 133, won his first match in the consolation bracket, but lost the second one 4-2 to Minnesota's Mack Reiter.
Naperville North graduate Eric Tannenbaum won his quarterfinal match on Friday at the NCAA wrestling national championships, beating Moza Fay of Northern Iowa 7-4.
Tannenbaum, a senior at Michigan, will wrestle Cornell's Mack Lewnes in the semifinals on Friday night. The two-time Big 10 champion is the top seed at 165 pounds.
The championship round is Saturday. The championships are being aired on ESPNU and shown on ESPN360.com.
Fellow Huskie alum Nick Fanthorpe, who lost in the quarterfinals earlier on Friday, is now in the consolation bracket. The Iowa State sophomore can place third with three victories.
Naperville North graduate Nick Fanthorpe lost in overtime on Friday morning in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA wrestling national championships.
The sophomore at Iowa State, who was the No. 5 seed at 133 pounds, lost 2-1 to Iowa's Joey Slaton. Slaton scored an escape to beat the former North state champion, who won a Big 12 title earlier this season.
Another former North state champion, Eric Tannenbaum, advanced to the quarterfinals for Michigan with a 3-0 day on Thursday. Tannenbaum, the top seed at 165 pounds, will face Moza Fay of Northern Iowa later today.
The NCAA championships, which continue in St. Louis until Saturday, are being broadcast on ESPNU and shown on ESPN360.com.
By Patrick Mooney
Already you can almost hear Luther Vandross singing over top of the Belmont players who nearly shocked Duke. The reaction shots from Thursday night's 71-70 loss will almost certainly make an appearance in "One Shining Moment," and they will be remembered "as the team that almost did it."
On the way to Washington, D.C., Belmont guard Jon Rice - a Waubonsie Valley graduate redshirting his freshman season - said the two teams played a similar style of up-tempo basketball that revolved around the 3-point line. Rice seemed to think his veteran teammates, after making two-consecutive NCAA trips, would better handle the experience.
Even though one program is a former NAIA school, and the other is one of college basketball's bluebloods, the game showed how the talent gap is narrowing.
The stakes mean the intrigue will extend beyond 94 feet, to off-court distractions. While dismissing the Scott Skiles to Indiana rumor, Bob Kravitz wonders: How many Hoosiers does it take to screw up a coaching search?
Good night, and good luck: If you find Katie Couric or Billy Packer annoying, direct your complaints to Sean McManus, the president of CBS News and CBS Sports who probably can't afford to call in sick this week.
According to prepvolleyball.com, Waubonsie Valley's Alex Gigler and Naperville Central's Matt Yanz will be teammates next year at Carthage College.
The college recruiting page on the site's message board said the two seniors gave the Division III school in Wisconsin verbal commitments. Both Gigler and Yanz play their club volleyball at Sports Performance.
After seeing four of the five girls soccer teams I cover tonight, I came away with a few observations. But before I got too far into thinking about the deeper meanings behind District 204's sweep of District 203, Central coach Ed Watson said something that sort of took me by surprise.
I expected him to be angry after his team lost 3-1 to Waubonsie Valley. While he wasn't exactly fired up about it, he quickly put things into proper perspective.
"It's March and I'm happy with the way we played," he said.
By D.J. Wanberg
The 2008 Sporting News baseball preview lists former Waubonsie Valley star pitcher and Naperville Sun Player of the Year Mike Bowden as the No. 6 prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization.
The Sporting News states that Bowden last year "showed impressive command of his 89 to 94 mph fastball and curveball, but lacks smooth arm action."
Bowden was 10-6 last season in high Class A and Class AA.
He started spring training as a non-roster invitee with the parent club, but was recently assigned to the Red Sox's minor league camp.
The Heat Index has learned that Naperville North senior Mike Henry (far right) will not miss the first month of the season as expected.
In fact the outside hitter said will play in North's opener on Wednesday night against Neuqua Valley. The season opener for North is a rematch of last year's sectional final that the Wildcats won.
In an email sent to the Heat Index late Tuesday night, Henry said the results of a bone scan he had on Friday revealed that he has a bone bruise in his lower back that was big enough to appear on the MRI he had on March 12. At that time, Henry was told the injury was probably a stress fracture.
When I ran into Henry after Neuqua's season opener on Thursday, he lifted up his shirt to display the back brace, saying "I got this," in a way that indicated things had only gotten worse. Things are now looking much better for Henry. Maybe not so much for Neuqua Valley.
I've spent most of the morning combing over all the NCAA analysis as I attempt to fill out the East bracket, the toughest in the tournament. Most of the experts figure you've got No. 1 overall seed UNC facing No. 2 Tennessee in the fight to come out of the East. But what about some serious discussion of No. 3 Louisville? If you're still mulling over who to pick in The Sun's bracket challenge, consider the Cardinals not just a dark horse, but a serious contender, even more so than Tennessee.
When the IHSA decided to go ahead with its proposed drug testing program in January, it did it on the merits of this survey of its member schools.
At the time, I couldn't figure out what was more significant: that only 54 percent of the schools responded to the survey or that 60 percent of those that did respond said they didn't think teams should have to forfeit playoff awards if one of their players came up dirty.
The Warriors girls soccer team was featured in an SI.com piece last week that looked at the common traits between the Waubonsie team and the one from Apex, N.C. The teams finished 1-2 in the high school spring rankings by the NSCAA last season.
The initial NSCAA poll for this season comes out Tuesday. Look here to see if Waubonsie -- or any other local team -- made the list.
Here's what Wildcats coach Robin Renner thinks:
"Probably not," said Renner, who's team won the Class AA title last year. "But I think every team in the state could say that - probably not - but one is."
It's true, the odds don't favor any single team. But who do you favor?
At 2:30 p.m. today, Illinois will play Wisconsin for the Big Ten tournament title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Just think about that - an 18 loss team might get to go dancing.
But after such a horrible, disappointing season, is an appearance in the Big Ten final enough to redeem the year? Even if they lose to the top-seeded Badgers, is getting this far and finally getting the team to click and play with heart, enough to silence the Bruce Weber haters for one more season?
This is a very slick production from frenchfryowners showing Neuqua Valley's win over Naperville North in the sectional championship last year. There is a nice intro with voices lifted from the four-letter network and inspirational music to boot.
Since North will visit Neuqua on Wednesday in a rematch of this championship game, I though the interested parties would like another look at how things went last spring.
By Patrick Mooney and Brad Engel
Drew Crawford made the leap this season for Naperville Central, from a sophomore finding his way into a junior carrying his team. Crawford increased his productivity across the board. Look at these splits between 2006-07 and 2007-08:
Naperville Central and Wheaton North were linked throughout the winter, and after sharing the DuPage Valley Conference title, it only makes sense that its leaders would split the postseason awards.
Central junior guard Drew Crawford and Wheaton North senior forward John Bagge were named the DVC's co-players of the year. Central's Pete Kramer and Wheaton North's Jim Nazos were recognized as co-coaches of the year.
Full list after the jump...
By Brad Engel
Naperville North alumnus Justin McCareins agreed to the terms of a one-year contract with Tennessee on Wednesday.
This short-term deal indicates it's do-or-die for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound wide receiver, who only two weeks ago, got released from the final three years of a seven-year deal with the New York Jets.
With all that time on the bench over the last two years in New York -- McCareins made only 13 starts -- it seems there should still be plenty of life left in his legs and career.
By Brad Nolan
Even though their season ended 1 win short of the boys basketball 4A state semifinals, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats enjoyed a memorable end to the season.
Todd Sutton and his players deserve recognition for overtaking rival Waubonsie Valley to win the Upstate Eight - of course, the Warriors' late-season struggles helped - as well as securing the program's first sectional championship and Elite Eight berth.
By Sean Fuchs
There was a scout watching the Naperville Central boys rally in the fourth quarter to beat Homewood-Flossmoor on Tuesday night. He sat on the far side of the pool deck, observing the action and taking notes.
The scout wasn't there to figure out how to inform his team about how to beat Naperville Central, however, he was there to inform Naperville Central about Naperville Central.
By Sean Fuchs
Both were runners-up at the swimming and diving state championships last month in Evanston. Both have a decision to make about if they want to continue their athletic careers and where that might happen.
Naperville North's Jackson Hill might end up at Purdue, Boston University or Michigan State.
Neuqua Valley's Chris Murray could end up at Indiana or Southern Illinois.
By D.J. Wanberg
Neuqua Valley has the chance to break a rare and long drought in Naperville high school athletics on Tuesday night when it takes on Richards in the Chicago State University Super-Sectional.
By Sean Fuchs
When Naperville North senior Jackson Hill was called for a foul late in the third quarter against Naperville Central on Saturday afternoon, he started swimming to get back on defense. Much of what happened after that is a matter of opinion.
The opinion that matters most -- because it was final and binding -- is that of the referee. He ruled that Hill intentionally kicked at Central's Mark Giuliani. For that, Hill was sent off for misconduct.
By Brad Engel
When Wildcats coach Todd Sutton said Friday's sectional championship is for everyone who's ever come through the program during the past 10 years, he's not kidding.
Neuqua had lost three title games without ever winning one before beating Bartlett 69-53 Friday at East Aurora. During the sectional finals, the Wildcats have lost 70-63 to West Aurora in 2001, 61-58 to Lockport in 2006 and 57-51 to Lockport in 2007.
By D.J. Wanberg
The Naperville area high school hockey season came to a close Thursday night. Naperville Central may be out of it, but the future looks bright for next season.
By D.J. Wanberg
I don't know if it's a fix to get me to the next football season or that I'm fascinated by the whole process. But I can't get enough of the NFL draft.
I bought my first NFL draft preview magazine yesterday and saw a local name in it. In Lindy's Pro Football Draft Preview, former Naperville North star Corey McKeon, who went on to play at Nebraska, is listed after the top 15 prospects at inside linebacker in the Worth Watching section.
McKeon, listed at 6-1, 230 pounds, runs the 40 in 4.73 according to the magazine.
The Sun named Naperville Central junior Kelley Hendrick its 2007-08 Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Since it's never to early to start debating, who do you think are the front-runners for next year's award?
Hendrick certainly has to be considered a favorite to repeat, but there are some others who could step up. The list also includes two players from Waubonsie Valley -- Rachel Bostick and Brittany Upshaw. Then there is Benet sophomore Nikki Bell, and Neuqua Valley freshman Danielle Davis to consider. Over at Naperville North, junior Kaelyn Witkowski will no doubt make some noise for the Huskies.
Got anybody else in mind? We'd love to hear from you.
By Sean Fuchs
If you have the urge to celebrate Irish American heritage, and a hankering that is equal parts Ditka and corned beef, boyo, I have an event for you.
By Patrick Mooney
At the end of January, Neuqua Valley - for all its depth and versatility - was a puzzling team that too often could not finish games in the fourth quarter.
Before the Wildcats recovered to win the UEC title, the Willowbrook Regional and a gritty game against rival Waubonsie Valley on Wednesday night, here’s what Neuqua coach Todd Sutton had to say after a 52-50 overtime loss to Oswego East on Jan. 29:
By Sean Fuchs
If Marian Catholic coach Sean Scanlon was correct on Tuesday night when he said Naperville Central is better than its No. 5 ranking, the Redhawks will be able to prove that in front of their home fans for most of March.
By D.J. Wanberg
For the first time in this season's second-round play of the Blackhawk Cup, the seeding didn't hold up.
By D.J. Wanberg
While other teams continue thinking about the present, Neuqua Valley is already thinking about the 2008-09 season.
By Sean Fuchs
If you were at the boys swimming state finals on Feb. 22, you might be in Sports Illustrated.
By Paul LaTour
Naperville Central senior Casey Short won't be defending her state titles in the 400-meter and 800-meter dashes this spring. Instead, the Florida State-bound Short, who will play soccer for the Seminoles, will rejoin the Redhawks girls soccer team, where she played as a freshman.
By Sean Fuchs
On the eve of the water polo season, the Heat Index brings you the preseason list of the top 10 players in the area for boys and girls, thanks to the kind folks at illpolo.com.
By D.J. Wanberg
The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville becomes the focus of area high school hockey this week as the final 16 teams of the Blackhawk Cup Red Division state tournament converge on the Chicago Blackhawks' practice facility.
By Brad Nolan
Central girls water polo player Kara Wilson needs just one goal to become the program's all-time leading scorer, breaking the old mark of 213 goals currently shared by her and former teammate Nikki Nelson ('07 grad). Check out Wilson's bid for the mark when the Redhawks host Marian Catholic in their season opener at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
By Patrick Mooney
Right up to the final two minutes of the Naperville North Regional final, this fit the profile of a tense Redhawk victory.
Naperville Central had led for nearly all of Friday night, and appeared ready to end Glenbard West’s surprising run through this bracket and advance to the East Aurora Sectional semifinal.
Then Central, a team that defined itself by how it played in pressure situations, unraveled in what became a 40-36 loss.