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Posts Tagged ‘2008 NBA Draft’

Top 10 Moments In Chicago Sports In 2008

Posted by sportsmaven on January 17, 2009

The new year has already started and amidst the resolutions, fresh starts, diets, and new beginnings comes the ever reverent look back at the year that has passed.  The year 2008 was a banner year for Chicago sports, as three teams won their prospective division titles, and one, the Chicago Wolves won a championship.  There was good, bad, ugly, and everything in between for Chicago sports fans.  So, lets take a look back on the Top 10 Moments in Chicago Sports in 2008 (in no particular order):
Bears use goal line stand to beat the Eagles 24-20

Bears use goal line stand to beat the Eagles 24-20

Bears goal line stand against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 — The Chicago Bears were leading the Philadelphia Eagles 24-20, Eagles had first and goal from the Bears 4, 5:40 left in the game.  Eagles run RB Cornell Buckhalter off right tackle for 3 yards.  Second and goal was a handoff to FB Tony Hunt for no gain.  Third down was back to Buckhalter to the right for no gain.  Eagles call a time out and decide to go for it on 4th down.   Buckhalter again off left tackle, this time, stood up by RE Alex Brown of the Bears for no gain.  Game over.  Bears win.

Zambrano hurls a no-hitter.

Zambrano hurls a no-hitter.

Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano throws no-hitter against the Houston Astros on Sept. 14th —  The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros waited two long days to find out where they would be playing their key late season series against each other.  Houston was being devestated by Hurricane Ike and MLB moved the Astros to “neutral” Miller Park in Milwaukee to face the Cubs.  Zambrano brought his “A” game with him to “Wrigley North”, shutting down the powerful Astros lineup, striking out CF Darrin Erstad swinging for the last out of the first Cubs no-hitter in 36 years.

Chicago Cubs Win 2008 NL Central Division

Chicago Cubs Win 2008 NL Central Division

Cubs win back to back NL Central Division titles — The Cubs began the 2008 season with one of it’s goals to win the 2008 NL Central Division title, as well as seeking their first World Series appearance since 1945 and first World Championship since 1908.  Alas, the Cubs could only slay one 100 year drought, as they won an NL-best 97 games en route to the 2008 NL Central Division title for their  first back to back division titles since 1908.  A quick sweep in the NL Divisional Series by the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers dimmed what was to that point, a most magical season for the North Siders.

chicago white sox win 2008 al central division title

chicago white sox win 2008 al central division title

White Sox win 3 elimination games in a row to win the AL Central title — The Chicago White Sox looked dead in the water, losing  4 of their final 5 games to the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians, coughing up a 2.5 game division lead and falling 1/2 game behind the Twins with one game to play.  The final game of the Cleveland series and the regular season was a must win game with Mark Buehrle on the bump, the Sox beat the Indians to force the Monday afternoon post-season makeup game against the Detroit Tigers.  The Sox win the makeup game against the Tigers, forcing a one game playoff game against the Twins for the AL Division title, this time, in Chicago.   The Sox, behind a masterpiece by LHP John Danks, beat the Twins 1-0 and claim the AL Central Division title, winning three elimination games in a row.

derrick rose drafted #1 by chicago bulls

derrick rose drafted #1 by chicago bulls

Chicago Bulls win the 1st pick in the NBA Draft and the right to select PG Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls GM John Paxson had to work wonders to undo all the bad karma and decision-making by Bulls brass in the post-Michael Jordan/Phil Jackson era, but by sheer luck,  one of those bouncing ping-pong ball went red, and the Bulls, with a x% chance, landed the #1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft.  Around the same time, a young freshman PG from Chicago was leading his one-loss  Memphis Tigers team to the 2008 National Championship game against the Kansas Jayhawks.  The Jayhawks win the title, the young freshman forgoes his eligibility and declares eligible for the NBA Draft and the prodigal son returns a hero.

The City of Chicago becomes a finalist for host city for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games — Chicago survived the US bid process to emerge as the US entry for host of the 2016 Olympics.  Election Night provided the world a glimpse of what Chicago 2016 could be as Grant Park served as the world’s stage for President-Elect Barack Obama’s election night speech.  Chicago is President Obama’s hometown and can be in prime position to be named 2016 host, but it can’t rest on that momentum as concerns about finances, transportation infrastructure, and sports facilities still shroud Chicago’s Olympic bid chances.

Youngsters lead the resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks

Youngsters lead the resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks

The arrival of a young and resurgent Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, who finished  the 2007-08 season very strong and opened the 2008-09 season even stronger — the Chicago Blackhawks under owner Bill Wirtz became the city’s red headed stepchild of Chicago professional sports.  Even the minor league AHL hockey team, the Chicago Wolves, were outdrawing the Hawks in attendance.  Things couldn’t have been any lower, and then, Bill Wirtz died.  Bill’s son Rocky took the team over and his first move as team owner was to steal marketing genius John McDonough away from the Cubs, hiring McDonough as his new team president.  A change in coaches (Joel Quenneville in, Denis Savard out), a #1, and #3  draft pick later, youngsters C Jonathan Toews and RW Patrick Kane lead a marketing and on-ice resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks.  High point to date, a team best 9 game winning streak leading into the 2009 Winter Classic against the Detroit Red Wings.  The game resulted in a loss for the Blackhawks in the standings, but was a HUGE win for the Hawks in prestige and heritage.  A vintage Original Six team is reborn.

Chicago Bears Matt Forte leads Bears ground attack

Chicago Bears Matt Forte leads Bears ground attack

Bears hammer Indianapolis Colts on national TV in the season opener, marking the coming out party for Bears RB Matt Forte and ruining the home opening of the Colts new Lucas Oil Stadium — The Chicago Bears were playing on national television.  They were also playing the mighty Indianapolis Colts on the road in the Colts brand spanking new stadium.  The Bears have traditionally been nothing short of horrible in nationally televised night games and this was Sunday Night Football on NBC.  And QB Peyton Manning, coming off a knee injury, was planning on starting this game. The Bears were doomed, but fate forgot to mention that to this Bears team, lead by a resurgent defense and the nimble running of rookie RB Matt Forte, the only Bear to eclipse 100 yards rushing in his first ever game (123 yards), the Bears down the mighty Colts 29-13.

QB Juice Williams leads Illinois to 2008 Rose Bowl

QB Juice Williams leads Illinois to 2008 Rose Bowl

The University of Illinois football team plays in it’s first Rose Bowl since 1984 — In 2001, the University of Illinois football program was reaching it’s pinnacle capped by a Big Ten Conference Championship and an appearance in the 2002 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.  Two short years later, the Illini hit rock bottom, going 1-11, eventually firing coach Ron Turner and hiring master recruiter Ron Zook as his replacement.  In year 3 of the rebuilding process, the Illini found themselves with a 9-4 record, stunning #1 Ohio State on the road in a 28-21 victory that propelled the team to it’s first Rose Bowl in 24 years.

Chicago Wolves win the 2008 Calder Cup Championship

Chicago Wolves win the 2008 Calder Cup Championship

Chicago Wolves win the 2008 Calder Cup Championship, bringing a hockey title back to Chicago — The Chicago Wolves AHL hockey team beats the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5-2 bringing the Calder Cup back to Chicago.  It is the 4th title for the Wolves in their 14-year history.  Soon after, Wolves Coach John Anderson is promoted to coach the parent team, the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. The Wolves dip into a famous Chicago hockey family, tapping Don Granato as their new head coach.

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Five Reasons Why Derrick Rose Is The Right Pick For The Chicago Bulls

Posted by sportsmaven on June 29, 2008

Moments before the start of the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls had still not given any guidance as to the direction they were going with the #1 pick. Most experts agreed that Memphis G Derrick Rose would be the Bulls choice, but the Bulls did a great job of keeping Kansas State F Michael Beasley in the picture and when NBA Commissioner David Stern walked to the podium to announce the pick, I was uncertain who the Bulls wrote on the card in the commish’s hand.

In the end, Derrick Rose was the right pick for the Bulls for the following reasons:

1. The NBA is evolving into a more perimeter controlled game. Ballhandlers and penetrators are at a premium. Derrick Rose was the best of the perimeter players in this year’s draft. Rose can score, pass, rebound if needed, and play defense. He is unselfish almost to a fault. Rose can penetrate, get to the basket, and finish once he gets there. He still needs to work on his outside shot, particularly his 3-point shooting, and even Rose himself has acknowledged that, but his inside/outside game now is quite potent and will only get exponentially better with time.

2. Derrick Rose is the most competitive player in this year’s draft. His will to win is something not seen in Chicago Bulls basketball since Michael Jordan. In a recent Chicago Tribune article, Rose was asked to describe himself. His response: “An unselfish guard who’s willing to do anything to win. I mean, anything.” Very focused, very precise. His will to win is enormous. This is a kid that cried after losing AAU games. Willing to do anything to win and hates losing? These are qualities that are sorely lacking for anyone currently on the Bulls roster.

3. Derrick Rose’s work ethic and leadership is second to none. Rose has been heralded as the hardest worker in this year’s draft. Again, in a recent Chicago Tribune article on Rose, his work ethic has been described as follows:

“Last summer, shortly after Rose arrived at Memphis, Calipari received a report that Rose’s knee was hurting him. Why would his knee be bothering him already, Calipari wondered.

The answer: Rose was toiling in the gym for six hours at a time. It might have been the first time in recorded history that a coach asked an elite player to stop working so hard.”

Rose is willing to dedicate whatever time is necessary to be the best. All great leaders start by leading by example. Rose is soft spoken, but his actions will speak louder than words. Over time, the words will be there, but Rose may already be the hardest worker on the Bulls roster and he has yet to attend a practice, much less play a game.

4. The home town hero scenario was too good to be true – on the day of the NBA Draft Lottery, the Chicago Bulls had a 1.7% chance of winning the #1 pick. Fate ran it’s course and the Bulls somehow defied odds and were put in position to draft the most dynamic player in this year’s draft. That player so happened to be from Chicago, so a hometown hero in the making.

Many critics point to C Eddy Curry and his inability to succeed with the pressure of playing in your hometown as a reason why the Bulls should have bypassed Derrick Rose. That logic makes absolutely no sense to me. It has nothing to do with playing in your hometown. It has everything to do with heart and character, and Derrick Rose has more heart and character than Eddy Curry. That alone will make the difference. The question of Derrick feeling pressure playing at home was handled deftly on the night of the draft:

His mom Brenda downplayed the notion that playing in Chicago will put more pressure on her son, telling ESPN: ‘‘He’s used to playing in Chicago.’’

The Rose family has handled Derrick professionally with great foresight of the potential of playing in Chicago for the Bulls. They have taught Derrick to handle pressure. This is a support system that Eddy Curry lacked.

5. Derrick Rose’s heart is in Chicago – he will also be the heart of professional basketball in Chicago for years to come. One day, Mr. Rose will be known only as Derrick, like the other great Bull, Michael. The heart of a championship team has walked in the door of the House That Michael Built. If Derrick Rose continues to work his craft, to constantly and consistently work on improving his game, the sky’s the limit. He will one day wear a NBA championship ring, maybe multiple rings…..and I am not one to doubt that this will not happen.

If you still doubt that Derrick Rose is the right pick for Chicago, the Bulls will be playing in the NBA Summer League in Orlando, FL from July 7-11. You can watch a live video webcast of each game on http://www.orlandomagic.com.

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