Top Five Sports Stories to Watch for the Week of June 25

The Bulls Draft With Derrick Rose likely out until January and Luol Deng’s return from wrist surgery after the Olympics to be determined, the Bulls are going to need a point guard and someone that can score. To that effect, point guards Tyshawn Taylor from Kansas and Marquis Teague from Kentucky and two guard John Jenkins from Vanderbilt seem to be the consensus players that the mock drafts project the Bulls to take. Other possibilities are Jenkins’ Vanderbilt teammate small forward Jeffrey Taylor and shooting guard Evan Fournier from France.

Anthony Davis and the NBA Draft Davis is slated to become the seventh player with ties to the Chicago area to be the first pick in the NBA Draft. Gen Melchiorre was the first player in the draft that prepped in the Chicago area to be picked first. He was the Baltimore Bullets choice out of Bradley via Highland Park High School in 1953.

Derrick Rose in 2008 was the last player from Chicago to be the top pick in the draft.

On Thursday night Davis will become the seventh player from the Greater Chicago area and the fifth from Chicago to be the first player announced. He might be the most unlikely. Davis was a guard as a sophomore and grew four inches from the end of his sophomore season to the beginning of his junior season. Now 6’8 Davis became a power forward with guard skills.

He was regarded as the consensus top ranked player in the country coming out of high school.

At Kentucky he became the unquestioned best player in college basketball. He in a unique player that can affect a game at both ends of the court. He can be dominant without contributing offensively. Davis averaged 14.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG and 4.7 BPG. He shot 62.3 percent from the floor and a respectable 70.1 percent from the line. He will join Kendall Gill and Julian Wright as other players that prepped in the Chicago area that were picked in the first round by the Hornets.

After leading Kentucky to the National Championship and becoming the top pick, the pressure in Davis to elevate the Hornets will be something to watch for a player who was thrust into the national spotlight quickly.

White Sox Acquire Youkilis
Thirdbase has been a disaster for the White Sox this season. Brent Morel, Orlando Hudson and Eduardo are all hitting below .200 on the season. The Chicago Tribune first reported that the White Sox have acquired Kevin Youkilis from the Boston RedSox for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. The Red Sox are expected to pick up a big portion of his $8 million contact.

Youkilis has hit at least 13 Home Runs and driven in 60 runs for the last six seasons prior to 2012. His career batting average is .286. He is expected to make his debut at Minnesota Monday night.

Anthony Rizzo’s Possible Call-up
Rizzo has had Cubs fans intrigued since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer reacquired him from San Diego in the offseason. Epstein was the Red Sox General Manager and Hoyer the Padres General Manager when Rizzo went from Boston to San Diego as part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade.

He was in a similar situation last season with the Padres. Rizzo was recalled from AAA Tucson on June 9, 2011 to San Diego. He hit .365 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs in 200 at bats in 53 games. Rizzo struggled in his first 2011 stint with the Padres. He hit just .143 with one Home Run and he struck out 36 times in 98 AB’s.

He was returned to Tucson on July 7. Rizzo finished the AAA season hitting .331 with 26 Hr’s and 101 rbi’s. He was recalled again by the Padres as part of the traditional September callups and finished hitting just .141 with the one homerun and nine RBIs for the Padres in 2011.

He was traded to the Cubs in the offseason after San Diego acquired Yonder Alonso from Cincinnati in the Mat Latos trade.

Rizzo is currently hitting .355 with 23 home runs and 62 RBI’s for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Iowa. He has still struggled with strikeouts. Rizzo has fanned 50 times in 274 at-bats.

His recall seems to be imminent with the Cubs having an opening at first base. The speculation is that when Rizzo is recalled, Brian Lehair will move to right field. David DeJesus could move from right to center, but with Tony Campana leading the national league in stolen bases that is up for debate.

The current speculation on Rizzo’s recall centers around his major league service time. Saturday was a key milestone for his recall. If he were to be recalled now, Rizzo would be eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. Before Saturday, he would have been eligible for free agency after the 2017 season.

White Sox and Cubs Rotation Problems
The Cubs and the White Sox have both placed their opening day starters on disabled list. John Danks was placed on the disabled list by the White Sox on May 20th. His stint began a day after he pitched 6.1 innings allowing only three hits, walking one and shutting out the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

According to Mark Gonzalez of the Tribune, Danks has a Grade One tear of his left subscapularis muscle in his left shoulder. He is not expected to begin a rehab assignment for three to four weeks according to Yahoo sports.

In his absence, Jose Quintana has been terrific. Quintana is 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA in eight games with six starts. He hasn’t given up more than two runs in any outings this season and has not allowed any runs in his last two starts.

A lot was expected from Philip Humber after a good 2011 season and allowing only one run in his first two starts of 2012. Humber threw a perfect game in his second start of 2012 and it seemed he was going to give the White Sox a solid back end of the rotation. After struggling in four of his last five starts, Humber joined Danks on the DL with a strained elbow.

They recalled Brian Bruney from AAA Charlotte to take Humber’s place on the staff. Dylan Axelrod will take his place in the rotation for the time being. Axelrod was recalled on Tuesday when the White Sox sent down Zach Stewart.

Axelrod pitched 5.1 innings giving up six hits, five runs, four earned and struck out three without any walks in a no decision against Milwaukee on Saturday. His next scheduled start is Thursday at New York. It was just his fifth career start.

Ryan Dempster was put on the disabled list June 18th, retroactive to June 16th with a sore right lat muscle. Dempster is likely to come off the disabled list when he is eligible on July 1. That leaves one more start for his spot in the rotation. Randy Wells lasted only 3.2 in Tuesday’s 7-0 loss to the White Sox. He gave up five hits and three runs with four walks and no strikeouts. Cubs Manager Dale Sveum said Wells is not guaranteed another start, but he is listed as starter on Cubs.Com on Tuesday against the Mets.

Back to Intraleague Play After 15 straight games of intraleague play for the White Sox and 12 for the Cubs, the teams return to playing games against their own league. The Cubs got an early jump than the rest of the national teams when they travelled to Arizona this past weekend.

The White Sox finished a surprising against the National League this season. Entering this season they had a .580 winning percentage in interleague play which was second to the Yankees. After sweeping the Cubs in May, the White Sox have lost nine of their 13 interleague games in June and have lost every series.

The Cubs finished interleague play 5-10 and like the White Sox, their only series win was against their crosstown rivals. The Cubs had only a .470 winning percentage in interleague play prior to this season.

The White Sox will hope to regain their way when they start a seven game road trip with three at Minnesota and four at the Yankees. The White Sox 19-13 road record is the third best in baseball behind New York and Texas.

The Cubs return home for a six game homestand against the Mets and Astros.

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