Chicago Athletes to Watch in London

Chicago Athletes to Watch in London
Luol Deng will represent England in the Olympics.

Men’s Baskeball
Anthony Davis-USA
Davis was the top ranked high school player in the country in 2011 and followed that up with a national championship at Kentucky and being the top player selected in the NBA Draft last month by the New Orleans Hornets. He is the only member of the 2012 Men’s Olympic Basketball team with out NBA Experience.

Davis was named to the team earlier this month after Blake Griffin suffered a knee injury in practice. He won the 2012 Naismith and Wooden Awards as the Best Player in College Basketball and followed that up with the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award. He averaged 13.7 ppg., 12.3 rpg. and 4.8 bpg.

Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade would have given the Men’s National Team three members that played high school basketball in Chicago. Both had to withdraw from the team with injuries. Three other players to watch with ties to Illinois are Andre Igoudala who prepped at Springfield Lanphier, Deron Williams who played three seasons at Illinois and Tyson Chandler who played for the Bulls from 2001-06.

Luol Deng Great Britain
Deng is playing with the British Olympic team making their first appearance in the olympics in basketball. His participation has been a constant topic of discussion on the sports talkers for a few months. He could take the summer off to rest an injured list. Deng and his family emigrated to London to escape the civil war and unrest in his native Sudan and now South Sudan. Deng has played his entire eight year NBA Career with the Bulls. He has averaged 16.0 PPG and 6.4 RPG.

Women’s Basketball Team
A third of the Women’s USA Basketball roster has ties to Chicago. Swin Cash and Sylvia Fowles play for the Sky and Tameka Catchings and Candace Parker won multiple state titles playing high school basketball in the Chicago Area. The Women begin play Saturday against Croatia at 10:45 Central time.

  • Swin Cash- Cash was acquired by the Sky in January. She is averaging 9.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG. Both totals are the second lowest of her career. She was a member of the 2004 Gold Medal team, but did not compete in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
  • Sylvia Fowles-Fowles is appearing in her second olympic games. She won a gold medal in Beijing. In her fifth WNBA season, Fowles is averaging 18.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.2 BPG. Her rebounds, assists and steals per game are all career highs.
  • Tameka Catchings- Catchings with sister Tauja and Katie Coleman led Stevenson to state titles in 1995 and ‘96 before transferring to Duncanville Texas. She later would win a national championship at Tennessee and won gold medals in 2004 and 2008. Catchings has been a member of the Indiana Fever since 2001, her entire WNBA career. This is likely her last Olympics. Catchings is the daughter of retired NBA player Harvey Catchings.
  • Candace Parker-Parker also won consecutive state titles at Naperville Central in 2003 and 2004. She led the Redhawks to an undefeated season in 2003. She was a multiple two-time national high school player of the year. Like Catchings, she played for legendary coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee. Parker played three seasons at Tennessee leading the Volunteers to two national championships. In her three seasons in Knoxville, the Lady Vols went 101-10.

Ellis Coleman-Wrestling Coleman will participate in Greco-Roman Wrestling in London. At 20 he is the youngest member of the American Wrestling Team. The Biggest difference between Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling is that G-R holds below the waist are not allowed.

Coleman won a state championship at Oak Park-River Forest. He is famous for his Flying Squirrel Move. The Tribune’s Brian Hamilton had a great piece on Coleman last month.

Bob Willis-Windsurfing Francis Parker Alum Willis is appearing in his first Olympic Games as a member of the US Sailing team. He will be competing in Windsurfing in the RS:X class. Willis missed the Beijing Olympics after finishing third in qualifying. Willis will make his Olympic debut Tuesday.

Willis can be followed on Twitter @bobsails2012.

Christina Loukas-Diving Deerfield Alum and Riverwoods native Loukas is appearing in her second Olympic games. She finished eighth in Beijing. She won the Olympic trials in 2008 and finished second this year. She comes from a very athletic family. Her father, uncle and cousin all played college football. Her father owns the world famous Cubby Bear across from Wrigley Field. The women’s 3 meter springboard will take place from August 3-5. Loukas can be found on Twitter @christinaloukas.

Sean Rooney-Volleyball Rooney has been a champion at nearly every level of volleyball. He helped lead Wheaton Warrenville South to a state championship in 2001, Pepperdine to the national championship in 2005 and was a part of the US Men’s Olympic Gold Medal team in 2008. Rooney was the 2005 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. He also was twice named the Most Valuable Player twice in the Korean League after leading his team to back to back titles. He also rose to as high as fifth on the Beach Volleyball tour in 2005 and 2006.

Matt Grevers- Swimming Grevers won Gold in the 4x100 Freestyle Relay and the 4x100 Medley Relay and Silver in the 100 Meter Backstroke in Beijing. He will be participating in the 100 backstroke (July 30 final), 4x100 free relay (July 29 final) according the Arizona Daily Star. Grevers currently swims for Arizona Ford Dealers Aquatics based in Tucson.

He was a four time NCAA All-American and 27 Time NCAA Champion at Northwestern. Grevers has also become an internet sensation for proposal to Annie Chandler who swam for Arizona. Grevers can be followed on Twitter @MattGrevers.

Jake Herbert-Wrestling Herbert will compete in the 84 Kilogram weight class which is about 185 pounds in his first Olympics.

Herbert won the 2008-09 Hodge award as the nation’s best wrestler. His 135 wins at Northwestern rank fourth all-time. He was a four-time All-American at NU. He will compete on August 11th. The Qualifications begin at 6am Central Time and the final will take place at 12:25. Herbert can be followed on Twitter @JakeHerbert84 and his own website Jake Herbert.Com. He also has his Olympic Schedule on his website.

Conor Dwyer- Swimming A Winnetka native and 2007 graduate Loyola Academy, Dwyer will compete in the 400 Freestyle and 400x200 relay. He was the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Swimmer of the Year at Florida and a three time national champion.

Grant and Ross James- Rowing The DeKalb natives have a pretty amazing story. They were recruited at Wisconsin after they were spotted in line at orientation. The rowing will take place from August 5-8.

Amy LePeilbet Soccer LePeilbet grew up in Crystal Lake and played collegiately at Arizona State. She was a member of the 2011 US Runner-up in the World Cup. She started in team USA’s come from behind 4-2 victory over France.

Evan Jager 3000 Meter Steeplechase Jager was a four time state champion at Jacobs in Algonquin. He didn’t begin running in the Steeplechase until this spring. Amazingly he won the Olympic Qualifying race. Jager will run in the qualifying heats on August 3 and if he qualifies for the finals would run again on the 5th.

Wallace Spearmon 200 Meters Spearmon will be looking for redemption in London after he was disqualified for leaving his lane after finishing third in the 200 meters in Beijing. Spreamon is a Chicago native. Spearmon in the US Indoor record holder in the 200.

Donald Young Tennis Young was targeted as the next big american tennis star after a record setting junior career. Young is at the bottom of the draw. He plays Andreas Seppi of Italy in the first round and then would likely matchup with Juan Martin Del Porto of Argentina in the second round.

Sarah Zelenka Rowing After a stellar high school basketball career at Lake Park, Zelenka Grand Valley State in Michigan. She joined the Rowing team as a freshman with no prior experience. She will compete with Sara Hendershot in London. The pair needed a come from behind victory at the trials to qualify for London. They will compete July 28, 30 and August 1st.

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