Jabari Parker now Bulls beat Free Agent signing(IF he’s healthy).

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Jabari Parker is heading back home. The Simeon Alum and former No. 2 overall pick will be joining the Bulls. The team confirmed the signing on Saturday. The deal is for two years and $40 million. He had been a restricted free agent, but the Milwaukee Bucks pulled their qualifying offer at the last moment, allowing Parker to become an unrestricted free agent and simply agree to a deal with the Bulls. Free agent forward Jabari Parker has agreed to a two-year, $40M deal with the Bulls, league sources tell ESPN. Milwaukee rescinded Parker’s qualifying offer moments ago, making him unrestricted.Parker averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 38.3 percent on 3-pointers last season, but played just 31 games after returning from ACL surgery in February. It was the second time in just four seasons that Parker had to make a return from a torn ACL. The second year of Parker’s deal is reportedly a team option, which, given Parker’s previous injury history, is smart from the Bulls’ perspective. It remains to be seen, however, if the same will be said for signing Parker in the first place. It’s easy to see the allure of signing a former No. 2 overall and hometown kid who still has plenty of talent, and will be boon for the marketing department. However, Parker works best as a power forward, and it seems likely there will now be a logjam in the team’s frontcourt. Lauri Markkanen, the team’s first-round pick last season, is also best suited to play the four, and looked impressive in that role last season. Plus the team has Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis Jr. and this year’s first-round pick, Wendell Carter Jr. The plan, according to a report from K.C. Johnson of the Tribune, is to play Parker at the three alongside Markkanen and one of Lopez and Carter in the frontcourt. That may work on offense, but the defense figures to be quite a problem for the Bulls.

Bulls go big in NBA Draft first round.

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Following attempts to trade up for Marvin Bagley III and Mo Bamba, the Bulls stayed at No. 7 and drafted 6-foot-10-inch Wendell Carter Jr. from Duke.Carter, who impressed the Bulls throughout the draft process, is the type of big who management envisions will fit in today’s NBA and complement Lauri Markkanen. At the NBA draft combine, he talked openly about how his game can expand at the next level after sacrificing for his more heralded Duke teammate Bagley.Carter, 19, averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in his lone season at Duke. He’s considered an elite rebounder and has the ability to face up or play with his back to the basket. He also shot 41.3 percent on 3-pointers.Following his workout at the Advocate Center, Carter showed his knowledge of today’s game and also talked about learning under Robin Lopez.
In round two, Chandler Hutchison persisted since he left the NBA draft combine last month, reportedly promised a first-round pick by the Bulls.And indeed, they selected the 6-foot-7 Mountain West player of the year with the No. 22 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. Hutchison averaged 20 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in his senior season, the rare four-year player.Hutchison improved dramatically over his career, jumping from 3.1 points per game in his freshman season.

Bulls get 7th pick in the NBA LOTTERY.

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The Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night won NBA Draft Lottery 2018 presented by State Farm, which was conducted at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

The Suns will have the first overall pick in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm, which will be held on Thursday, June 21 (7 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The Draft will air live on ESPN and ESPN Radio and stream live on the ESPN App.

The following are the results from NBA Draft Lottery 2018 presented by State Farm:

First Round

1. Phoenix 
2. Sacramento
3. Atlanta
4. Memphis
5. Dallas
6. Orlando
8. Cleveland  (from Brooklyn via Boston)
9. New York
10. Philadelphia  (from Los Angeles Lakers via Phoenix)
12. LA Clippers (from Detroit)
13. LA Clippers
14. Denver 
15. Washington
16. Phoenix (from Miami)
17. Milwaukee
18. San Antonio
19. Atlanta (from Minnesota)
20. Minnesota (from Oklahoma City via Utah)
21. Utah
(from New Orleans)
23. Indiana
24. Portland
25. Los Angeles Lakers
(from Cleveland)
26. Philadelphia
27. Boston
28. Golden State
29. Brooklyn
(from Toronto)
30. Atlanta (from Houston via LA Clippers)

Second Round

31. Phoenix
32. Memphis
33. Dallas
34. Atlanta
35. Orlando
36. New York
(from BULLS via Oklahoma City)
37. Sacramento
38. Philadelphia
(from Brooklyn)
39. Philadelphia (from New York)
40. Brooklyn (from Los Angeles Lakers via Toronto and Orlando)
41. Orlando (from Charlotte via Phoenix and Memphis)
42. Detroit
43. Denver
(from LA Clippers via New York and Philadelphia)
44. Washington
45. Brooklyn
(from Milwaukee)
46. Houston (from Miami via Memphis)
47. Los Angeles Lakers (from Denver via Chicago and Utah)
48. Minnesota
49. San Antonio
50. Indiana
51. New Orleans
52. Utah
53. Oklahoma City
54. Dallas
(from Portland via Denver)
55. Charlotte (from Cleveland via Brooklyn and Philadelphia)
56. Philadelphia
57. Oklahoma City
(from Boston)
58. Denver (from Golden State)
59. Phoenix (from Toronto)
60. Philadelphia
(from Houston)

* * *

Nets drop Bulls in last Road game of season

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BROOKLYN—The rebuilding Brooklyn Nets have finally started to click over the season’s final month.Allen Crabbe is hoping it’ll carry over to next season.Crabbe scored 20 of his career-high 41 points in the first quarter and the Nets beat the Bulls 114-105 on Monday night for their first three-game winning streak this season.The Nets have won seven of 12 games since March 17 after dropping 18 of 21.

”Things are maybe turning that corner that we wanted to get a little early in the season, but it’s better late than never,” said Crabbe, who struggled at the beginning of the season before finding his 3-point stroke. He has a franchise-record 188 3-pointers in his first season with Brooklyn.D’Angelo Russell had 21 points and 11 assists, and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points for the Nets, who had not won three straight since April 1-4, 2017.The Nets swept the three-game season series from the Bulls for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Brooklyn assisted on 32 of its 41 baskets.

”I try to pass the ball to whoever’s open,” said Russell, who also had six rebounds. ”Coach gives me that freedom. The more I’m here, the more the trust will slowly elevate but we got shot-makers around here.”

Former Net Sean Kilpatrick was one of seven players for the Bulls to score in double figures, tallying 16 points. Cameron Payne had 15 for the Bulls, who have lost their last three games.Lauri Markkanen added 10 points and six rebounds to reach 500 boards this season. He’s the first Bulls rookie to since Elton Brand to eclipse the 1,000-point, 500-rebound mark.

”I take a lot of pride. I basically try to do basically as much as I can in rebounding,” Markkanen said. ”I think it feels pretty cool to accomplish that, but I’m not satisfied.”

Brooklyn hit 18 3-pointers in its first game since falling one shy of the NBA record with 24 in a rout of the Hawks on Saturday.Crabbe celebrated his 26th birthday by going 8 of 11 from deep Monday. He scored 14 straight points during his first quarter outburst and finished the first half with 29 points, including 6 of 6 from deep. The Nets led 62-55 at the break.During his last three games, Crabbe has made 18 3-pointers and averaged 28.7 points.

”I shook his hand after the game and it was still hot, still cooking,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. ”He’s really finishing the season the way we’re asking the team to finish, on a strong night.”

The Nets led by 11 points during the third quarter before the Bulls cut the lead to three on Kilpatrick’s 3-pointer with five seconds left.The Bulls got within four points on Kilpatrick’s basket with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter, forcing the Nets to call a timeout.Russell then hit a jumper at the elbow over Kilpatrick to start 6-0 run capped by his driving layup with 1:36 to play. That extended the lead to 112-102.Markkanen made a pair of 3-pointers. The 20-year-old from Finland is two shy of tying Kirk Hinrich’s franchise rookie record of 144 set during the 2003-04 season. … David Nwaba had 11 points and 10 rebounds.Forwards Joe Harris (sprained left ankle) and Caris LeVert (right foot tendinitis) were held out. DeMarre Carroll was also a scratch due to a left hip strain.The Bulls conclude the season at home Wednesday night against Detroit.

Michigan rallies, ends Loyola’s Cinderella run.

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SAN ANTONIO—Staring down a 10-point deficit against an underdog that seemed nothing short of blessed during the madness of March, Moe Wagner and Michigan clamped down on Loyola and ended one of the most memorable NCAA Tournament runs ever.Wagner, Charles Matthews and the Wolverines erased a 10-point second-half deficit and Michigan beat the Ramblers 69-57 Saturday night in the Final Four.The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) will take a 14-game winning streak into their first national championship game appearance since 2013, and second under coach Jon Beilein.Michigan will play Villanova for its first NCAA title since 1989 on Monday night at the Alamodome.Lovable Loyola (32-6), with superfan Sister Jean courtside and their fans behind the bench standing for pretty much the entire game, could not conjure another upset. The Ramblers were the fourth 11th-seeded team to make it this far and like the previous three, the semifinals were the end of the road.Loyola had no answers for the 6-foot-11 Wagner and its offense, so smooth and efficient on the way to San Antonio, broke down in the second half and finished with 17 turnovers.Wagner, playing in front of his parents who made the trip from Germany, scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and was 10 for 16 from the field. Matthews, the Kentucky transfer and Chicago native, added 17 points, including a run-out dunk with 1:33 left that made it 63-53.And that was that.

”I just tried to go in the game, take what the opponent is giving me, what the game is giving me, stay emotionally solid and don’t get emotionally drunk, and it worked out today,” Wagner said.

As the seconds ticked off, Wagner pumped his fist to the many Michigan fans who made the trek to San Antonio and Loyola’s Aundre Jackson, who got the Ramblers rolling with a late game-winning 3 in the first round against Miami, looked toward the roof and shook his head.Cameron Krutwig, Loyola’s big man in the middle, scored 17 points and Clayton Custer had 13 of his 15 after halftime. But facing one of the best defensive teams in the country, the best defensive team Beilein has ever had in 11 seasons in Ann Arbor, the Ramblers scored just 16 points in the final 14 minutes.Custer scored seven straight points for Loyola at one point to put the Ramblers up 41-31 with 14:08 remaining. Michigan refused to fade, even with point guard Zavier Simpson – whose solid play has been critical to the Wolverines’ late-season surge – playing terribly.Jaaron Simmons, Simpson’s backup, made a 3 and Duncan Robinson hit another a few minutes later and the deficit was down to 45-42 with 10 minutes left.Wagner hit a 3 from right in front of the Michigan bench with 6:50 left to tie it, and moments later the Wolverines were back on top, 49-47, when Jordan Poole made two free throws.Loyola turned it over on three straight possessions and Wagner tipped in a miss by Poole, was fouled and converted the three-point play to put Michigan up 54-47 with just under five minutes left.The Ramblers’ 14-game losing streak is over, along with an incredible feel-good story at time college basketball, engulfed in scandal, could truly use one. Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt and her favorite team, the Missouri Valley Conference champions, making their first NCAA appearance since 1985, will return to Chicago as heroes, regardless.Michigan has more work to do. The Wolverines will resume the underdog role they played much of the season Monday night, trying to win its second NCAA championship.




UIC beats Liberty to reach CIT Title Game

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LYNCHBURG—In the battle of Flames, Tarkus Ferguson scored 16 points and UIC beat Liberty 67-51 on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the CIT.UIC closed the first half on an 8-3 run for 28-24 lead and held the first double-digit lead of the game at 40-29 on Godwin Boahen’s 3-pointer. Michael Diggins started a 14-0 run with a 3-pointer, Boahen’s 3 capped it for a 56-37 advantage and UIC led by at least 14 the rest of the way.Boahen finished with 13 points, Marcus Ottey had 12 and Tai Odiase 11 for UIC (20-15), which has won nine consecutive road games for the first time in program history.UIC will play for the title on Friday night at Northern Colorado.Lovell Cabbil scored 13 points for Liberty (22-15) and Myo Baxter-Bell added 10. Liberty was held to 33 percent shooting, including 5 of 20 from distance.

Ramblers go to Final 4 for second time ever!


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ATLANTA—Loyola has captured the hearts of college basketball fans everywhere this March, and now it will have a chance to compete for a national championship on the game’s biggest stage after beating Kansas State 78-62 to be crowned as champions of the South Region. Senior guard Ben Richardson scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Ramblers, who will play Michigan in the Final Four. Arguably the toughest corner of the bracket, the one with the overall No. 1 seed and four conference tournament champions, has been where we’ve found this year’s most unlikely outcomes, from the first-ever 16-over-1 upset to a mid-major from the Missouri Valley Conference making a Final Four run as a No. 11-seed. On the court Loyola packed all of the thrills, beating the third-place team in the ACC (Miami), the SEC regular season co-champions (Tennessee) and the Mountain West champions (Nevada) by a combined four points. Off the court Loyola introduced the rest of the country to Sister Jean, a kind-hearted and noble face of the NCAA Tournament after a season mostly defined by scandal tied to an ongoing corruption investigation by the FBI. Loyola’s team fits the model of what so many love about college basketball and this tournament as well. This group doesn’t wow you with size or speed when they get off the bus, but the ball moves faster than any player and no one passes the ball better as a team than the Ramblers. There isn’t a bad passer on the team, and any one of the rotation players has the potential to to be the team’s primary offensive threat on a given night. It’s one of the things that makes Loyola so good in the closing moments of these close games: opponents can’t turn their attention to any one player because anyone on the floor could potentially be the go-to guy of the moment. The unusual way the region unfolded gave Loyola an Elite Eight foe different from the top seeds that George Mason and VCU had to beat in 2006 and 2011. After beating a No. 6, a No. 3 and a No. 7, the last test was No. 9 Kansas State. The way the game unfolded broke the mold from previous tournament wins as well, with Loyola leading by as many as 21 in the second half and then holding on for the program-defining win in the final minutes.

Another heart stopping win for Ramblers who advance to Elite Eight

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ATLANTA—With Loyola’s captivating NCAA Tournament run hanging in the balance, it was Marques Townes’ turn to deliver another memorable finish.Townes had scored only a combined 15 points in Loyola’s first two NCAA Tournament games, but that didn’t concern Ramblers coach Porter Moser. Townes had the ball in front of the Loyola bench in the final seconds Thursday night and the shot clock about to expire.With Loyola clinging to a one-point lead and only 6.3 seconds remaining, Townes nailed the decisive 3-pointer to help clinch a 69-68 win over Nevada in the NCAA South Regional semifinal.

”He was a warrior,” Moser said.
Townes, who had 18 points, charged down the court, pumping his fist, following the shot.

”I’ll probably remember it for the rest of my life,” Townes said. ”I mean, it doesn’t really get any better than that.”

Following a timeout, Nevada’s Caleb Martin answered with a 3, but this time the Wolf Pack couldn’t extend their string of second-half comebacks in the tournament.

”Got to give so much credit to Nevada, they never quit,” Moser said. ”Those guys keep coming at you, coming at you. … I was blessed we made a couple of plays at the end, got a couple of stops.”

The win leaves the No. 11th-seeded Ramblers, the biggest surprise in a regional that has lost its top four seeds, one victory from a Final Four appearance. Loyola (31-5), which has won three tournament games by a combined four points, awaits Kentucky game in Saturday’s regional final.Not bad for a program that hadn’t been in the Sweet 16 in 33 years.On a team that shares the spotlight, this was Townes’ moment. He made each of his two 3s and led Loyola with five assists. He said he was fine after banging knees with Nevada’s Jordan Caroline at the end of the game.

”I think Marques Townes is the best player on the court tonight,” said Loyola guard Clayton Custer. ”I don’t even think it was close, either. … This is unbelievable. Feels like a dream.”

Martin led Nevada (29-8) with 21 points. Twin brother Cody Martin had 16. Jordan Carolina added 19.

”We get a stop on the 3 they shot at the buzzer and maybe we’re sitting up here with a win,” said Nevada coach Eric Musselman.
Caleb Martin bemoaned his missed defensive opportunity before Townes’ big 3.

”I should have denied the catch,” Martin said of Loyola’s pass to Townes. ”I just got lost and it was costly.”

Loyola trailed by 12 points, at 20-8, midway through the first half but stormed back to lead 28-24 at halftime. Loyola closed the half with a 20-4 run as Nevada didn’t score in the final 7:55 before the break.Loyola pushed the ball in the paint on almost every possession. The Ramblers’ first 10 points came on layups.Loyola’s relentless attack on the basket continued as it stretched its lead, one layup at a time, in the second half.

NOTES—Loyola showed strong poise by sticking with their game plan to attack the basket, even when the Wolf Pack collected five blocks in the first half. Loyola took a 46-34 advantage in points in the paint…..Four members of Loyola’s famous 1963 NCAA championship team had front-row seats: Jerry Harkness, Les Hunter, John Egan and Rich Rochelle. In the final minutes of the game, Harkness could be heard saying, ”We need a stop. We just need a stop.”….Also attending the game was Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, Loyola’s 98-year-old team chaplain who has become a celebrity during the tournament. ”It was getting pretty bad. I thought I might have to resort to my nitro (nitroglycerin), but I didn’t have to do that,” she said after the win. She also had a word of caution for Loyola’s next opponent: ”Here we come, next team, whoever you are.”…..Nevada’s experience in second-half comebacks paid off. After Loyola’s layup by Custer gave the Ramblers their last 10-point lead at 57-47, the Wolf Pack charged back. Cody Martin’s basket started a 12-2 run, and his layup tied the game at 59-all with 4:06 remaining.This time, however, Nevada couldn’t regain the lead…..The Ramblers will face Ks State-Kentucky regional semifinal in Saturday’s regional final.

Bulls routed by Nuggets as they play out the string

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It started when Nikola Jokic was introduced with Denver’s starting lineup, and the cheering continued throughout the night. There were chants of ”Serbia! Serbia!” Jokic felt right at home in Chicago.The 7-foot center had 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists on ”Serbian Heritage Night,” leading the Nuggets to a runaway 135-102 victory over the Bulls on Wednesday.

”The ovations, the fans, the people from Serbia did bring the flags,” Jokic said, ”I mean when Serbia is playing this is the atmosphere. Just imagine the whole arena is doing that. The whole Serbian population, people, love basketball.”

Denver shot 61.4 percent (51 for 83) from the field and had seven players score in double figures. Paul Millsap had 22 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes, and Wilson Chandler made five of the Nuggets’ 20 3-pointers on his way to 19 points.The Nuggets (39-33) led by as many as 46 while improving to 1-2 on a seven-game trip. They also pulled within 1 1/2 games of idle Utah for eighth in the Western Conference playoff race.

”Anytime on the road you’re able to build a 40-point lead, your guys are playing at a high level,” Denver coach Michael Malone said.

Jokic went 9 for 11 from the field and made each of his two 3-point tries. He called the warm reception ”really, really cool,” and his teammates also got a kick out of the Serbian contingent in the crowd of 20,671.

”It was a home game for him,” a grinning Millsap said. ”Definitely a home game for him. I see why he was feeling it out there.”

Cristiano Felicio scored 16 points for the Bulls (24-47), who have dropped four of five. Bobby Portis had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Noah Vonleh finished with 14 points.

”We are not coming out with any type of edge whatsoever, and we’re allowing teams to gain confidence in games, and it just goes downhill from there,” coach Fred Hoiberg said.

The Bulls played without Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine due to injuries, and veteran center Robin Lopez did not dress. Dunn has a right toe sprain, Markkanen has been bothered by lower back spasms and LaVine is out with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.LaVine (16.7 points per game), Markkanen (14.9) and Dunn (13.4) are the Bulls’ top three scorers after Nikola Mirotic was traded to New Orleans last month.

”When you lose, it hurts until midnight,” Portis said. ”Then, when midnight comes, you worry about the next game.”

The Nuggets opened a 33-23 lead on Jokic’s layup with 1:15 left in the first quarter and maintained a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game. Once a fast shooting start for the Bulls wore off, it was never in doubt.The lead ballooned to 20 for the first time on Chandler’s layup with 5:52 left in the first half. It got up to 30 when Jokic and Will Barton hit consecutive 3-pointers, making it 74-44 with 58.2 seconds remaining in the quarter.Jokic then made a slick pass to set up Jamal Murray’s three-point play, helping Denver to a 77-46 halftime lead. The Nuggets shot 68.3 percent (28 for 41) from the field in their highest-scoring first half of the season.The playoff race doesn’t mean very much for the lowly Bulls as the season winds down. It’s the results for the teams at the bottom of the standings that affect the Bulls in terms of positioning for their pick in the draft lottery.Antonio Blakeney had six points on 3-for-10 shooting after he was listed as questionable due to a left wrist sprain. … The Bulls made their first four 3-point attempts and finished 13 for 38 from beyond the arc. They went 3 for 30 from long range during Monday night’s 110-92 loss to the New York Knicks.

Flames edge Austin Peay. advance to TO CIT Semi-Finals

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CLARKSVILLE—UIC has advanced to the semifinals of the 10th CollegeInsider.com Tournament by knocking off Austin Peay in thrilling fashion Wednesday night, topping the Governors 83-81 at the Dunn Center.The Flames (19-15) trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half. The Governors (19-15) made one-of-two free throws with 10.4 seconds remaining to tie the game and called timeout to set up the defense. Godwin Boahen took the inbound pass from Tarkus Ferguson and dribbled across the timeline. He darted inside the arc and launched a jumper with 1.4 seconds remaining that propelled the visiting team to victory.Boahen, making his second straight start, was one of four Flames in double figures with 16 points. Ferguson led the squad with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists.It was the eighth consecutive road win for UIC, the most in program history. Wednesday’s victory marks the first time that the Flames have won at least 19 games in a single season since the 2003-04 campaign.UIC will play in the semifinals on Wednesday, March 28. The opponent and location will be announced soon.