Season Winds down for WCB

By Colin Mieczkowski 

The Windy City Bulls season is coming to a close and we have had the opportunity to witness players from the Chicago Bulls come to the D-League and show off their skills. Among the key contributors from the parent club included Paul Zipser, Jerian Grant, Bobby Portis, and the latest, Cameron Payne.  

Zipser and Grant specifically were regulars, playing more than two games for the squad throughout the season. One of the shining moments for Windy City came from Grant, who hit a buzzer-beating shot on Dec. 9 against the Canton Charge.  

In that game, Grant would drop 20 points and dish out eight assists with the game-winner being the final blow. Bobby Portis also had his big moment with Windy City, dropping 32 points against the Westchester Knicks on Jan. 6.  

Denzel Valentine also had his shot with the WCB, where he broke the single game three-point record with eight. Eventually, former D-League 3-point shootout champion Jarell Eddie would take over that spot.  

Almost every time a player from Chicago is called down to play for Windy City, the team wins. This shows how important it is to bring young talent down to the D-League.  

Not only does this develop skills, but it also makes Windy City that much better. It was also long overdue for Chicago to have a D-League squad.  

Players who get called down don’t have to go far to get to the Sears Centre located in Hoffman Estates, IL. With guys coming up and down, it’s an easy trip, with what is normally a roller coaster life.  

It has also helped players such as Grant, normally known for his ability to drive to the basket, deepen his offensive skills. In the month of February, Grant shot 48% from behind the three-point line for Chicago.  

This is something the NBA Bulls needed, especially after parting ways with Doug McDermott, one of the team’s best three point shooters. Giving young players a chance to develop will be huge for the organization in the future, making the addition of Windy City a great fit.  

Portis, who was given the opportunity to really shine for Windy City, gave credit to the D-League team for his development.  

“It was fun being down there to get some reps so I can come back” Portis said. “Everyone embraced me and let me do my thing and I had a great time”.  

Portis said this during a night where he had 17 points on an amazing 72% shooting from the floor including grabbing 11 boards. Although the Bulls would lose the game against the Philadelphia 76ers, he was one of the young players that shined.  

Coach Nate Loenser, who has gotten his first head coaching opportunity, has done a solid job with a roster that constantly changes. Portis gave praise to the former Bulls video coordinator.  

“It was great, I’ve known him for two years now” Portis said. “He was our video guy last year, and in the Summer League he had the chance to coach us too so I had a great feel for him and I think he’ll be a great coach for them (WC Bulls)”.  

No doubt that the young Loenser (37) has become popular with his players. When the team is in the huddles, and as Loenser draws up his plan, player chatter stops, and everyone stops to listen to him.  

He’s a player’s type of coach, and that bodes well for players coming down from Chicago. And his ability to be able to coach both young and experienced talent is remarkable, and is a big reason why, when players come down from the NBA, they help Windy City win games.  

It’s always exciting to watch young players develop, and with the Windy City Bulls right at the Sears Centre, it gives local fans a chance to witness future stars. The Windy City Bulls close out the season Saturday, April 1st, tip-off is at 7pm.  

Don’t forget that you can listen to the game and read up about the squad on the official radio home of Windy City Bulls basketball, SportsTownChicago.com. You can follow Colin Mieczkowski on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio

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