5 on 5 Fall 2006 Preview

It’s what every team has been waiting for since the Justice League finished off the inaugural season with a playoff run so incredible and filled with upsets, that even Disney would have rejected the script as unbelievable.  The Charlestown 5 on 5 League is back!  Unlike most Hollywood sequels the second season is primed to be even better this time around, with better teams, better story lines and renewed rivalries.  There are no more gimmies on the schedule as each returning team has gotten better, and the new guys on the block are to be feared.  The Good King will be taking over the biweekly power rankings, but until that starts back up, you’re going to have to be satisfied with this preview.  As always, running commentary is greatly appreciated, and if you don’t like your team’s ranking, you’re going to have to go something about it, on the court.  On then, to the List!

1.  Five Knuckle Shuffle – With no clear cut favorite and a league so stacked, last season’s runnerups (first losers) are going to start the season ranked at the top.  Two new faces will make their CRFC debut, as Rich Wesoctt and Kevin Ostrander have been added to the team.  When asked about the new additions to his team, the always raucous OD only had this to say, “with Rich and Kevin, in essence, we grabbed two Chise Killers.”  How the two new guys replace the departed Jean Bain and offset the defection of Brian Skerry to rival Stackpole is just one of the issues facing FKS.  Tyson Nargassans may only see limited action this Fall, and that means more of a prominant role for Jay Sartori, who has yet to flash his 4 on 4 clutchness on the fullsized court.

2.  Stackpole – This is the team that probably did the most to help itself in the offseason.  After a stellar regular season, they lost in the playoffs thanks to Ripley’s Rainbow, but have added two new parts to the mix.  Ryan Reilly, at 6’8″ is Stackpole’s answer for Steve O’Connell.  Then, to top if off, after scouts were on hand to watch Skerry’s spectacular play in the Finals, representives immediately signed him to a long term contract.  Paired with Toglia, if healthy after sitting out last season, the duo should be one of the best in the league this time around.  The new pieces may put Stackpole over the top this season, and aided by the deepest bench in the entire league the Chise and Wolverine have a ton of firepower to work with.

3.  Charlestown – We all know what they can do.  The Gallagher brothers shoot lights out and hustle for rebounds.  Nick Smith can shoot lights out and gets at it on defense.  Joe Fitzpatrick and Ian Uraquhart shoot lights out, and, sensing a pattern here??  But a team that’s always spectacular in the regular season has some work to do if they want to get over the hump in the playoffs.  After last season’s dissapoint flameout, there was talk of a major overhaul and even the possiblity of the team being disbanned.  Instead, we get the exact same team, with the addition of one Jamie Mastro.  Is he the key to keeping Charlestown’s high octane offensive going in the postseason, or will there be another disappointed and premature ending to their season?

4.  FTR – CNGI has reinvented themselves and transformed into FTR (Fuck The Refs) after last season’s playoff controversy.  But really, is it the refs fault that CNGI only went 2 of 6 down the stretch at the free throw line (and 9 of 18 overall)?? I don’t think so, but FTR comes into the season with a huge chip on their collective shoulder, and something to prove.  Another team that was revamped in the offseason, adding two unknowns named Fali and Al Robinson.  No information has been made public about these guys, but here’s betting that they’re an upgrade over Jason Smith and Jon Greene, who have been cut.  As alwasys, the team’s composure is going to be called into question when the going gets tough, but if StarChild and Tree Rollins can find a way to keep these guys in line, they’re going to make another play for the Championship.

5.  The Has Beens – Immediately following last season’s playoff loss and a suprising 5-5 record over the regular season, the Has Beens identified their team weaknesses and made plays to fill the holes.  Shooting and quickness were never a problem last season, in fact the spectacular 3 point shooting from Clancy, the Arcieros and Dennis Ingram are what allowed the Has Beens to pull off a few near upsets.  Instead, size was the one thing that was lacking.  Brent Carbone (gone via free agency) and returning big Tim Riley always hustled after rebounds, but had their hands full with some of the bigger teams.  Enter offseason aquisitions Sean Quigley and Tibbs, both 6’3″, into the mix, and the Has Beens hope their most pressing needs have been filled adequately enough to stay competitive every single game.  Going up against some of the 6’6″+ guys might still be an adventure, but the Has Beens are equiped to knock some teams off, again.

6.  The Usual Suspects – Serge has done a lot of legwork this season to put together a team that will be competitive in such a deep league.  A number of familiar faces are on this roster, and a few unknowns as well, led by Paul Bilodeau, a 6’2″ point guard who played DI and overseas for 2 years.  The roster is loaded with scorers, Jrod and Trevor are the headliners, but the always deadly Mike Roache and Cheese will benefit from the extra attention the others draw. Mix Tape Turin is joined by the 6’10” Sean Walsh who will definitely be able to help him out in the paint.  Big men are going to especially critical to a team’s success this season, and Serge has got his bases covered, but will just the two of them be able to stay healthy and productive the entire season?  Serge going to have to do his best Phil Jackson impersonation, however, as numerous egos are going to have to be held in check for them to be successful this season.

7.  BMFs – That’s right, there is a completely new team ranked ahead of the defending champs.  The Bad Motha Fuckas are going to be as tough and good as their name suggests.  They’re not going to be as big as everyother team,l but they have the shooters and hustlers to go toe to toe with everyone.  Team captain Z is the only guy that has graced the floor of CRFC on a number of occasions, and had this to say about his squad, “You know, we’re gonna be tough to beat, we’re not the biggest, but we’re fast, we can shoot, we bang, and we’re looking forward to the season.”

8.  Justice League – How fast the mighty fall.  As soon as you make it to the top, everyone wants to rip you down, even the guys that thought you’d be on the top in the first place.  One of only two teams that did absolutely nothing in the offseason, the Justice League is fully intact to defend the Belt.  Only the games will determine whether or not that’s a good thing, as the JL struggled in the regular season last time, before getting hot at the exact right moment.  This season, they had better be careful, or they may not even qualify for the postseason, that’s right I said it.  If, however, each guy plays like he did in the playoffs, especially GP who found a whole new gear when it mattered most, the Justice League will have a chance to repeat.

9.  Vitale – Returning most of the guys from a 2-7 team doesn’t usually seem like the best idea, but Vitale is going to make it work.  After finishing out the regular season winning their last 2 games and sneaking into the playoffs, the core of the team is ready for a drastic jump forward.  But is it enough to compete on a weekly basis?  Mark Ruggiero is the leader heading into the season, and the big guy can flat out shoot, or post you up.  Doesn’t matter, he’s going to find a way to score.  If the guys around him, notably Mike Landenberger, Kevin McCarthy and Michael Smith continue to improve on last season’s numbers towards the end of the season, they’re going to be just fine.

10.  FDH 1V – I don’t even know what the name means, let alone anything about the guys on the roster.  So I can’t fairly rank the team, and have no choice but to put them on the bottom.  That doesn’t mean this is where they’re going to stay.  A few guys that played D3 ball are loitering on the rosters, and they’re going to look to get the drop on teams that don’t know what to expect when they take the court.