A1 Fall 08 Preseason Preview

There’s only one C.A.C.

And here we go – another A1 draft is in the books and we’ve got another great season on our hands.  As we say every season, this is the best A1 league we’ve had in some time!!  Actually it very well could be, as these rankings were ridiculously hard to come up with, it was tough to seperate out the teams from one another.  Without my usual crutch to lean on, ranking Serge last, I actually had to do a bit of thinking and research.  Not too much mind you, I wouldn’t want to give the impression that I’m trying too hard.  As for these rankings, I’ve got the baseball playoffs on the brain this week with the Sox doing everything possible to choke away their chance at the division and avoiding the Angels in the first round.  As a result, you’re getting this breakdown MLB playoffs style.

As usual, head to the message boards to tell me how wrong I am about your team’s ranking or to sing my praises…either way is fine with me.  http://www.crfcbasketball.com/phpBB2/index.php

Divisional Leaders

Hanzo Steel
GM: Adam “The Rattling AK” Kneeland – Pick # 2
All-Stars: Chris Kerr, ICU
Supporting Cast: Dan MacGregor, AK, James “The Shepard” Bushell
Unknown Rookies: Matthew Levine
Breakdown: How can the best starting four in the entire league not be ranked at the top of the preview??  With Chris Kerr fired up to play A1 this season, AK got a steal at the # 2 pick in the draft.  ICU continues to be underrated and once again every captain passes on him in the first round.  Paired with Kerr, he’ll be able to get any shot he wants from the perimeter with defenses so focused on the paint.  With Macgregor running the point and Levine the wing, like I said above, this is the best starting four in the L.  You may not have seen Levine play the lunch time pickup runs, but I have, and getting him in the fourth round was an absolute steal (another one) for the Good King.  The bench obviously will have its question marks with the Good King drafting The Shepard, but if those two can step up and ensure minimal drop off, Hanzo Steel is the team to beat for the Fall 08 season.

Boston Harborists
GM: Mike Roache – Pick # 4
All-Stars: Billy Durbrow, Kurt “The Big Ticket” Knepshield
Supporting Cast: Tom Madden, Roache, Eric Hinton, Derek Brown
Unknown Rookies: None
Breakdown: With his usual crutch to lean on (The Hitman) Roache paired old with new this season.  Billy Durbrow is coming off of what most observers agreed was the real RoY season and he’s motivated to continue to wreck havoc.  Paired with the Big Ticket, this squad is going to be tough to guard in the paint.  But there always has to be balance, so Roache made sure to compliment his bigs with a number of quality guard.  Besides himself, there’s Tom Madden, Eric Hinton, and his brother Derek Brown.  Madden and Durbrow played really well together last season, but Madden will need to both shoot and show up on a more consistant basis for the Harborists to be really successful this season.  I like the combos of the big and smalls, and this team, at least right now, to me, as a whole lot of balance that’s going to make it dangerous.

Machoooo Madness – Pick # 1
GM: Chris “Machoooo” Machado
All-Stars: Jason Gallagher, Billy “Bad Bowler” Fratelli
Supporting Cast: Tim “The Bald One” Spinney, Hinks, Macho, Nim Cohen
Unknown Rookies: None
Breakdown: Despite both JGall and BFrat publicly scratching their heads on the message boards about this squad, I think both guys like where they’re at.  JGall was the surprise #1 overall pick as Macho insisted he had a plan all day long.  Apparently he got all his guys, as BFrat was once again disrespected and passed over by yours truly, so still there for Macho in the 2nd round.  With a Brick in hand, the demand for all things TSpin shot through the roof, and Macho nabbed him before anyone else had a chance.  Out from under O’Cal’s shadow, he has the chance to be a leader on the floor and in the locker room.  Not that we’re going to want to know what BFrat and TSpin actually do in the locker room..  This team is rounded out with some solid guard play, as Hinks, Macho, and Nim will provide a revolving door of defense, three point shooting and loud verbal outburts any time they feel like they mess up.  This is a solid squad that will surprise a number of people on the court.  As a first time captain Macho went the smart route, getting only guys he knew, not taking any chances on any rookies, and wound up with a steal in Nim in the last round.  They might not look as impressive as the top 3 teams ahead of them on paper, but these guys will do damage.  Plus, I’m just pumped to see this team play so I can resume yelling MACHOOOO!!! from the balcony.
Weapon X
GM: Brandon “The Ragin’ Bull” Dorey – Pick # 7
All-Stars: Tommy “RoY” Kahana, The Ragin’ Bull
Supporting Cast: Zack “Superboy” Toth, Chris “CAC’s DrunkDriving Advocate” Adams, Josh Finke
Unknown Rookies: Ryan Carroll
Breakdown: Even though Dorey went small with his first pick (RoY) he still got a couple quality bigs later in the draft with Superboy and Adams.  But both the bigs have spotty attendance records, and if they fail to show up 40% of the time, about their track record, Weapon X could plummet to the bottom of these rankings. Seriously, this is the smallest team on paper, and if one of their bigs doesn’t show every week, I have no idea how they’re going to guard some of the bigger teams in this league.  But as Tommy K has proven in the past, his teams don’t need to play no stinkin’ defense!!  Seriously, these guys are going to need to outgun everyone, and they have the horses to do it.  The Ragin’ Bull and TK will be good for 50+ a game.  IF Superboy consistently shows up, another 15/15 season is a possibility out of him.  Then it comes down to the wild card Carroll, and how much Adams and Finke can produce.  I like this squad, but it may take them a couple weeks to iron out the kinks.
Wild Cards
Hot Breaths
GM: Jason “Junk In the Trunk” Tibbetts – Pick # 10
All-Stars: Mike “MJD” Dinh, Mike “The Hefty Lefty” Sweeney
Supporting Cast: Tibbs
Unknown Rookies: Kariuki Thande, Ryan Pierce, Jeremy Grandberry
Breakdown: As usual, yours truly took a pair of established CAC gunners and a multitude of unknown rookies.  In fact, other than Mixtape, I’ve got the most rookies on my squad.  Kariuki is a rookie in the A1 sense, but I’ve seen him shred my team up in B5v5 and decided that I absolutely had to have him this season.  He’s going to provide fresh legs off the bench and be instant offense from the point position, giving Dinh and Sweens quality break time.  Pierce, who has played some quality pickup over the last couple weeks and Jeremy Grandberry will definitely be wildcards.  If they don’t show or don’t play well, this team is doomed.  Until we find out more about them, the M & Ms (Dinh & Sweeney) will be relied upon heavily to score and play a whole lot of defense.  Everyone knows that I’ll play decently until the playoffs roll around, so if the rest of the guys can pick it up then, the Hot Breaths could, could, make some noise.

The Killer Rabbits of Caerbanogg
GM: The League Offices – Pick # 5
All-Stars: Tom Duncan, Jeremy Gall
Supporting Cast: Cheese, Tim “The Greatest American Hero” Brady, XXX
Unknown Rookies: Mario Casal
Breakdown:  Once again, there weren’t quite enough captains to have a full contingent picking sides.  What’s wrong with you people, don’t you know how much fun it is to draft your own team?? Or are you too worried about the ridicule you’ll take for not drafting the right pieces?? We had 3 new time captains, and none of them are ranked below this spot here.  Shouldn’t that teach you guys a lesson?  As is the policy with all teams drafted by the League Offices, the strategy is to simply pick the best player available. After randomly determing that Brady was the right guy to stick in the 5 spot (ask the Commish!) most of the picks were no brainers.  Duncan, check, Jeremy Gall @ 15?!?!?, CHECK!!  Toss in Cheese in the third round, and this team’s starting four is filled with CAC vets.  Cheese especially is going to provide the steady hand on offense that will set the pace for this squad.  His regular season run in the Summer rocketed his status in the predraft rankings, and paired with the Top Dog, these guys are going to be tough to beat.  Jeff “XXX” Hendricks and newcomer (to A1) Mario Casal will provide a heavy dose of 3 point shooting off the bench.  If they get hot for any streches of the season, these guys will be tough to hang with, but they’ll need to know when to reel it in when the shots aren’t falling.  Overall, this squad is well-balanced and should finish above .500 on the season with the chance to knock off one of the division leaders in the playoffs.

GM: Chris “Cake&Sprinkles” Harvey – Pick # 3
All-Stars: Chris “Majic” Maciejczak, Matt Wrobel
Supporting Cast: Tim Beagan, Matt Wolfe, Kaif Thompson, C&S
Unknown Rookies: None
Breakdown: Like most first time captains, C&S made sure to take guys that he knew or at least heard of for his first draft.  Guys that had played in the league before The more I look at this team, the more I like it.  AK probably thinks I’m crazy for that statement, but hear me out.  They’ve got 2 certified go-to scorers in Majic and Wrobz and a great supporting cast.  Matt Wolfe was a great pick in the second round, he’s the guy that is going to do all the little things to help his team win, no matter his role on offense.  But given the change, Wolfe will drop 20 on your head, so opposing defenses better not overlook him.  Tim Beagan and Kaif Thompson are great on the ball defenders that will make this squad absolutely impossible to score on.  With Wolfe as well, most of the top scorers in the league are going to be shut down.  But their season will all come back to the play of the Majic Man.  Coming off of ‘successful’ surgery if his knee holds up these guys shoot up the rankings.  But if his J is inconsistant, and he can’t muscle guys down low in the post, it will be a long season for Trickeration.
Sensational Fellacio
GM: Sean “Ticallion Stallion” O’Callaghan – Pick # 9
All-Stars: Ian “T’N’T” Tosti, Danny Salazar, O’Cal
Supporting Cast: Sam Quinn, Floni, Paul Giardina
Unknown Rookies: None
Breakdown: I didn’t really like O’Cal’s draft last season, and he turned that squad into a Brick.  Heck he even got to destroy my process in the Finals to put the icing on the cake.  But just another season later, and I’m looking at another head scratcher.  In the first round, he could have went with Jeremy Gall, but instead made sure he’d get T’N’Tosti and took him at #9.  Nothing wrong with that, and I’m not one to questions O’Cal’s drafting motives, but what gives man?? He could have come as close as anyone to bringing back the defending champs, but choose to mix it up instead.  O’Cal always gets Salazar in the second round,   Nabbing Quinn and Floni late ensures that Sensational Fellacio (how many times can I get away with typing this name out??) won’t be too small in a fairly big league.  SQuinn will anchor the D with his 2nd in the league 2.4 blocks per game and one has to assume Salazar will resume his Bruce Bowen like role on the defensive end.  But is there enough strength and size for this squad to be successful?  Once again I’m doubting O’Cal’s managerial skills, but I’m sure he’ll just use their current ranking as a motivational tool for his squad.

Better Luck Next Year?

The Bizlats
GM: Mike “Mixtape” Turin – Pick # 6
All-Stars: Derek Gallagher
Support Cast: Mixtape
Unknown Rookies: Everyone else -Donnie Domoresky, James Allen, John Logan, Tim O’Shea
Breakdown: I know, I know, I did this the last time that Mixtape drafted DGall in the first round and they ended up winning the Brick.  But the supporting Cast for that squad was ICU (who put up MVP type numbers), Mike Davis (RoY runner up), Machoooo, and JMI.  This time, it doesn’t look nearly so good (no offense fellas) as this team doesn’t even feature a other single player that has ever stepped foot into Wall Ball Arena.  The only one I know anything about is Tim O’Shea, who tore up the B League 5v5 last season, but that was when he showed.  Will he be a consitent presence this season?  I’ve heard good things from a couple sources about Donnie Domoresky, but until I see how he adapts to Wall Ball Arena with my own eyes, you can Call me Doubting Thomas.  James Allen and John Logan are going to have to either be really, really good, or Mixtape will have needed to stike gold with his other picks.  As with most teams that are picked near the bottom of my seasonly rankings, Turin will be sure to pass this on to his squad for motivational purposes.

High Speed DSL

GM: Kevin “KO” Ostrander
All-Stars: KO, Jim Rahill
Supporting Cast: Tim Burke, Mike D,
Unknown Rookies: Chris “Max Volume CD” Davis, Patrick Titta
Breakdown:  BFrat learned the hard way last season that you can win in the regular season with a 2 man offensive show, but it gets really, really tough in the post-season.  That may be a hard lesson that KO and Rahill learn this season.  Both guys are absolutely unguardable at their position by anyone else in the league.  They should both average 25 points a game no problem, but what will the rest of the supporting cast do?  Max Volume CD will have to come up big, as he was a surprise 2nd round draft pick.  He’s played in the B1 for a couple season and his abrasive demeanor definitely rubs opponents the wrong way.  But he might just bring in the attitude that this teams needs to be competitive.  KO then drafted a couple more of his buddies, Burke and Mike D to jack 3s, and Titta is the great unknown with the great name.  Two-Trick Ponies can win blue ribbons for a little while, but one of these other guys is going to have to step up big time for this team to contend for the Brick.