Time for the most anticipated preview this season. I know that b/c you vultures havenít stopped e-mailing me and posting on the boards, bitching about where it is. By far, this has to be the most stacked A1 league that we have ever seen and I am just as excited for the start of this season as I was when I found out Rosie OíDonnell was going to be a co-host of The View. Here they are and obviously with out your man seeing everyone play before, I am judging a lot of these top players on speculation.
1. Buddy Lee: With Ramon drafting chemistry and the simple fact that if I put him anywhere else on this list he will make it his goal to drop 60 on me, I had to put his team up top. Chris Williams is a beast in the paint, but there whispers of over-rated. Seeing him play, I am not bold enough, even with my reputation for being an internet tough guy, to say that about him. Ramon is quite possibly the best guard in the league and with Salazarís 3-point threat/ Roacheís all around intelligence and game, this looks like a tough starting 4 to match up with. Plus, look at their bench. You donít lose a single thing when Rookie of the year Ian Olmstead and the original A1 livewire, Mike Kaup enter the game.
2. CTU: Adam Kneeland joins the CRFC front offices and A1 captainship reigns this season and he drafted like he had been doing this for 6 yrs. Actually, for the draft, he did research, had a laptop ready to go and had several mock drafts already done up. As compared to someone who has been doing this for 6 yrs, couch, me, cough, with my blank piece of paper and constant look like, ìWho is Trevor McAndrew?î But anyways, Adam has the talent to run away with this league. No matter what league he is in, Trevor McAndrew will be an MVP candidate and Jon Fass could be the best defensive player in the gym. Mike Manning and Dirty were steals late in the draft and the bench of the Medicine Man, Mike Quinn and Tom Biggins are offensive sparks that can put it in the hoop if not closely guarded.
3. Pimp Hand: The sergen will look to get back to the finals this year with the same nerve center that got him there last season, Al Smooth. Despite his questionable attitude when he gets rattled, Al is a phenomenal scorer and one of the toughest guys to match up with. But the question is, has he recovered from Mike Turinís inhumane stuff from the All Star game that sent Al seeking therapy to forget the whole ordeal right after the game. Ramon tells me Al still wakes up screaming ìNot the face!î when he has nightmares about that stuff. Luckily, Al has a terrific supporting cast with The Preacher (who will be a guest in Ticalís Corner this season) and my man Kevy Kev running the point. White Wine, Raj Singh is the perfect defensive complement to this squad and will balance off the team quite nicely. Shea Olemade coming off the bench is a big lift for them on the boards and could make a difference in a game or two.
4. Sex Panthers: Captain Albino or Tibbs as he is known to the CRFC community, when he isnít at the beach deflecting the suns horrible UV rays from unsuspecting swimmers, is down at CRFC drafting teams that win bricks. This season, he took the big man, Kareem Benjamin, who from what I hear can ball and is a one man wrecking crew. Throw in Ian Tostiís 3 point shooting to make a sensational inside out game. Mike Sweeney and Demtrius Warren are almost unknowns here, but if anyone did their homework, they would know that these two guards are tough as nails and can drop 20 faster that I can strike out with a lady at the upcoming League Nite Out in late Sept. The Macho Man and Haas coming off the bench each bring their own flare and intangible assets to the team, which will be invaluable down the stretch.
5. Gang Green: Mark Allyn comes back to the A1 scene with a team that could possibly be a surprise if Josh Brown is the premier player that everyone seems to think he is. There are whispers that he was the overall best player in the draft and if he slid to Markís fifth pick, then shame on all you reasearching laptop boys in the war room draft. Throw in the B1-east All-Star Snub (Tibbs we still donít forget that) Ed Finn to average 25 a game to complement Josh, and lets not forget Kevin ìBunyonî Walsh, whose court savvy and defensive presence are always effective. Two of the best team mates you can have, Tim Brady and Tom Covert will be coming off the bench which means bad news for other teams looking to snag rebounds away from these two, not to mention Bradyís patented 10-ft jumper.
6. Passing Ruffians: Again, just like Gang Green, if Tim Deihl is as good as everyone seems to think now, Cheese might have to be arrested for stealing him so late in the first round. Word on the street is this cat can ball, but I donít believe anything until its on the internet or in the National Inquirer. Hey, look, Katie Holmes is really a manÖ.I knew it! Cruise is gay! I knew that too! But any who, Gary Fisher can step up now that he Al isnít holding him back and Eric Hinton and Neild Montgomery are long time veterans with solid game. Andrew Floyd will look to come off the bench and fill in some serious minutes with his ability to scrap.
7. Johnny Cakes: GP and the born gamer, Jay Sar on the same team and theyíre ranked 7th??? Címon Tical, right? Unfortunately, this is the way I see it playing out. My boy John Edwards got himself a solid contending team that will make the playoffs, and guess what, thatís when GP will turn it up and thatís when this team has a chance to win it. But in the regular season, this is where they fall. Edwards stole my enforcer Matt West, who is this leagueís Charles Barkely. No, he isnít a chronic gambler or running for Governor of Alabama, but West is the undersized forward that his ferociousness and in your face attitude make him the most feared player in the league. With this being the first season in 4 yrs that I wont be playing with him, I know there are people that are going to be taking shots at me in the hole now that I lost my right hand man. Matt Wolfe and Matt Connetta are solid all around players off the bench, but donít get excited with this team until GP and Jay Sar turn it up in the playoffs.
8. Stumbling Home: The funny thing is that Turin wasnít drunk for the draft, or at least that drunk. He got great individual players with a top 5 player in J-Rod and Tom Kahana is solid from what I hear, but who is bringing the ball up on this team. A point guard is desperately needed to be successful in this league. Check out the banners that donít say McMahon on them and tell me Iím lying. They will be tough, donít get me wrong, especially the way John Smith has been playing in pick up, but the offense will be out of whack. Dart Dainer is a great defensive lift coming off the bench for them, but expect them to barely stumble into the playoffs. That was either a really great or really cheesey line but I have to get to class in 10 minutes so what do you expect.
9. Blue Balls: Ok so ranking my team #1 last season wasnít the brightest ideas, but this season I am amped to play with this cast. Josh Piekarski is a Tim Brady look a like, that scores like an Al Smooth score a like and the Big Ticket Kurt Knepshield is back in shape. The huge question is Nuwoe Goteh, who could make or break the season if the player profile does him justice. Mr Socks, Erik Swift and CRFCís anti-drunk driving spokesman Chirs Adamís make up the best bench in the league with their unique styles and ability to do it all.
10. Time Bomb High: The Greaser keeps on coming up with the greatest names, however, I see the end result for this teamÖ.not so great (Prove me wrong, I am inspiration). Mazzone is a top 5, but after Tibbsí ripping of him, the shot hasnít been falling. Erik Brown is a premier defender and with Hinkel and big man Bryan McMakin in the fold, this team will be tough, but will struggle if Mazzone canít carry the offense. Kenny Rivera is a livewire off the bench and will be a boost, but I see offensive struggles when teams key on Mazzone.