A1 Summer 08 Preview

What Summer Drop Off?

Summer Drop off, what summer drop off?? We’ve got 10 teams back in action and sure, we’re missing some of the marque names, but rounds 2-4 were loaded with impact players that’s going to make this league stand out from all the others. No easy, sure-fire Brick for O’Cal, that’s a certainty, but the League is entirely up for grab.  The late rounds were definitely the most important, as benches are going to make and break championship hopes come playoff time.  Get on the message boards to vote on who you think will take home the Brick this season and to check out the pre-game lines every week!

1. Spiritual Sausage: Roache (c), Hitman, Wrobz, Floni, Derek Brown (r), Russell Grogett (r)
The Hitman returns with 2 other players that made the championship round last season, and they’re the odds on favorite for the Brick. Both Wrobz and Floni parlayed good seasons to jump 2 rounds higher than they were drafted last time around. The two late rounders are unknown in A1, but they’ll need to have an impact as most teams roll 6 deep. Or they may not need to, after all this is the team with clearly the best player in the league. Yes, I know, both Google and GP can argue that point, and they’ll get there chances to on the court this season. With the Hitman giving his stamp of approval for Wrobz as his number 2, could this, finally, be the season that he gets that elusive Brick??

2. Face Down clAss Up: O’Cal (c), Jeremy Gall, T’N’Tosti, Tim Spinney, Jim Kopriva, Paul Giardina (r)
You know what, I didn’t really like O’Cal’s draft, but there’s a reason that he always wins Bricks in the summer. And that’s because he makes everyone better. Gall and Tosti can each drop 20 beside him and Spinney’s selfless play will go a long way in keeping those two happy. Kopriva is the same kind of player, and with his first season of work under his belt, will look to expand his role on another contender. Will O’Cal’s last round pick be another sandbagger for him to rest his Brick hopes on??

3. JUGGernaut: AK 47 (c), Google, Brandon Dorey (r), Eric Hinton, John Fincke (r), James Bushell
As usual AK has put together a hell of a squad. He was thrilled that Googs was there for him at the number 2 pick and A2 standout Brandon Dorey will compliment him nicely. The Gunslinger and the Shepard round out a solid backcourt with a lot of depth that should give teams trouble this season. Fincke is the biggest question mark, if he can provide another rebounder to back up Google, these guys are going to be really, really tough to beat.

4. 6 For the 9s: Mike D (c), KO, BWad, Paul Z, Ed Guimaraes, Chris Harvey
Mike D brought back the core of last season’s team that showed up to every game (KO, Harvey) and seemed to really enjoy playing together despite their struggles. He’s added a steady point guard in BWad (who more importanly than anything, will find Mike D on the wing for 3s) and a deadly shooting guard in Paul Z. Zermani was definitely a steal in the third round, and if he doesn’t shoot his squad out of every game, he’ll be leading them to blowouts.

5. Passing Ruffians: Cheese (c), Billy Durbrow (r), Tom Madden (r), Zack Toth, Dan McGregor, Michael Younge (r)
I wasn’t sure of what to make of this team, so I put them right in the middle. Always dilegent, Cheese sniffed out a couple of impact rookies and didn’t hesitate to take them in the first two rounds. The first one has a name you may think you recognize. Former Women’s league MVP Callie Durbrow has gotten her younger brother involved. Fresh out of Johnson State, Billy will have an immediate impact. Tom Madden is a mystery to me, but I’m sure Cheese did his homework. The biggest question mark will be if Zack shows up every week to be their enforcer. If he does, these guys will go rocketing up the power poll.

6. Let’s Duet: Tibbs (c), MJ Dinh (r), Ryan Carrigg (r), Sam Quinn (r), Hinks, Yavor
Listen, I’ve been criticized often for ranking my teams too high, so I’m trying something different. I’m ranking it too low. Don’t worry, I’ve still got 2 other teams that I can rank way too high, but for A1, we’re mixing it up. It’s officially been 2 years since my first (and only) Brick, and that came in the summer as well, so it’s my time. Here’s hoping 2 guys (Dinh, Carrig) that have run roughshod all over the B1, an unknown rookie (Quinn – he’s tall), and two late round steals (Hinks, Yavor) can carry me to another.

7. Fogell: RoY (c), The Big Ticket, Chris Adams, Jamie Kennedy, Andy Kaz (r), XXX
I’m being a little harsh on the reigning GM of the Year, and it may be undeserved, but hear me out. Kurt was the logical pick in the first round, and Adams will provide some extra muscle on the inside to back him up. But the rest of the team are the same players! Kaz and Kennedy are both solid point guards, but will the be enough of a scoring threat? Both XXX and RoY are going to want to jack 3s on the fast break. Maybe Kahana just wanted to make sure he’d never have to run the point. There’s not late round sleeper for Kahana this season, and really, who’s going to play D on this team?? They’re going to run a lot of 3 or 4 guard sets this season, but we’ll see if that will translate into points, and then even victories.

8. Little Nasty: Raj (c), Tom Duncan (r), John Toranto (r), Greatest American Hero, Wayne Deats, Lappy
I underestimated Raj’s squad last season, and as a result I still owe him a night of drinking on yours truely. I hate to do it again, but I’ve got to. Can Duncan can carry the load and drop 30 a night as he did in A2 without guys he’s used to playing with? He is going to love that fact that Brady is willing to get out on the break with him. With both Raj and Brady in the paint to back up Duncan, this will be one of the better defensive teams. But missing their second round pick until July is really going to hurt this team. That means the later round guys are really going to have to pick up the slack.

9. Cat Fight: Serge (c), GP, BFrat, John Thompson (r), Ryan Burke, Montas Norgaisse (r)
Damn it I wanted to rank him last just for consistancy’s sake. But with GP making his return to Wall Ball Arena, and BFrat at his side, I just couldn’t. That doesn’t mean I think they’ll be at the top of the league however. Didn’t Fratelli go through this last season, having one guy who’s “The Man”, him as the #2 and who knows what behind him? 2 of Serge’s last 3 picks are unknown to anyone, and we’ll see if Serge has the good sense to make sure Burke is in the starting lineup. All in all a rough season for Serge’s boys, and we’ll see if they’re the ones Fighting like Cats by the end of the season.

10. Blood Sweat & Tears: Sweens (c), Phi Slamma Jamma, Vladi, Tim Beagan, MACHOOOO, Nim Cohen
Look, I hate to do this to Sweens, I really do, especially with Serge as a captain. At first I really liked his draft, he took known quantities, built around his first round draft pick, and picked up solid, dependable guys. The more I looked at it, the less convinced I became. I just don’t see a consistant, go-to scorer the likes of which every other team has. EBrown will make sure that the games stay in the low 60s on the defensive end, and Sweens can get to the hoop against anyone, but will they be able to keep pace in a run and gun league? They’re going to be relying on Macho and Nim to knock down most of their 3s I know that Vladi was the RoY last summer, but can he repeat that performance in a better league (aka, was he a reach in the second??)? If not, it’s going to be a long season for BS&T.