After nearly a yearlong hiatus, the A2 (or Premier League, as it’s being called in some circles) is back and, like every other league this season, better than ever. A few of the top B1 East teams and a few new ones make for a stacked league where there are no games that can be circled as an automatic win. Instead, each Wednesday is going to feature 3 great games that will be all about survival and trying to eek out a close win. With no team that stands head and shoulders above the rest, expect these rankings to be completely wrong come the end of the season.
- Cambridge Medical – Just because I don’t know any of these guys doesn’t mean theyíre not the best team in the league. According to my source this team is loaded. Brian Scuffenbil, 6’5″, played as Umass Lowel, is their go-to guy. The Brickman brothers are apparently each 6’7″ and will dominate the paint. Team captain Tim Hoffman has had his guys playing together for a long time, and this group of ringers will come into the league expecting to win.
- OFF – They dominated the B1 East in the regular season, but can they be nearly as good the second time around? Theyíve been scouted, but has anyone been able to find a weakness in their game? With Chris Williams in the middle, match-ups will be a problem all season for their opponents. Parks is going to hound opposing point guards, but he may need to step up his offensive game this season. If the rest of the guys on the perimeter continue to play at the same level, Off will challenge for the championship.
- Little Nasty – After an offseason of turmoil that saw the departure of perennial All-Star Mike Manning to the A1, Jpro’s transformation into Grant Hill, and Zarmon forming his own 5 on 5 team, things looked bleak. But it all came together at the last possible minute. ‘White Wine’ Raj Singh agreed to anchor the frontcourt and a late commitment from Trevor McAndrew just may have saved the season. It may take LN 2.0 a couple weeks to mesh, but when they do it’s going to be a sight to behold. This squad is very versatile, thanks to Brady and Edwards’ ability to slide into any position on the court, and with Trevor filling the stat sheet, anything is possible.
- Mike D & The Funky Bunch – This team is huge! With Erik ‘Phi Slamma Jamma’ Brown and Statey Steve O’Connell patrolling the paint, it’s going to next to impossible to get a clean shot up over this squad. Both bigs have great touch around the basket and have flashed deadly midrange jumpers but will they be able to mesh on the court at the same time? With the Born Gamer (Sartori) and Ethan Chang in the backcourt, the threeís are going to fall from all directions. Mike D will bring all the intangibles, including the keys to the bar, but is their bench deep enough to hang in the league?
- Pino Colonic – This is the most intriguing team in the whole league, and maybe CRFC. It’s a very diverse and unique collection of talent, and it will take some time for each player to figure out his role. The Greaser brings Nip Jethi and Derek Zundl up from his B1 squad, but then it starts to get interesting. Ian Olmstead can rebound and will be a great compliment to Nip while running the break. Then, two new guys will make their CRFC debut. Jason Perry, a 6 foot big man who bangs down low will join Matt Lynch, a 6’6″ shooting guard, on the team. Dave is going to have to see how his players mesh, as each player seems to be able to crack the starting lineup. Opponents will get headaches trying to figure out how to guard everyone on this squad. Itís going to be all about chemistry for these guys, and if the donít find it, the season will seem incredibly long. But if they do, theyíll finish much better than 5th heading into the playoffs.
- Kool Aid – I just don’t see it happening this season for Kool Aid. Sure theyíre the holders of the Stick, but that was last season. Mazzone and Finn are still going to be a dynamic duo, but has Employee #8 gotten his stroke back in the off-season?? The next biggest question is the status of the role players. Are they as hungry now that they have a championship in their name (and maybe a banner one day, if we get on that). Chris Adams has gotten better with every passing season, but heís really going to need to take it to another level this time. He and Fred ìLighthouseî Bermont may have a tough time defending the paint against some of the bruisers that are in the league now. Whitney and Avarett are going to have to work their tails off and make sure to do all the little things while on the court if Kool Aid wants to compete in this league.
- Rapid Fire – Only the third O’Connell brother (Chris) is the only known quantity here, and tha’ís why this team is ranked last. In such a tough league theyíll have to work hard to earn wins and the respect of their opponents. Good luck fellas.