After Vance Refrigeration stunningly knocked off a pair of B1 North teams to take the Stick last season (in fact, just last week), the East has reloaded to try and keep it here. The Summer sessions usually create a lull (see A1), but not this time around. With a number of teams dropping out until the Fall, six new teams have stepped up to the plate to carry the load. Thatís right, half the teams, and over one-third of the players are brand spankiní new to the Wednesday night Madness. This makes the top teams hard to predict, but I think Iíve gotten it down. Unfortunately, with all the new teams, you get no snappy quotes and it means I had to do way too much research. Editors note: Not only did Tibbs pick Vance at # 1 last season, but nailed the MVP in the preseason. He knows what heís doing.
# 1 – CCSC
Who, you ask? With only two familiar names on the roster, thatís a good question, so how can they be ranked first? But my sources tell me
The new squad is made up of 5 guys who are all affiliated with the Community Charter School of Cambridge (hence, the CCSC name, check them out). I can promise you that each of them can play the game. Orin might, in fact, be coming off the bench on this squad. Oliver and Chris are sharp-shooting guards with speed and skill. Juma’s a legit big man and will draw the other team’s biggest player, freeing OG up for more post work. Caleb (aka Mr. Thing) you know about. Their biggest question mark will be attendance with summer traveling, etc, so they might still try to find a sixth.
I like it when I donít have to do the legwork and pretend to pay attention at a practice to watch the new guys play. But an All-Star like the Big O coming off the bench and playing next to a legit big that will free him up for more damage?? I have a feeling that these guys are going to be real good.
# 2 – Nappy Headed Bros
Tommy Kahana is determined to win every RoY award that he can. Ok, so heís not going to win it in the 5 on 5, but on the small court heís going for his third in a row. With Paul Z playing B2 this season, it opens the door for Tom to dabble in that league next season as well. But this team wonít be a one trick pony. The ROC, Mark Rocca, of B1 West fame, brings his weekly 20/10 games to devour the East. Roaming the paint beside him will be another big, and rookie, Kevin Barry. I donít know what else the other guys bring to the table, but thatís a solid foundation to build around.
# 3 – WCW
Time really does heal all wounds. Just a season after the Irate Ambassadors were torn apart, Sweeney and Vigneau have been accepted back into the fold. But not until they all attended a lengthy therapy session that featured plenty of name-calling, hugs, and tears. So why is a revamped Irate rated so high? What makes this team different? I do, thatís what. Until the playoffs roll around, I fully intend on giving a hefty boost to the Irate franchise. Am I overvaluing my contributions? Most definitely, but all the parts are here for a strong regular season run.
# 4 – Vance Refrigeration
This is certainly the lowest Iíve ever ranked a returning champ, but Vance has undergone a makeover of itís own in the off-season. Reigning MVP, PK has stepped away from the CRFC walls and left a hole at the top of Vanceís roster. The new guy will be expected to do big things, and with the limelight searching for a new star, Collin Vataha is sure to step up into that role. But will it be enough to keep Vance at the top of the league? With the way Devo played in the playoffs (Finals MVP for those with short term memory issues), one would think so. But until those playoffs rolled around, Devo was only 50/50 to show for a game. If that happens again this season, Vance will struggle to make the post season.
# 5 – Bubbles Depot
Ian Urquhart has taken the McAndrew Model of putting a team together and copied it nearly exactly. He will most certainly be the crutch that the rest of his guys lean on and be counted on to be the leading scorer. But what everyone wants to really know is if heíll bring back the 2 ñ 2 zone that made the Rusty Trombones so successful. Weíll have to wait until next week to find out, but these guys will be competitive and contend for a top spot.
# 6 – CTC
The team with the 2nd longest consecutive seasons played record is in turmoil. Pistol Pete Wilson is the lone founding member still getting his run in on Wednesday nights. Recent additions Eric Williams and Danny Fahey are both back to hold the team together through the summer and figure to get a few more shots per game with Katz MIA. Imported all the way from Colorado, the Nechev brothers (Yavor and Vladi) will give CTC a much needed boost this season. Sure there are three point guards on the team but Iím sure one of them will be more than happy to slide to the 2. With the new additions (I didnít even mention Kip West) CTC might have finally found a formula to get them to the East finals, a barrier theyíve been trying to knock down for a couple seasons now.
# 7 – NU Slackers
Another season, another Defensive MVP for Phi Slamma Jamma. The Sunday Night Crew is back in the 8PM time slot and will look to hold teams under 60 ppg yet again. Consistency on the offensive end is what will determine how far NU can make it in the post season. Playoffs?? You want to talk playoffs!? Well, theyíll have to qualify first, as they missed out based on a time breaker last season. Anyway, Jay Ryan and Mark Guidi are back to keep the offense going from the perimeter and can get it done week in and week out. But the key will be making Erik a more prominent part of the offensive end, as theyíll only go as far as the big guy in the middle will carry them. ìThrow it down big fella!î
# 8 – MFA Dream Team
After taking a couple seasons off, the boys from North Andover are back with a few adjustments to make a playoff run. Josh Rose and Bill Hewson return with a team ready to compete and knowing what to expect from the first whistle (and non-whistle) on out. These guys will be in good shape as Rose is a returning All-Star and Hewson came no strong in the second half of their season. But the key this season will be the new guys on the squad. Added to beef up the entire are three rookies getting their first taste of CRFC. The new comers that will be seeing a lot of time down on the block, and weíll be sure to get to know them better as the season progresses.
# 9 – Genzyme
The 16-man roster is back for tour through the B1 East. Perennial All-Star Mark Allyn will be looking for a core group of guys to show up every week and be competitive this season. However most of the guys seem more committed to the B2 squad then making a run at the Stick. Everything hinges on whom Mark can drag away from the office for their patented 5:30 PM games. Come on fellas, youíre right next door! Surely you can drag yourselves away for a scant hour.
# 10 – Beantown Brawlers
Itís been a rough couple weeks for Paul Z, and seeing his younger brotherís team ranked near the bottom of the preseason rankings isnít going to make it any better. I fully expect him to rig the 2v2 tournament this summer so I end up with Mike D. But this isnít about those guys. This is about a team of young 20 somethings looking to carve out a niche in the increasingly crowded CRFC basketball world. Good luck fellas and welcome to CRFC, or CAC, or Wall Ball Arena, whatever you want to call it.
# 11 – The Squad
Ok I lied; I almost did all the research necessary. Yet somehow these guys got overlooked? Iím sure theyíll make me pay for my oversight and you can probably expect a team profile at some point down the road. Seriously, Iíll even do write-ups this season.