Welcome to the C League Awards Show! I think this might even be the inaugural C League Awards Show as someone with red hair, that claims a fictitious title of President, and likes to nominate himself for GM of the Year Awards (??) failed the C League over, and over, and over, and over.
No worries – I’m here to give the C League back the respect it deserves. Working class citizens trying to keep up with the youngsters in the A and B Leagues and proving this season that the C League was not our average corporate league. In fact, in the four years I’ve been trolling the CAC – this was by far the most competitive, most exciting, and most talented C League by far.
I went back to Week 7 – about the midway break – when I posted the front-runners for the awards and so much has changed. Injuries played a large role in the awards, XJV found a new second gear (until the last week of the season), just as Commitment was becoming a contender – they fell apart for a three-week binge and then walloped the Grand Nationals in dramatic fashion stealing the #3 seed from the Nationals and avoiding the sleeping giant Genzyme, who happens to be the defending champion from the Winter Season.
Last week – Tibbs and I created a monster of a blog since the B2 West did not get any coverage all year long. At least I was catering to the C League with some humor and some Vegas Lines but the B2 West was left high and dry until last weekís 14-page blog that could have killed even the most avid reader. Feel free to take a gander on the message boards for a hilarious look into the B2 West:
Ok, ok – I admit – I can be long winded – but in the end, if it is not entertaining then I’m not doing my job. I found it was pretty easy to pick the first team All C-League this season. The B2 West Awards were very similar as the “cream o’ the crop” really stood out this year. The only issue I had – and will have throughout this Awards Night – is how to justify nominating my own team members (Genzyme) or actually NOT nominating them when they should be getting some gold. Last season – Nate Bachtell was the MVP of a championship season but Nate didnít contribute nearly as much this year and he gets the snub throughout. Is Nate one of the top five players in the C? Of course – but as you see throughout the Award Night – I ratcheted up a few players that ‘showed’ rather then those who cruised to the minimum games played (i.e. Bachtell, Tom Becker, Pierre, etc.)
The Awards should go to the dedicated few who hammered out 8+ games and made a difference night in and night out. The C League Playoff Preview will follow this shortly but let’s get right to what matters most now – the hardware for an awesome regular season in the C League.
It’s Italian Night for my first nominee for All-C League First Team as the “BIG RAGU” Pete Giorgio(Monitor) mans the middle for this yearís All-Star team. Big Pete was an unknown until he came in at halftime against my own Genzyme squad in Week 2 and deposited 19 points into the hoops bank and did it with relative ease against Dave ìHouse Rulesî Bierut. Bierut just wasnít ready for the former Amherst All-American
and Giorgio opened the eyes of the three people in the crowd along with the entire Genzyme bench. Giorgio then started to fade into the pack a bit – missing a few nights in a row to (gosh forbid) work and business related events but Giorgio made a big enough splash and was huge down the stretch ñ especially in a 30-point dismantling of XJV in the final week of the season. So – to you “Big Ragu” – “Prego” which is ‘youíre welcome’ in Italian.
Selection #2 for the First Team is Giorgioís running mate – Matty Thompson. All Thompson did was lead the league in steals and place second in assists with just under five a game while holding down the #4 player rater (37.31) in the entire league. Thompson was an early MVP favorite but faltered in the scoring department midway through the season without Giorgio to take the pressure off but Thompson never let up on defense. The clear sign of a first-teamer?? Even though the shot may not be falling – get down and dirty on defense and make your teammates better. Take notes Jumpman – especially since you may debut penning for the C League next season as well.
Two guys from Monitor? Blasphemy – or so says XJV, Genzyme, Commitment, even Secret Sauce – but heck, at full strength – these guys may deserve all four spots on the first team – but I like spreading the love. Third selection for the First Team is perfectly tailored made – Rob Taylor from XJV. Loved Taylor showing me up at the scoreboard cause I said he couldnít hit the three-bee. I meant Taylor Made couldnít hit the free-bee. HAHA! Regardless of the minor struggles from the charity stripe, the only reason Taylor is even on the free throw line is because he ìbrings itî every game ñ or at least the oneís he does not abandon his team for music lessons. Anyway – Taylor ranks third in the Player Rater (40.81) and averages a double-double – 15 points; 11 rebounds. I had Taylor in the MVP pool despite being a rookie but an 8-point showing at the only game he played at the smaller Wall Ball Arena showed me he may be built for the larger Morse court to operate a little smoother. Thatís not going to cut it in the playoffs as XJV gets a bye and the remaining games for the C League playoffs will certainly be at the smaller arena and weíll have to see if Taylor can bring the same intensity against the bigger bodies in the tighter space since he skipped out on the last game of the regular season.
SO – I have my point guard, I have my two twin towers. I need a slasher. From the B2 Awards – you can see I like the players that can hit from 12-15 but can take it to the rack as well. This eliminates my big man – House Rules Bierut – as he has to take a back seat to the Big Ragu in the middle of the First-Team paint – so I have to look outside the box and go for the high-flying Gary Fan. Fan and his Friends really had a tough time of it for about a five game stretch. There were even two games were they failed to score 40 back to back. But Fan never lost focus – frustrated, yes – losing focus – never. Fan felt the rookie, first-timer blues without his binky Super Z, who was lost most of the season to an ACL injury. But Fan turned it up a notch when his team needed it the most and happened to lead the league in assists with 5.25 a game.
In the last week of the season, Commitment needed a 20+ point victory to claim the #3 seed going into the playoffs. A simple win over the Grand Nationals would not do it as the GNATS held every tiebreaker over Commitment and Genzyme ñ who would all be tied at 5-5. So what did Fan do? Drop in 15 of his 17 points in the second half to lead his squad to a 27-point rout and a meeting with the winless Deez squad in Round One. The regular season win almost assures Commitment a trip to the C League semi-finals unless Deez can find someway to secure their first win of the season and Fan was a big reason why Commitment was a major player this year.
*(psst ñ the entire first team is made up of rookies! Has to be a CAC first)
On to the second team:
I finished with tossing him off the All-First Team Bus – so he deserves first mention and a first-class solo ride on the second bus for a little while. “House Rules” Dave Bierut came to Genzyme as a little known Interactive Marketing guru and all he did was interact as a beast in the paint once the season got under way. The big man needed a few games to learn the nuances of the Wall Ball Arena (who doesnít) – where Genzyme has an exclusive contract to play all of their games and avoid the Hot Box of the Morse (not sure who works out that primo deal send all hate correspondence to Pradeep Mammen Anywhoo once Dave realized the bigger you are, the less calls you get he started drop-stepping his way to the second best player rater (42.83) in the C League – just edging Taylor-Made and gets to run his own team in the middle for the second team All-Stars.
My slasher comes next as Jeremiah Jordan was the bread AND butter for the GNATS this season and seemed to guard the best of the best night in and night out. Sometimes it was Gary Fan ñ other times he is out on the perimeter guarding Matty Thompson or Adam Ain. Either way ñ Jordan got it done on both ends of the floor. Even without Pierre in tow ñ Jordan always seemed to keep his team in the game and even in games his team is getting blown out ñ he is always rooting for the next score, rebound, or turnover. Kid never lets up and thatís what an all-star team is all about.
Third selection is one of the few that can say “yes – I brought my game EVERY night”. The Captain to Chris Tonelli’s “Tennille” – Doug Bisson played in every game for XJV over the season and that alone is an All-Star achievement. But let me rewind to what I wrote about Bisson in Week 7:
Statistically speaking – Bisson’s numbers are mere identical matches from previous seasons but there is something different about Bisson. Bisson feeds off the new-look XJV squad and they want their title back and again, Taylor is the workhorse but he can’t do it alone. If XJV takes the championship banner in the Summer 2008 season – Bisson will be a major reason why.î
Without Taylor in the middle of the final week of the season, Bisson had to guard the Big Ragu down low. Tough matchup to say the least ñ but talk about showing up! Bisson dropped in a team-high 26 points along with seven rebounds and that’s enough “man-up” for me to name Captain Bisson as a second teamer.
Last – but certainly not least – Mighty Mouse Eric Wang of Deez. I hate to rehash old wounds but Deez had a game stopped in Week 1 when they were down 50-2 at one-point. Since Wangís arrival – Deez has been ultra-competitive especially in the smaller confines of the Wall Ball Arena but just donít have a win to show for it. Wang led the league in points (22.6) and was the only starter in the entire league to average over 20 points all season long. The #6 Player Rater in the C League needs to get involved in the recruiting season before the winter starts and I bet Mighty Mouse will be moving to the penthouse of these All-Star teams shortly.
There is always an Honorable Mention squad and while I could name 10 guys right off the top of my head for this team ñ I want to stick with the structure of a big man, a power-forward-esque baller, a slasher, and my point guard. So donít feel slighted ñ as this was a tough squad to come up with as the C League was just so balanced with talent then previous years other then Monitor dominating as a team during the regular season.
Joey Breton – Grand Nationals: Old-schooler that has been as steady as a rock for the GNATS. You know what you are getting from Breton ñ tough boards, hits the open jumper, great defense, and a few helpers to the guards as he gets doubled down. Breton can play on my team any day ñ but more on that later. Breton edges his own big man ñ Lawrence Coffin ñ as Breton was available more for the GNATS in their quest to get back to the championship game this season.
Brandon Piper – Monitor: Pipes, Rowdy B Piper, etc etc can not be any taller then 5’9″ with some heels on. But that does not stop Pipes from clearing the boards, hitting Ain or Thompson on the outlet fly, and standing up even the toughest big man in the paint. It is tough to even consider Pipes a “power forward” but the end results are the same when he plays ñ heís a winner.
Allen Chen – Commitment: who even knew who Chen was until GM Chi-Lung Cheung realized he had the quickest guard in the league riding the pine for the first three weeks of the season? Once Cheung figured out his rotation (or that he had mounting injuries and had to play Chen) – Chen lit the gym on fire with his acrobatics. Guard him behind the arc? He’s going by you try to have the big man pop out? He’s finding Fan, E-Love, and Ye for the 12-footers. Chen really made a difference for the depleted Commitment squad but needs to play with 40-minutes of desire for Commitment to make it to the championship round.
Chris Cheney – Genzyme: I side-step a nomination (for the love of god Tibbs) and hand the point guard duties to the ìrealî PG for Genzyme. Cheney can hit the three, dish the rock down-low, draw the defense for Crowley and Bergeron ñ he does a little of everything and does it well. Scored in double-digits for the second season in a row and is really coming into his own gaining the confidence a floor leader needs to exude for his team to be successful. Only player on this squad with a championship banner hanging in the rafters so you need a little veteran know-how to get it done ñ and Cheney shows it night in and night out.
WOW – this post may rival my B2 West post but what else can I do on a rainy Sunday afternoon rather then think of ìHow does Wolverine do itî or ìcan someone really rupture their Achilles dancing or covering first base?î Anyway ñ no need to make this longer ñ the highly anticipated All-Nickname Team:
Adam Ain – Monitor: ìDouble Aî
Bierut – “House Rules”
Giorgio – “Big Ragu”
Doug Bisson/Chris Tonelli – XJV: “Captain and Tonelli”
Eric Wang – Deez: “Mighty Mouse”
Defensive Player and Team of the Year – All-Defensive Team:
Three Awards wrapped into one not-so-short diatribe. Most award voters wait until the final games of the season to make their decisions – this award was certainly NO different. The Defensive Player of the Year was a neck-and-neck race the entire year and someone needed one or two big games to stand out. It came down to three players – Pete Giorgio, Matty Thompson, and Pat Bugbee. Giorgio cancels himself out due to his size. Sure – defense is part size and being able to control the middle of the paint ñ which Pete did like no other ñ but the defensive tempo is set up front with the guards harassing the inbounds pass, getting in the grill of the opposition and making it easy on the big men to grab the boards and hit the outlets.
Bugs had an uncanny way of blocking your shot ñ no matter how tall you were. Bugsí help defense separates him from the pack but Thompson was downright nasty. Thompson led the league in steals and his thefts were the direct result of so many easy baskets for Adam Ain, Pradeep Ghosh, and anyone who dared run and gun with the Asian Assassin. Bugs never delivered on the six-pack of Sam Adams Light – so in the first ever bribe gone bad for the C League – Thompson takes the Defensive Player of the Year statue in his first year in the league.
Defensive Team of the Year
With a full squad week-in-and-week-out, Genzyme takes this award as even half staffed for most of the season ñ Genzyme sports 4 guys in the Top 12 of the Defensive Player Rater. But consistency is the model and most defensive stats do not calculate in the DPR for the CAC. XJV goes 5-or-6 deep in terms of defense and can shut down the best offenses as if there jobs depended on it (maybe Bugs is cracking whips in the parking lot or something). Anyway ñ Becker, Taylor, Bisson, Bugbee, Layman, and even the Thunder Down Under (Ottery) all know how to get in your face and man-up when itís crunch time. Monitor holds teams to slightly less points-per-game ñ but thatís cause the teams toss in the towel after being down 20 in the first 12 minutes of play.DTOTY – XJV
The All-Defensive Squad is listed below in the recap.
All BFab Team:
This is the squad that may not get the most recognition on their own team and surely their contributions do not show up in the stat sheets. These are the guys that hold the fort, still slide after a loose ball, take an offensive charge against a guy twice their size, are a few extra-curricular words away from getting tossed from the gym, and in general – pretty much care a little too much for everyone elseís liking. No one wants to face them come playoff time. The only people ineligible for this team is my team – Genzyme. I already play with these guys and intensity is not something missing from Genzyme – Pradeep and I make sure of it. So these are the guys – regardless of position – that I’m playing with anytime, anywhere:
“Super Z” Zhi Chao Liao – Commitment: Talk about “Commitment”. This guy embodies the name of his team. In Week 6, Liao injured his knee and was deemed out for the season. Most guys would salute their team from afar (probably the 99 drowning their sorrows) and hope to be a part of the squad in 2009 – but Z did not miss a beat. Chao Liao picked up the bench coach duties and waved the towel, offered E-Love some tips, got Chen to be more assertive basically Super Z was just that Super. He never left his team’s side and in a pretty impressive move – played about 8 minutes in the last game of the season to be eligible for the playoffs on his not-so perfect knee. Commitment might be too light of a word for this warrior. Warrior = first slot on my team.
Joey Breton – Grand Nationals – ahhhhh, the no-nonsense get-in-your face kinda guy I like. Breton can play big with the best of them and can float out for the needed three-bee just when you think youíve pulled away on the GNATS. Ultra-competitive, Breton never lets up with his sharp elbows and can not STAND losing – even to a squad like Monitor. Breton could come down to the gym without Pierre, without Jordan, without the Hart Foundation and heís playing 4-on-1 if necessary. Lose by 30 – win by 5 – you’d never know the difference with Breton and he’s a better man then me because of that desire so he gets slot #2.
Johnson Tran – Deez: Howís that for a surprise? Tran is the little engine that could. Shouting instructions from the sidelines even when his team is on a drought worse then Tibbs at the Bunny Ranch outside of Vegas. Tran TORCHED my team for 33 points when Mighty Mouse was unavailable and kept firing until the bitter end even with his team down 20-plus points. Don’t slack off on Tran – he may not look the part – but he’s a gunslinger like no other in the C League. Welcome aboard Tran. Your passion does not go unnoticed.
Patrick Bugbee – XJV: This last slot could easily goo to Gary Fan or Brandon Piper. Both guys are the heart and soul of their teams, but Bugs stands out because he does not look the part. Wiry, grizzly look gives him more of the deer hunter look. Give him the plaid shirt, the hayseed out of his bottom lip and all he needs is a tree stand and some buckshot and he fits right in north of Portland, Maine. But thatís what is so great about Bugs – fall asleep on him he takes your shat the other way. Wanna post up the wiry guy?? Nice try your fade-away floater is getting sent into the first row (if there were bleachers). Bugs does more with less – and THAT is the perfect way to round off this squad. Getting the best out of the hand you were dealt even if the refs don’t like it.
WHEW only about halfway done and we have not even reached the meat and potatoes of the gold statuettes.
In a sea of rookies this award is pretty limited to the few still hanging around from last winter. It again came down to who was bringing more to the table night-in-and-night out. While I lean on the Genzyme table a bit ñ my boy Eric Crowley takes home the silver in this contest as the Captain Doug Bisson gets the nod. Bisson – also named to the second All-C League Team – did not improve on his stats much but did improve in making people more aware of his presence. Bisson was helped by the Twin Towers of Becker and Taylor but also held his own when they were not in tow. Bisson was even the best player on the floor at times and may need to shoot more to gain more recognition. He is a sniper but can grab 8-10 boards a night as well. Great fundamentals and Bisson will be back next season to try and “improve” on this one.
5th Man Award:
This award goes to the spark off the bench and while this guy truly should be starting for his own team – with the influx of roster movement for Monitor – Adam Ain was fine and dandy being the first one off the bench. Ain started when necessary but with a full squad ñ both Ain and Pipes come off the bench and no one does it better then Ain ñ who Pipes just edged out in the Player Rater Race. Ain finished at number nine while Pipes (30.56) finished eighth. But even before Pipes as 5th Man is Greg Bergeron of Genzyme. Bergeron was outstanding in the last five games and if he had put it all together all season – Bergeron would be holding the award. Bergeron averaged close to a double-double the last three games of the season but just did not put an entire season together for the defending champs. But why Ain over Bergeron/Pipes? Pipes started quite a bit and Ain was the “Double A” energizer for Monitor all season – energy offthe bench is the definition of the 5th Man Award. Either way – Pipes should take it as a feather in his cap for putting together a fantastic squad in his first year as GM.
MAN I should be in TV look at this segue!
General Manager of the Year:
This was the easiest of the Awards as Brandon Piper entered an All-Rookie squad and took first place in the league with a rubber-stamping 30-point victory over former champs, XJV in the final week of the season to seal up first place and a first-round BYE. While I would be remiss in not mentioning Pradeep Mammen of Genzyme as he should have one last yearís C League GM of the Year for putting together Genzymeís first ever C League Championship ñ Iíll leave that to Tibbs for snubbing yet another Genzyme victory due to his blatant lack of respect for the Evil Empire.
Rookie of the Year:
If you have not been reading “if you win the MVP” you can NOT win the ROY. It is a rule to create balance in the league but this league is so rookie-heavy it really is appropriate for this argument. I am going to finally put my “I don’t want to seem bias for Genzyme” flag away and the Rookie of the Year out of 1,435 rookies is House Rules Dave Bierut. You canít argue with the second-best player rater and even though there are rookies on the first team over Big Dave (Taylor, Fan) ñ Bierut only was named second-team cause Giorgio took the top spot and rightfully so. I may have just given away the MVP balloting! So with that said
C League MVP:
Pete Giorgio. I can’t imagine – other then Pete “only” playing in seven of the ten games that anyone has a gripe with this selection. Giorgio dominated big men, ran the floor like a 23-year old, and graduated college when Fan was still in diapers. The Big Ragu proved he still had it after a few years on the shelf.
Taylor Made was in it until the end but even the ROY Award slipped out of his hands as XJV sputtered to the finish line and House Rules beat Taylor in their only meeting and in the Player Rater Race.
Super Z was on pace to give the Big Ragu a run for his money beofre his injury and so was Justin Oppenheimer. J Hop also got injured leaving the race wide open for the big men in the league.
And finally – not that you would know it from Big Peteís friendly demeanor ñ but Giorgio lists that he was a Captain in the Air Force for four years in the late 1990s. Anyone want to argue that there is a tougher SOB in this league?? Didnít think so ñ and anyone tough enough for the Air Force to defend our freedom is an MVP EVERY season, month, week, day in this writer’s warped mind. Captain Big Ragu Pete Giorgio is YOUR MVP of the 2008 Summer C League Season.
You think you could have done better?? SPEAK UP PEOPLE!
All-C League First Team:
Pete Giorgio – Monitor
Rob Taylor – XJV
Gary Fan – Commitment
Matty Thompson – Monitor
All-C League Second Team:
Dave Bierut – Genzyme
Jeremiah Jordan – Grand Nationals
Doug Bisson – XJV
Eric Wang – Deez
All-C League Honorable Mention:
Joey Breton – Grand Nationals
Brandon Piper – Monitor
Allan Chen – Commitment (spelled it right!)
Chris Cheney – Genzyme
Receiving Votes: Adam Ain – Monitor; Eric Leung – Commitment; Lawrence Coffin – Grand Nationals;
ìDouble Aî Adam Ain – Monitor
ìBig Raguî Pete Giorgio – Monitor
Dave ìHouse Rulesî Bierut – Genzyme
ìCaptain and Tonelliî – Doug Bisson/Chris Tonelli – XJV
Eric ìMighty Mouseî Wang – Deez
Pete Giorgio – Monitor
Ike Yato – Deez
Patrick Bugbee – XJV
Matt Thompson – Monitor
“Super Z” Zhi Chao Liao – Commitment
Joey Breton – Grand Nationals
Johnson Tran – Deez
Patrick Bugbee – XJV
Doug Bisson – XJV
Receiving Votes: Eric Crowley ñ Genzyme ; Jeremiah Jordan ñ Grand Nationals
5th Man Award:
Adam Ain ñ Monitor
Receiving Votes: Greg Bergeron ñ Genzyme; Christian Hartjes ñ Grand Nationals; Brandon Piper – Monitor
General Manager of the Year:
Brandon Piper – Monitor
Receiving Votes: Pat Bugbee – XJV; Chi-Lung Cheung – Commitment.
Rookie of the Year:
Dave Bierut – Genzyme
Receiving Votes: Rob Taylor – XJV; Gary Fan – Commitment.
Most Valuable Player:
Pete “Big Ragu” Giorgio – Monitor