SDL Week 1 Write-ups
BY JAMIL BALL & DAMIAN RUFF
Ok so maybe I was wrong kinda.
Coming into the first game of the Fall 2023 Saturday Morning Draft League I had Washed and Folded (WAF) as the 66-56 favorites over Ball Mitzvah (BM). I was starting to like my pick early on because BM was missing their 2nd round pick. On the opposite side WAF had their entire team.
Game was relatively close for most of the first half but BM controlled the game. BM had leads of 11-7 at the 13:27 mark, 20-17 at the 6:43 mark, 24-17 at the 5:40 mark, 32-29 at the 59.4 second mark and finally at the half was up 35-31.
Jamil Ball 14 pts, 1 stl, 4 orebs, 5 drebs and 3 asts
Ben Butterworth 1 oreb
Robert Wood 2 pts, 1 blk, 6 dreb
Patrick Blaikie 1 blk
Joshua Gettings 10 pts, 4 orebs
Sami Hameid 3 pts, 1 dreb
Christopher Stull 1 oreb
David Ter-Ovanesyan 13 pts, 4 stls, 4 drebs, 2 asts
John Reilly 2 pts, 1 blk, 1 oreb, 1 dreb
David Pendergast 9 pts, 1 stl, 1 oreb, 2 dreb, 2 ast
Rob Lunder 11 pts, 1 blk, 4 drebs
Player of the half:
It seemed like BM was preparing to pull away up 51-42 with 10:19 left and then again with 4:45 left up 59-51 but WAF had other ideas. The game became a 1 possession contest with 38.9 seconds left 71-68 BM was up. All WAF needed was a stop then a score but unfortunately for them that didn’t happen. BM went on to win this one 75-68.
Jamil Ball B his three ball was off but still managed to lead the game in scoring. He seemed fatigued too because he took several trips to rest on the chair during free throws. It’s scary because he’s capable of playing better and he probably will.
Ben Butterworth A kind of a high grade but he played the perfect role player game. Shot efficiently and contributed in other areas.
Robert Wood C his midrange was kinda off but overall I don’t think his team used him enough on offense. He’s clearly capable of playing better and I’m sure he will as the season progresses.
Patrick Blaikie C- Pat is my guy so it actually pains me to give a negative to his grade BUT the fact that you questioned how you fouled out has to be called out. I won’t go into the details again here but overall Pat played ok considering his limited opportunities.
Joshua Gettings B his numbers were actually pretty decent. He gets a higher grade if his team wins and he makes a three ball. I have high expectations for Joshua so I can’t really give him too high of a grade this early on.
Sami Hameid B- his game overall was ok I think the China Sully description of his game was pretty spot on. My biggest gripe was his bickering at the ref. Do I do it? Yes. Do others do it? Yes. To me it felt like it was a little obsessive. Not in a disrespectful way but you just have to understand the ref will miss some calls and to complain the majority of the time isn’t helping you or your team.
Christopher Stull A I loved the game he played. Didn’t force any shots and the 2 threes he did make were huge in helping his team secure the victory. He also was able to contribute in other areas.
David Ter-Ovanesyan A had a great shooting and defensive game. If he plays like this each week, we all are in trouble. What’s scary is he can play better and probably will.
John Reilly B gotta knock his grade slightly for fouling out but overall he was just a menace on defense. A lot of what he did isn’t going to show up on the stat sheet but he played the perfect role for his team.
David Pendergast A- I have to knock his grade for his low free throw and three point shooting percentage. I don’t think any of the threes he took were bad ones, they just didn’t go in. Overall he came alive in the second half. Not sure if it was because he was called soft or just a better rhythm regardless he played well.
Rob Lunder A was electric and spry. I guess he took offense that he went 19th overall. Whatever it was I hope he keeps playing this all season long because his team will definitely need it.
Player of the game:
David Ter-Ovanesyan was just the best player on the floor on both ends. Too bad we aren’t teammates anymore 😢but he did what he’s typically been doing for the majority of his SDL career.
Admittedly, I didn’t have Hungover Hoopers as the favorites in this matchup. Without Adwaith, I gave Costa Coast a slight edge.
Through the 9 minutes, Costa Coast held a slight edge (16 - 15). Charles was playing absolutely smothering defense as promised, and Costa Coast looked primed for an early run. Lucas had other plans, as he got out to a scorching start including 3 for 3 shooting from deep.
Jamie Cummins who looks to be the steal of the draft, would match Lucas’ output with 19. They combined 38 of their team's 54 points in an impressive outing.
The Hungover Hoopers' lead would balloon to 12, as they would go into the half leading 33 - 21 with no signs of letting up.
BFFs Robel (11 PTS and 20 REBs) and Musse (3 PTS, 2 STLS, 6 REBS, and 3 ASTS) played extremely well for Hungover Hoopers as they would go on to win this matchup by double-digits easily.
For Costa Coast, I would not overreact to this loss. It’s week one and guys struggled to hit shots they will hit when the games matter the most in week 10. Unlike past seasons, everyone makes the playoffs. Once they build stamina and chemistry, this will be one of the top teams in the league.
Andrew Marra (C+) - I need more Marra, I need more!
Jamie Cummins (A+) - Steal of the draft! ROY conversation.
Lucas Guliano (A+) - Lucas is my early favorite for the MIP award. He’s always been able to score the ball, but the level of efficiency with which he performed was out of this world. Can he maintain this level of play?
Musse Kassa (A-) - Musse didn’t need to score a bunch of points to impact the outcome of this game. He was by far the best point guard on the floor. I think he actually played defense a couple of times too.
Robel Ghebremichael (A) - Robel dominated the paint and played with a level of dominance I haven’t seen in a while.
Charles Maneval (B) - Charlie gets an A for his defensive effort, but offensively he struggled mightily. I think pressing full-court in a 90-degree gym might’ve impacted his offensive production a bit.
Dan Waldman (B) - Dan was extremely effective and really scored the ball well for Costa Coast. I’m docking his grade because of his AI-type rant against practice/team pick up.
Dylan Costa (B+) - I love that Dylan was aggressive and assertive on both ends of the court. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but not too many folks did. I look for Dylan to build on this performance and get better as the season progresses.
Joshua Brown (C+) - I’ve watched Josh play 4 or 5 times over the past couple of weeks and he is way more capable than what he displayed on Saturday. I look for Josh to be more assertive in the coming weeks.
Kevin Ross (B) - Kev struggled from deep like many others during week 1, but he still found ways to be effective on both ends of the court. He will be their best player as he starts to round back into form.
Matthew Starr (C+) - I’d love to see Matt assert himself more on both ends of the court. 5 Rebound is not enough for a player with his capability.
E was not happy about his 8th-place power rankings, but let his play do the talking for him as his squad made light work of Nick Lynch and the Old School Ballers.
Early on Djordje and Kopel led the way for MF. Djordje in particular was very effective offensively with 25 points, but his defensive effort was by far the most impressive performance of the day. He and Darby limited Nick Lynch and Ghost to a combined 21 points.
Mamba Forever would go into the half leading by 12 points (35 - 23).
The Old School Ballers' struggles were due to their ineffectiveness offensively. I figured shooting would be one of their strength, but during this week one matchup they couldn’t get much going.
Mamba Forever would go on to win this matchup by 25. Led by fantastic overall team play and a fantastic outing by their leader and do-it-all captain Emmanuel Okharedia (18 PTS, 11 REBs, and 3 ASTs). E controlled all aspects of the game and was extremely effective and efficient.
After this outing, there’s no way in hell this team will remain 8th in the Power Rankings. Looking forward to seeing this entire roster in future weeks.
Old School Ballers
Alan Orellana (B) - AO was efficient per usual. I would love to see him a little more assertive offensively.
Damian Ruff (C) - Ruff looked a little rusty, but gave consistent effort on both ends of the court. As he noted, if his team is going to win, he’ll need to be more impactful in the scoring column.
Erik Johnson (C) - Slick didn’t have his best game, but his effort throughout the game was consistent. I know he will play better in the upcoming games.
Michael Fraher (B) - Ghost was efficient in the week 1 opener, but his team needed more from him offensively.
Nick Lynch (B) - Lynch was a monster, per usual but 11 points will not be enough if his team is going to be successful this season.
Djordje Vlajkovic (A+) - Was by far the best player on the floor at all times. His defense and unselfish play led the way for Mamba Forever.
Emmanuel Okharedia (A+) - Per usual, E was effective on both ends of the court. He facilitated the offense efficiently and really controlled the game from start to end.
Jake Darby (B+) - Darby was really effective in his debut. He and Djordje looked good together and controlled the paint.
Seth Kopel (A) - Kopel is already on ROY watch. He had a fantastic outing overall despite struggles from beyond the arc.
Killa Cam (22 PTS and 11 REBs) wasn’t messing about to start this game. He was the early catalyst for FAD as they jumped out to an early 15-point advantage (25 - 10). This included 4 - 4 shooting from deep. Admittedly, I think Steve was wrong for making Nick Galle guard Cam in his rookie debut because Cam absolutely feasted on the smaller guard.
Jorge Morel embraced his Point-Forward role, nearly notching a triple-double. Civale made his SDL debut and notched a double-double (22 PTS, 2 BLKs, and 10 REBs) as would go into the half leading 43 - 30 with no signs of looking back.
Despite the early deficit, Turbo was having no part in a blowout. Fresh off a monster performance in #FRANCHISE Keith (32 PTS, 17 REBs, and 7 assists) turned on the jets and within a blink of an eye it was a three-point game.
Turbo was feasting in transition and really started to play with more confidence. Keith was by far the best player on the court for either team, once he decided to play defense. Guys like Joe (10 PTS and 6 REBs), Steve (9 PTS, 8 REBs, and 1 Stl), and Nick (7 PTS) really benefited from his play.
Turbo went on a 17 - 5 run and trailed by 2 points (50 - 48). Nick Galle would his a huge three to put Turbo up 1 (51 - 50) with 11 minutes left, but it wasn’t enough as Forgot About Dre would seal the victory from three free throw line, despite poor overall free throw shooting.
Forgot About Dre
Andre Jones (B+) - Debo gets docked some points for showing up late and demanding I open the front door for him. Aside from that, he was extremely effective for them on both ends of the court.
Brian Civale (B+) - Civale let it fly whenever possible. It wasn’t his best shooting performance, but I expect him to get better over time.
Cameron Daniel (A) - Solid overall game for OG Cam Daniels. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Cameron Daniels (B+) - Was the player on the floor during the first half. Disappeared in the second half.
Daniel Lyman (C+) - Very quiet debut. Dan was very active and will play better as he gets comfortable.
Jorge Morel (B+) - Jorge had a nice overall game, but I know he has another level.
Gordon Sheffield (A) - 11 rebs and 6 assists. He played the point guard position very well and helped initiate the offense.
Joseph Breda (B) - Struggled early on, but got it going in the second half. More importantly, was not called for a single travel.
Keith Baranowski (A) - Was by far the best player on the floor at all times. Could have easily scored more, but did a fantastic job facilitating.
Neil Aggarwal (B) - Worked his ass off on defense. Struggled a bit offensively.
Nick Galle (B) - One of the best rookie debuts in the league. This kid has some dog in him.
Steve Rakusin (B) - His SDL double-double streak came to an end, in what was an average performance for him. On a bright note, he looked good the next day in pickup. He’ll be better.
BY DAMIAN RUFF
Ok guys as promised here are the lines for week 1. Depending on how many likes I get I may do this every week but no promises either
At 9:15 AM we have Washed and Folded (WAF) vs Ball Mitzvah (BM). With WAF I expect the trio of Gettings, Ball and Wood to all play well. On the opposite side, I expect DTO and DP to play well which means the rookie Ivanic will be key for this game especially since he will most likely be matched up with Rob Wood. Wood had a stellar rookie season himself but once he got injured he wasn’t the same (no fault of his own). My guy Blaikie is in a very similar situation this season as last so I’m sure he will play well. Buttersworth is a great bench guy that will play his role and help his team win. Sully I mean Hameid has no pressure just has to come in and be productive. Depending on how productive he is he could end up being a 4th man. For BM, Lunder had some great games last season however he was on a team that lost every week so I wanna see if those sweatpants and Giannis sneakers keep him playing well. Both Reilly and Stull have familiarity with DP which is good and will help them as the season progresses. For this particular game I like WAF to win 66-56. (edited)
At 10:05 AM Old School Ballers (OSB) plays Mamba Forever (MF). With OSB they have no rookies and Lynch arguably the best player in the league to combine with Ghost arguably the best jump shooter in the league. AO has improved his game on the offensive end, EJ has become somewhat of a knockdown three point shooter that will give you everything he has and Mitchell is the ultimate hustle guy. On the opposite side, Emmanuel is the best on the ball defender in the league, Djordje is an excellent shot blocker and rebounder, the Jewish Jordan is a rookie, Higgins is another rookie that apparently will pass first hit threes and is a good perimeter defender, Darby is a pass first slasher per his own description, last but not least Hicks whose definitely played in his fair share of SDL games. I’d say he’s a hustle guy that drives to the basket and will rebound. Half of MF is rookies so I think it’ll take some time for them to adjust. The good thing is every team makes the playoffs so they’ll have time to do that, I like OSB to win this game. Since I’m on OSB, I’m not going to give the exact details as to why but in general I’m picking a team with less rookies to win. OSB wins 73-65.
At 10:55 AM we have Hungover Hoopers (HH) going up against COSTA (is your team name officially Red Storm?). On the HH side, I’m pretty sure their captain Nair will be out due to injury (I’m hoping I’m wrong). They also have the big guy Robel who will rebound and protect the rim, his best friend Musse a PG that can shoot threes, Guliano a guy who does a little bit of everything, Cummins a rookie who describes himself as do it all and Marra a great 6th man that will hit some threes and play some defense. COSTA (Red Storm) has the captain Dylan who does everything well, Kevin Ross a small forward that can shoot from what I’ve heard, Joshua Brown a D3 PG that can shoot and wants to fight Keith, Charles another shooter, Starr a forward that will make threes defend rebound but has no handle, last but not least Waldman the guy who owns the Crime-Stopper. Even though Nair isn’t playing I’m still picking his team Hungover Hoopers to win. While I think the Robel/Musse chemistry will be great, Ross/Brown will probably match it. Dylan will play his role just like Guiliano. So then it comes down to Cummins and Marra versus Starr and Waldman. While I think Waldman has a light edge over Marra, something is telling me that Cummins will have the edge over Starr, because of this a 68-67 HH win will occur.
Last game of the day at 11:45 AM Forgot About Dre (FAD) and Turbo match-up. On the FAD side we have their captain Cam who can do it all, Civale a left handed shooter but will also post-up and has height for defense, Jorge a solid all around guy that essentials does everything too, Lyman a rookie who will most likely serve as their big man, Dre who is the ultimate team player glue guy that does a lot of different things on both sides of the ball, balancing out this team there’s Cam who proved last season that he’s probably the best 6th man of the year doing all the little things to help his team win games. For Turbo they have Rakusin a big guy that can rebound well and finish at the rim, Keith all motor all the time, Breda is actually a mini version of Keith when I think about it, Sheffield a great facilitator and great guy too, Galle who describes himself as Jaylen Brown but only 5’8 and last but not least Neil the guy who loves to know how much time is left in games. Just kidding Neil is a great role player that does a lot of good things out there. I like FAD to win this one. Cam/Civale vs Keith/Joe will essentially cancel each other out. Jorge should have his way in this game. I also think Dre and the other Cam will keep the foot on the pedal resulting in a 77-70 victory.
Before I get to the Power Rankings I just have to say the Boston Celtics smh like seriously WTF. I love Brown, Smart and even Horford but you gotta trade those guys. This unit isn’t winning a championship. Sign and trade Brown include Smart/Horford for Lillard/Nurkic/and whoever else fits salary wise. I’m literally sick to my stomach just thinking about a damn sweep. Anyways I digress, allow me to get to the topic at hand.
5 Platano Power are they actually the worst team in the league? I’m not totally sure. I believe last week was the first week they had everyone in attendance. This team reminds me a lot of my team from last season. We eventually figured it out but it was too late. Will they suffer the same fate? Only time will tell. I do like the combo of Jorge, Alan and Tim. If they can be consistent and get Chris, Neil and Rob to contribute, I can see them sneaking into the loffs and being a tough out.
4 DANIELS can we get an actual team name? If we don’t, I will name this team and you may or may not like it. DANIELS is really talented but another team that I think hasn’t figured out how to play together. I think the key for this team is just figure out a style of play then stick to it. When doing that though someone has to be willing to sacrifice. Who is that someone? That’s for you to figure out. If I wasn’t actually playing in the league I would easily give you an answer. I will say this, I think they all know that Ghost is their primary offensive scorer but there’s more to basketball than this. I don’t think Cam, Adam, Joe, Dre or Andrew have played bad but collectively they have to figure it out.
3 Nair can we get an actual team name? If we don’t, I will name this team and you may or may not like it. I honestly think this team at full strength and healthy is the best in the league but we haven’t seen that yet. Nair should be back soon and hopefully it doesn’t take him much time to get back to his MVP level of play. Nick makes everyone’s job easy. DTO is playing extremely well. Ben and Pat are doing all the little things. As for me, I’m just happy to be a part of it.
2 Stull Here while they also haven’t really played their best or at full strength, they have an excellent 1-2 combo in David & Devin. Steve has been the key though. In the 2 games he’s played well they’ve won. When he hasn’t they lost. EJ has been basically a no show but gives them an outside threat. Jordan and Stull will also need to be somewhat productive if this team is to win it all. I’m pretty confident they will make the playoffs. I’m interested to see how far they go.
1 COSTA can we get an actual team name? If we don’t, I will name this team and you may or may not like it. No surprise here as COSTA has the leading MVP candidate in Jamil and everyone knows their role and has played it well. Dylan anchors the front court defense, rebounding and everything else in between. Charlie shoots threes and does a little bit of everything else. Emmanuel is their backcourt defensive leader and contributes across the board. Cam and Dan come in off the bench and make contributions. The real story though is Jamil. Guy has been on a mission this season. Maybe being the # 1 pick fueled him even more but I feel like this team is a lock for the playoffs. Will they win it all?
Coming into this game COSTA was clearly the best team in the league. Having won 3 straight games and just playing well on both ends of the floor. DANIELS on the opposite side were coming off of a very close loss and win but when they faced COSTA in week 1 they looked overmatched.
With approximately 9 minutes gone from the game, Costa was already up double digits 22-11. The game never became close and to add insult to injury, the Jamil/Dylan halftime buzzer beater combo occurred again (I believe it’s three straight weeks) with this time Jamil being the recipient of the pass from Dylan for the layup. Costa up 38-25 at the half.
First half stats:
Andre Jones 1 stl, 1 blk, 2 drebs
Michael “Ghost” Fraher 12 pts, 1 blk, 4 orebs, 1 dreb, 1 ast
Andrew Marra 2 dreb, 1 ast
Cameron Daniels 7 pts, 1 blk, 1 oreb, 4 drebs
Adam Ellabidy 4 pts, 1 blk, 2 orebs, 3 drebs, 3 asts
Joseph Breda 2 pts, 2 stls, 4 dreb, 2 asts
Jamil Ball 12 pts, 2 stls, 1 blk, 1 oreb, 2 drebs
Charlie Maneval 8 pts, 1 blk, 8 drebs, 2 asts
Cameron Daniel 1 oreb
Emmanuel Okharedia 5 pts, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1 oreb
Dylan Costa 9 pts, 1 blk, 8 drebs, 5 asts
Dan Waldman 4 pts, 1 oreb, 2 drebs
Player of the half: Dylan Costa
Second half was more of the same COSTA dominance. I liked that DANIELS went with a lineup switch but this team is too talented to get blown out like this. Final score 70-51 COSTA wins.
Andre Jones B- I liked his aggressiveness in the second half but they needed it for a full 40 minutes. I don’t think he played badly but his team just lost. I added the minus to his grade for not having a complete game that his team needed.
Michael “Ghost” Fraher A I seriously can’t even pinpoint what Ghost did wrong. He played his usual consistent game. I think it’s up to his team to get him more looks on offense and to get more out of him in general.
Andrew Marra C got a few stats and played his role.
Cameron Daniels C his defense on Jamil wasn’t good and no assists I don’t like. Overall though he didn’t play that bad but I’d like to see numbers in the stl and ast categories.
Adam Ellaby C- struggled with his three ball and at this point I just have to say he’s not a three point shooter. I do like Adam’s game and think he should be the PG for this team. He clearly can do almost everything, just had a bad shooting game which happens to everyone. I’d also like to see him turn up his aggressiveness. You don’t have to be a nice guy on the court.
Joseph Breda C— Ok lets start with the minuses. The first one comes from his complete disappearance in the second half. If I didn’t have him down as 0-2 from three I wouldn’t have even known he played. The other minus is for asking me to add a steal to your stats. First, you couldn’t even name the play and second your team is down by double digits. I say all this to say I like Joe and his game and especially his energy. Today I didn’t see it.
Jamil Ball A although he didn’t shoot the three ball well (yes I said the same exact thing before) but he played a really solid overall game. The things I love about Jamil are his competitiveness and overall thought process of the game he plays. Today was a feast on Cam day 🤣.
Charlie Maneval B stuffed the stat sheet. I think he’s still capable of playing better but had a solid game.
Cameron Daniel A- was scoreless in the first half and he turned it on in the second. Had to deduct a little from his grade for going 0fer from three.
Emmanuel Okharedia B it felt weird not hearing any trash talk from E and in the first half he was basically non existent. In the second half though he really played well and was in his scoring bag. He surprised me with a left hand in and out step back jumper that bounced in.
Dylan Costa B I feel like I’m grading him too high because I like him. He went scoreless in the second half and to my surprise didn’t have any offensive rebounds but still had great dreb numbers and led the team in asts.
Dan Waldman B- I feel like 2 of his 4 pts was a nifty layup and he did a good job getting some stats across the board but I have to add the minus to your grade for the 0fer from three and the free throw line.
Player of the game: Jamil Ball no lengthy words just a great job playing again.
Platano Power had their full team in attendance for the first team this season, so I came into this matchup expecting big things, but team Nair had an entirely different game plan in mind. Led by DTO (18 points) and Ruff (13 points) Team Nair got off to a scorching start and very quickly jumped out to an 11-point lead (25 - 14) halfway through the first half. Ruff and DTO combined for 6 threes in the first half and Platano Power didn’t really have a counter.
Tim’s 7 points and Jorge’s 10 points paced Platano Power in the first half. No one else on their team really developed any rhythm offensively. Team Nair would go into the half with a double-digit lead, in a game that was trending towards a blowout.
In the second half, led by Tim Roberts and 8 second-half points by Chris Agresti Platano Power mounted an epic comeback to pull within 3 (52 - 49) with 9 minutes left in the second half. Most teams would start to get agitated, but Ruff got pissed off and more vocal than he had been all game. “I don’t know what yall excited about, this game is already over,” the grizzly vet said shouted with absolute conviction.
That’s when the Nick Lynch show started. After only scoring 5 points in the entire first half, Nick was absolutely dominant in the second half and finished with 23 points and grabbed 19 boards. Team Nair has continued to thrive despite missing, arguably the best player in the entire league. I can’t wait to see this team at full capacity.
Jorge Morel (B+) - Jorge did a fantastic job against Nick Lynch. Despite his displeasure with the officiating. 16 points and 8 rebounds are fantastic numbers, but we all know Jorge is capable of more.
Alan Orellana (B-) - 11 points and 8 rebounds are solid, but the stats that jump out to me are 0 steals and 1 assist. Maybe I’m biased, but I consider AO to be one of the best guards in this league and I know he has another gear.
Neil Aggarwal (B) - Neil’s 4 points and 6 rebounds were solid contributions, but I would love to see Neil play much more aggressively on both ends of the court. I know this team has no shortage of talented guards, but I have no doubt he can be highly effective within the team offense.
Tim Roberts (A) - Led all scorers with 22 and shot the three ball well. Tim continues to be one of the top scorers in the league and makes it look effortless.
Chris Agresti (A) - Chris played with a great deal of effort, energy, and toughness. Chris made things extremely difficult for Nick in the post and with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists, his stat line is a clear indication of the difference he made in this game.
Rob Lunder (C-) - I love Rob, but this was not his best game. Mostly, because he didn’t pay very much. (edited)
Nick Lynch (A-) - The big dawg struggled from three, but still scored 23 points and grabbed 19 boards. Did I mention he had 3 steals and a monster block?
Damian Ruff (A+) - Ruff gets an A for overall play and an A+ for banter/shit-talking. Only Ruff would say “This game is already over” with 9 minutes left in the second half and a three-point lead. Needless to say, he wasn’t wrong, as they went on to win by 7.
DTO (A) - Was second on the team in scoring with 21, as his impressive season continues. He helped them jump out to the early lead and was a huge part of this victory.
Ben Mitchell (B) - Per usual, Ben was solid and steady for them on both ends of the court. He didn’t contribute a bunch, but he also didn’t do anything to hurt them.
Patrick Blaikie (C+) - Patrick went 2 for 7 from three. His breakout game is more than overdue, if pickup was any indication I wouldn’t want to be the team playing Nair next. Wait, we are the team playing them next
Week 2 - Platano Power VS. Stull Here
For the second consecutive week, Stull Here gets an opponent on their second of back-to-back games. Clearly, David Pendergast has an in with the commish, nevertheless, this game would be the highest-scoring affair of the morning as absolutely no defensive was played. Not a single block was registered and Platano Power didn’t even register a steal.
Getting to the action, David Pendergast had 28 points at the half and I was certain he was destined for a 50-piece. Rak, Quinlin, and DP dominated Platano Power in transition and dictated the pace of the game from the tip. Rak (11 points) and Devin (13) would both score double-digits in the first half. AO was the only player on Platano Power to score double-digits in the first half finishing with 13.
Despite not playing their best ball, Platano Power would go into the half down 11 (53 - 42). This game was still very much within reach. In the second half, Devin Quinlin (23 points) got it going for Stull Here and Platano Power was never able to recover. Stull Here would go on to win 96 - 71 as they move to 2 - 1 in this very early season.
Jorge Morel (B-) - In back-to-back games, Jorge had by far the toughest matchups having to guard Nick Lynch and then David Pendergast. Jorgre struggled mightly offensively, but I can’t imagine it’s easy being the lone big man on the squad. The B- is because I know Jorge is way better than the way he played in this game and I look forward to seeing him rebound in their re-match against Stull Here on June 3rd.
Alan Orellana (A-) - Alan led the team in scoring with 22 points and 9 rebounds. His play really kept the game semi-interesting. I would have loved to see Alan a bit more aggressive defensively, but the second of back-to-back is always the hardest!
Neil Aggarwal (A) - 10 points and 6 rebounds were both highs for Neil on the season. Like always, he left it all on the court. I couldn’t ask for more.
Tim Roberts (B+) - Tim was second on the team with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Despite being down a lot early, he never stopped fighting.
Chris Agresti (B+) - Chris played well defensively and scored within the flow of the offense. When Chris is on the floor they really seem to play better.
Rob Lunder (B+) - Rob played much better in the second game scoring 6 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. I’d love to see him play more aggressively on both ends of the court. (edited)
Steve Rakusin (A+) - Steve was as dominant as I’ve seen him. 18 points and 25 rebounds to go along with 5 assists! Fantastic effort on both ends of the court and was the biggest difference in this matchup against Platano Power.
Devin Quinlin (B+) - Struggled early on with his shot, but would find his groove in the second half scoring an impressive 23 points. Despite his shooting struggles, he excelled defensively and found his teammates for easy looks in transition. All-in-all fantastic game for the # 2 pick in the draft.
David Pendergast (A+) - DP was a man amongst boys out there. 46 points, 2 steals, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. There is no doubt who the player of this game was.
Christopher Stull (B+) - Stull got off to a slow start, but his three treys were backbreakers and really killed any momentum Platano Power was building. He also grabbed 2 rebounds and dished out 2 assists.
Even with Nick in attendance, I had Team Daniels as heavy favorites in this matchup and they didn’t disappoint early on jumping out to a quick lead. Ghost “MICHAEL FRAHER” got off to a scorching start, scoring 20 of his 27 points in the first half.
Cam Daniels (21 Points) was stroking it from deep and Team Daniels looked primed to run away with this game leading 24 - 11 through the first 7 minutes. David Ter-Ovanesyan (DTO) led the way early on for Team Nair with a ridiculous 25 points and 18 rebounds! WTF?
Team Nair would go into the half down 11 (47 - 36), but you could tell Nick Lynch was starting to heat up. The second half would be the Nick Lynch (39 points, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 19 rebounds, and 3 assists) show.
This dude was absolutely unstoppable and despite their efforts, Team Daniels had no answer.
With under a minute left in regulation, Andrew Marra would hit a huge three to tie the game at 72. With the clocking winding down, Team Daniels would inadvertently foul and Team Nair took full advantage converting the free throws and notching their first victory of the young season.
Patrick Blaikie C+ - Patrick is in a shooting slump like I’ve never seen before, but despite his struggles, he’s making a huge impact on the defensive end. I have no doubt he’ll find his stroke, I just hope it’s not against us.
David Ter-Ovanesyan A+ - DTO scored 25 while shooting 44% from three on 9 attempts. He’s off to a fantastic start this season.
Damian Ruff B - Despite struggles beyond the arc, Ruff did a fantastic job rebounding and distributing the ball to his teammates. His ability to slow down Ghost was the difference in this game.
Nick Lynch A+ - 39 points, 4 blocks, 19 rebounds do I really need I say more?
Ben Mitchell A - Did a fantastic job defensively and played within the team offense.
MICHAEL FRAHER A - 27 and 10 rebounds should have been enough. Ghost played a fantastic game despite his team suffering the loss.
Cameron Daniels B+ - Cam had 21 points and played well for the most part. I still feel like he has another gear.
Adam Ellabidy B - Adam struggled early on but still finished with 18 points. Cam and Adam aren’t on the same page yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
Andrew Marra A+ - Played fantastic on both ends of the court and hit a couple of huge threes when his team needed it the most. I would love to see him more aggressive on offense.
Costa feasts on Platano Power
Coming into this game I was interested in seeing the full Platano Power (PP) squad. To my disappointment their captain Jorge was missing. Although PP was already the underdog in this one, they had their 4th overall pick Alan Orellana in attendance so anything was possible.
The game was so bad to start Jamil Ball asked me at the 8:50 mark was the time right? Umm yes it was and so was the score 25-8. To close the half, things didn’t get any better, well for PP I mean, Costa went on a 16-3 run and was up 41-11 at the half.
Alan Orellana 6 pts, 1 stl, 2 blks, 4 drebs
Neil Aggarwal 1 blk, 2 drebs
Tim Roberts 5 pts, 1 drebs
Chris Agresti 2 orebs, 4 drebs
Jamil Ball 19 pts, 1 blk, 3 orebs, 6 drebs, 2 asts
Charlie Maneval 13 pts, 3 drebs
Emmanuel Okharedia 6 pts, 4 stls, 1 oreb, 2 drebs, 1 ast
Dylan Costa 6 pts, 1 blk, 9 drebs, 2 asts
Player of the half:
To all the millions of readers across the world, if you’re waiting to read about a crazy comeback or how the game became interesting, keep waiting because neither thing happened. 10 minutes into the half Costa was up 62-23. Final score ended up being 74-44 Costa with the win. What’s crazy though is that PP was actually even with Costa the second half.
Alan Orellana B after the game we talked briefly he said he didn’t think he could’ve done much more aside from being more aggressive, bingo.
Neil Aggarwal C just an ok game for him. I actually think he can play better and his team will need him to as well.
Tim Roberts B was obviously the best offensive weapon for his team but would’ve liked to see him do a little more on the defensive end. Admittedly if his team wins he gets a higher grade
Chris Agresti C+ good rebounding numbers and I liked that he gave me the guys names on the team I didn’t know. I swear he shoots the ball with both hands so maybe he just needs to figure out which hand to shoot with.
Rob Lunder C+ played sparingly but I did enjoy my conversation with him about the Celtics.
Jamil Ball A- was the best player on the floor only knocking his grade for asking me if I took time off the clock smh.
Charlie Maneval A says he was saving himself for the second game but still managed to shoot decent and get some other stats.
Cameron Daniels A in a blowout victory didn’t miss a three and got some other stats.
Emmanuel Okharedia A— had a solid game with 5 steals but had to give one minus for the 0fer from three. The other minus is because the trash talk was non-existent. I actually respect that because the game wasn’t close but there were still opportunities to do this and I was disappointed.
Dylan Costa A although I know Dylan can play better he led his team in rebounding, assists and blocks while also going perfect from the free throw line. What more do you want?
Player of the game:
Jamil Ball as previously mentioned was simply the best player on the floor and It wasn’t even close.
Coming into this game I thought Stull Here had the advantage of fatigue. Not only was Costa playing their second game of the day but they only had 4 guys. Stull Here was missing arguably their best player which obviously didn’t help but no excuses. A smart thing done slightly before the game by Jamil was telling the ref to put on some tunes. The music I heard was how do I say it in a nice way, not to my liking. Cam and I had an interesting conversation about it. Ok enough rambling let me focus on the game.
The pace of this game was super slow. With about 10 minutes left in the half there was a total of only 14 points on the board and tied up. As the half continued, Costa pulled away slightly and ended the half with a nice dime from Jamil Ball to Dylan Costa for the layup right before the buzzer. Costa was up 19-13.
Steve Rakusin 4 orebs, 5 drebs
Christopher Stull 2 drebs
Jordan Staiger 1 pt, 1 stl, 2 drebs
David Pendergast 12 pts, 1 blk, 1 oreb, 6 drebs
Jamil Ball 11 pts, 1 blk, 1 oreb, 4 dreb, 1 ast
Charlie Maneval 6 pts, 5 drebs
Cameron Daniel 1 oreb, 1 dreb
Dylan Costa 2 pts, 1 blk, 9 drebs
Player of the half:
2 minutes into the half, Costa went on a 10-2 run forcing Stull Here to call a timeout. While Stull Here continued to battle, they were never able to recover from that run. Costa wins 49-39.
Steve Rakusin C while he did have a good rebounding game, he struggled putting the ball in the basket which is what his team needed. He did go scoreless in the first half and was able to change that in the second, he just needed a similar output to his week 1 performance.
Christopher Stull C- managed to get some rebounds and obviously going 0-7 is not good. The reason I added the minus to his grade is because he stopped shooting. I’ve literally seen this man make 4 straight threes in a game last season. He definitely lost his confidence in this game. As someone who will continue to make and miss threes, take it from me, don’t stop shooting. Especially if they are good shots and your team needed some offense.
Erik “Slick” Johnson C+ while Slick was anything but that on the court today. Hopefully he was at least successful at the casino. His + grade is because he agrees with me that Michael Jeffrey Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time.
Jordan Staiger B- had a good debut in SDL. I think anytime you’re playing with guys for the first time there will be an adjustment. The minus to his grade comes from his low three point percentage.
David Pendergast B was obviously the best player on his team. Would’ve loved to see him be a tad bit more aggressive and use his energy as he did against my team in week 1.
Jamil Ball A— in back to back games was the obvious best player on the floor. Had to add some minuses to his grade. The first one was for telling the ref to put on some tunes. All those in favor of never allowing the ref to play music again, say I, I. The other minus has to go for saying that LeBron James is a better “basketball” player than Michael Jordan. I won’t get into it so we can just respectfully agree to disagree.
Charlie Maneval B- actually had a decent game but added the minus because he specifically told me he was saving himself for this game. For whatever reason his three ball wasn’t what I expected but regardless his team won.
Cameron Daniel C got a few stats and played his role despite not scoring.
Dylan Costa B despite the struggles from the free throw line and three point line, still managed to have a double double and 3 blks.
Player of the game:
Jamil Ball I might have to start excluding him from this if he keeps winning it so easily. No seriously well deserved and just was really good.
WEEK 1 SDL WRITE-UPS
The man, the myth, the legend David Pendergast made his much-anticipated debut and didn’t disappoint. With 29 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal David put the entire league on notice. Admittedly, these stats would be more impressive, if Nair had a single player over 5”9. Nonetheless, I have no doubt David will be in contention for MVP when it’s all said and done.
David got out to a hot start scoring his team's first 7 points in a variety of ways. Steve Rakusin had an impressive 17 points and 14 rebounds as Team Stull Here dominated the glass and pace of play. However, despite only having 4 players Team Nair was not backing down. Led by Damian Ruff (16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals) and DTO
(18 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 steals) neither team was able to pull away in this low-scoring affair.
Stull Here would enjoy a slight advantage going into halftime leading 28 - 25. Team Nair did their best to keep the game competitive, but once Devin Quinlin got it going in the second half, this game got out of hand very quickly and Stull is here never looked back.
David, Devin, and Steve have the potential to be one of the better trios in this league. This team will be contenders when it’s all said and done, Jack, who?
After losing the first game of their opening week double-header, Team Daniels had the opportunity to redeem themselves against an understaffed Platano Power. Admittedly, this game got off to a very ugly start but Cam D’s aggressive kept Team Daniels in the game.
Cam would finish with 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals, but more important managed to find his three-point stroke. Jorge (23) and Tim (22) were fantastic for Platano Power as they did everything within their power to keep this game competitive.
Platano Power would enjoy a slight advantage going into halftime leading 28 - 27, but when has a one-point lead ever been safe in a CAC League? Exactly never! Playing the second of back-to-backs without Adam Ellabidy I could tell the fatigue was starting to set in for Team Daniels, but Joe Breda (11 Points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists) was still going 100 MPH, as he did his best impression of Russell Westbrook with the one man fast break.
This game would come down to the final minutes. Tied at 60 with 7 seconds on the clock, Team Daniels got Ghost opened for the screen at the top of the key and Mike nailed the three with seconds left on the clock.
Neil tried to get a shot off to tie the game as time expired, but Joe Breda called game, stealing the ball from Neil, before he could get the attempt out of hands.
And we are back…
Week 1 is here and not only are there a lot of familiar faces back in the league, but I, Damian Ruff, am back providing some of the league coverage for the first time since 2019. Will this trend continue, ask my wife.
Coming into this game I expected it to be highly competitive. Both teams were fully staffed and there was only 1 “true” rookie playing in this game. A “true” rookie to me is someone who has never played in any CAC leagues.
To my surprise, team Costa completely controlled the half. They pretty much led throughout. To end the half, Jamil completely bricked a three point shot off the backboard, followed it up perfectly with an oreb and then was able to lay the ball in right before the buzzer. Team Costa was up 36-24 at the half.
First half stats:
Andre Jones 1 stl, 3 drebs, 1 ast
Michael “Ghost” Fraher 10 pts, 2 orebs, 5 drebs, 2 asts
Andrew Marra 1 dreb, 1 ast
Cameron Daniels 7 pts, 1 stl, 3 drebs, 2 asts
Adam Ellabidy 2 pts, 1 oreb, 1 dreb, 1 ast
Joseph Breda 5 pts, 1 dreb, 1 ast
Jamil Ball 13 pts, 4 oreb, 2 dreb, 3 ast
Charlie Maneval 9 pts, 1 blk, 7 dreb
Cameron Daniel 3 pts, 1 blk, 1 dreb
Emmanuel Okharedia 4 pts, 4 stls, 1 dreb, 1 ast
Dylan Costa 5 pts, 1 oreb, 7 drebs, 3 asts
Dan Waldman 2 pts
Player of the half:
For the second half, I really would love to talk about the competitiveness of the game but I can’t, team Costa dominated winning 69-55.
Andre Jones A- I think Andre played a great game especially rebounding but I’m giving him the minus grade because he has to attempt some shots and score.
Michael “Ghost” Fraher A- it’s clear that Ghost will most likely be the go-to scorer for this team all season. While he did have a nice double double, he’ll need to attemp more FGAs for this team to win games.
Andrew Marra C+ really just played his role and took advantage of the opportunities presented to him.
Cameron Daniels C has to be more aggressive and not let the opposing player get him off his game. Didn’t play awful but expected more.
Adam Ellaby B- was happy to see him start in the second half and as a result really got things going on offense. Would’ve liked to see him do more on the defensive side of the ball.
Joseph Breda B+ the + is for the fact that he remembered that I threw him out of a game (yes I refereed at CAC too) and he said I was right, imagine that. Joe did a decent job scoring the ball (fortunately for him I don’t keep track of missed twos). I think he needs to talk a lot more and give some energy and effort on the defensive end as well.
Jamil Ball A although he didn’t shoot the three ball well he played a really solid overall game. I especially liked how he rallied the troops during a timeout early in the first half. This made a huge difference in the game to me and they never looked back.
Charlie Maneval B- didn’t shoot his best but did rebound well on the defensive end in a team win.
Cameron Daniel A played his role perfectly and shot efficiently.
Emmanuel Okharedia A+ I think statistically he can do more but his trash talk was at an elite level today and was entertaining. My favorite quotes were “I got three shooters” “send the double” “he acts like I won’t lock that up”. When I think of the top 5 trash talkers in this league it’s 1) Emmanuel 2) Emmanuel 3) Emmanuel 4) Emmanuel 5) Emmanuel. I also feel like he walked away from this game owning real estate in two guys' heads (not gonna name any names but you know who you are). With all that said, I still can’t wait for my Del Frisco’s 😂
Dylan Costa A+ completely dominated the game and shot the three ball well.
Dan Waldman C did nothing to cost his team the game, I just feel like he’s capable of playing better.
Player of the game:
Dylan Costa had a massive double double and shot the three ball well in the team win. Great way to start of the season with a win and as a first time captain.
By JAMIL BALL
# 1 Costa - Despite poorly handling the coveted # 1 pick, My guy Dylan managed to assemble a very formidable roster. Defensively, led by Dylan Costa, Emmanual Okharedia, and Charlie Maneval we will be a pain in the ass for opponents all season. Can’t wait to see the Awaith Nair vs Dan Waldman matchup. Our 5th round pick definitely has a chip on his shoulder. Last but not least, there’s the original Cameron Daniels whose physical defensive style will make the captain regret not picking him up earlier. Our victory over the “other” Cam Daniels had to be a moral victory for him today, as we impatiently await the results of the Who’s the real Cameron Daniels, please stand up! @dcosta32 @dan_waldman @cameron (edited)
# 2 Stull Here - Admittedly, this they’re victory over Team Nair wasn’t overly impressive, but $20 dollars is $20 dollars. What was impressive was the play of David Pendergast. David was extremely impressive in his league debut, it helped that Team Nair did have a single player over 5”10, but you can tell the talent is there. Last session Most Improve Player (MIP) award winner Steve Rakusin, had a monster game with 17 points and 14 rebounds, which made a huge difference in their matchup today. Can he produce at the level consistently? On this team, absolutely. David is out there dimming dudes! Harry D was an impressive fill-in, despite not trying offensively. 13 rebounds and 2 blocks isn’t too shabby. Last, but far from least is the # 2 pick Devin Quinlin who had an up-and-down game in his debut. Got some points in garbage time to finish with 16 points, but I expect him to get better as the season progresses. @srakusin87 @devinquinlin7 @dp
# 3 Nair - Admittedly, I expected a blowout, but played extremely well despite the absence of Adwaith and Nick Lynch. DTO led all scorers with 18 points and matched his offensive intensity on the defensive end. Damian Ruff continues to regain his form and shot finishing with 16 points and holding his own with 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Patrick Blaikie didn’t shoot as well, but grabbed 7 rebounds and recorded 2 steals. This team was built in the image of their captain. Once Adwaith returns, Patrick is going to absolutely feast. Ben Mithell was solid, steady, and productive! Another guy that’s going to thrive when they have their full roster or at least Nick Lynch. @waith @damruff @pat_blaikie @bmitch
# 4 Daniels - First-time captain, Cam Daniels drafted a fantastic team. Mike Fraher, Adam Ellabidy, Andre Jones, Joe Breda, and Andrew Marra are all very capable and productive players. Joe Breda is my early favorite for ROY. I love the enthusiasm, toughness, and most importantly banter. I think Cam made a fantastic decision trading for him. Mike Fraher and Cam have fantastic chemistry and as the season progress, I have no doubt they’ll be more effective on both ends of the court. I have them at 4 because they didn’t look good today, even in their win. I have no doubt Cam will get the troops in order when the games matter the most. @Mike F. @Cam D @AndreJones24
# 5 Platano Power - I love Jorge Morel, Tim Roberts, and AO, so selfishly I want this team to be good, but they’re not. Offensively, they have no shortage of firepower Tim Roberts is one of the top scorers in the league and that was on display today, as he poured in 23 points. Jorge Morel, consistently one of the best players in the league over the past 2 sessions, finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 steals. When AO returns from drinking wine and getting fat in Italy, he will give them a stabilizing guard which will only help Tim and Jorge. After surviving TAYO ESPN 30 for 30 Neil Aggarwal has a renewed enthusiasm for basketball, hopefully, it has a positive effect on his questionable attendance (lol). Chris Agresti and Rob Lunder were solid but do little to address this team's biggest weakness: size. Jorge drafted 5 guards, which will either be brilliant or have him on the outside looking in for the second consecutive post-season. Regardless of all the nonsense above, this team is going to be fun to watch.
AO's Draft Reactions that nobody asked for but I'm drinking wine in Italia and love run-on sentences.
I'm running out of steam, sobriety and wine.
Nair - DTO - Lynch - Ruff - Breda "Talks a lot" small guard. Yikes. Who wants another AO? I take back the nice things I said. Unless this is a sand bag? Feels like a sand bag.
Jorge - AO - Roberts - Lunder - Agresti Sweet pick. Someone to do all the dirty things so I can relax on the sidelines and play 2mins a quarter. Chris will be sneaky good in a small watered down league. And he screens better than my captain. PS - our team name is Under Agresti.
Daniels - Ghost - Adam - Pat - Dre You forgot about Dre. He only made it to the chip. Another awesome role player. Let him guard the best player on the other team. That's what I did.
DP - Quin - Jack - Rak - Slick There are 3 timelines here: 1) Slick is inebriated and doesn't know he got picked 2) Slick is big mad he got picked this late and will actually do the drills I sent him 3) Slick is too preoccupied with the NYK to care Fwiw I love this pick. Shooting and gives a shit attitude from your 5th man is a luxury. Made real strides last season, got some reps in the CAC CUP finals.
DC - Ball - E - Charles - Cam The other Cam Daniel. Honestly thought he would go higher this round. Tougher than he looks. Works for everything. And doesn't let you take a play off on defense with his cutting. I regret we didn't take him because now I have to guard him. Damn it.
DC - Ball - E - Charles - Cam - Waldman Forget what I said about the last round. I'm wine happy and the captains are idiots. Should have taken a swing on the not short rookie a round ago. DC completes his team with no weaknesses. The only way he loses is if I steal his gun before every game.
DP - Quin - Jack - Rak - Slick - Stull Stull nailed SEVEN 3s one time last season. Against my team of course. Many on me. And then he immediately turned back into a pumpkin. I don't think any other last round picks have that upside.
Daniels - Ghost - Adam - Pat - Dre - Marra Ehh, maybe Marra could hit 7 treys. But he won't take that many shots bc he's a good team player. Makes me sick. Be selfish !
Jorge - AO - Roberts - Lunder - Agresti - Neil I don't know anyone braver than Neil. He survived a season with the Tayos and CAME BACK. Makes him either a sadist or braver than the troops. Who can tell?
Nair - DTO - Lynch - Ruff - Breda - Ben Mr. Irrelevant! Welcome back!! Come hoop with me at Powder House again.
That's it for the draft and my liver boys. Hope you enjoyed it because I don't get paid for this analysis.
Good luck tomorrow, unless we play, in which case get bent.
WEEK 2 Write-Ups
56 To the Rak FINAL 88 Rip Hamilton
Subject: # 1 Rip Hamilton Blows out To the Rak in Second Half
By SHAWN WISE
Once again Rip Hamilton, had to start their game without leading MVP candidate, Jamal. To the Rak would try their best to pull away early but were only jump out to an 8 point lead before Jamal’s arrival. During that 8 minutes, Emmanuel was a menace to Rip Hamilton on defense racking up an impressive 4 steals over the first 8 minutes.
To the Rak was able to keep the game close at half time but Jamal was quickly stacking up points towards the end of the half and exploded in the second half to finish the game with 43 points and 20 rebounds. When Jamal wasn’t having his way with the defense, Jamil was able to carry the offense as a secondary option by adding 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Missing their first-round pick, Kevin, definitely hurt To the Rak this week. I was excited to see the matchup of Kevin and Jamal but we’ll have to wait until the rematch between these two teams to see that matchup. Without Kevin To the Rak looked their best with the offense running through Emmanuel and Rob. Rob would finish with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Player(s) of the Game:
64 LEBOV FINAL 52 Ghost Rider
Subject: # 3 LEBOV make light work of # 5 Ghost Rider to achieve their first victory of the young season.
By JAMIL BALL
In this 9 AM matchup, team Ghost Rider got off to a horrid start as LEBOV was playing with a purpose. After 5 minutes of play, LEBOV was leading 12 - 6. Ghost (22 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal) who finished with a game-high 22 accounted for all 6 of Ghost Rider’s points.
For LEBOV SDL rookie Lucas Guliano (18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists) got it going early and really set the tone for LEBOV on both ends of the court. Adam Ellabidy (16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and block) arrived a little after the tip, but it didn’t take long for him to make his impact on the game.
With 3 minutes left in the first half, the lead ballooned to 13 in favor of team Lebov (33-20). Lebov, Guliano, Ellabidy, and DV all were playing inspired team basketball. One of the huge advantages for team LEBOV was rebounding. They would combine for 16 offensive rebounds, while only allowing 3 to their opponents.
At the half, LEBOV would lead 36 - 27. Ghost (14) and Lucas (11) would be the leading scorers for their respective teams.
In the second half, Cam Daniels (16 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists) would really pick up the pace. The fantastic chemistry between Cam & Sheff was on full display. Sheff finished 1 point shy of a triple-dub with 9 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
He was dealing ball, like Pedro Martinez in his prime. Despite a furious comeback attempt. Team LEBOV had no interest in letting up in this matchup, DV (15 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks) would lead all scorers in the second half with 9 points and really help put this game away.
Player(s) of the Game:
63 Saturday Morning Hypothermia FINAL 65 Slick When Wet
Subject: # 2 Slick When Wet hold off # 4 Saturday Morning Hypothermia to stay undefeated
By JAMIL BALL
A fully staffed Slick When Wet looked to stay undefeated with reigning MVP Adwaith Nair making his season debut. In comparison, the Saturday Morning Hypothermia-led Damian Ruff squad is looking for their first win of the season.
After looking unstoppable in week 1, Slick When Wet looked out of sync at the start of the game. Missed shots, turnovers, and terrible defense led to an early deficit. On the other hand, led by DTO (22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists) Saturday Morning Hypothermia got off to a scorching start!
David was a one-man fastbreak and would go on to score 17 of his 22 points in the first half. Adwaith and Ruff, both arrived shortly after the tip (Divas). Once they checked into the game, this matchup got much more interesting.
Adwaith had a monster game with 23 points, 3 steals, and 13 rebounds. His ability to score in bunches created easy baskets for Alan (10 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists) and Shawn (12 points and 10 rebounds).
Slick When Wet would go into half-time with a 6-point lead (38 - 32). Ruff hit some huge threes as Saturday Morning Hypothermia mounted a furious comeback, but they would ultimately fall short in the closing seconds.
Other notable highlights:
Player of the Game:
Adwaith Nair - Adwaith had a monster game with 23 points, 3 steals, and 13 rebounds. Despite his struggles from beyond the arc, he did everything else to fuel his team to victory.
By JAMIL BALL
SDL Week # 1 Power Rankings
6 # To The Rak - Defensively, this is one of the better teams in the league, which will keep them competitive in most games. Offensively is where the struggles lie. Kevin scored 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds and Rob Wood played extremely well, but they still lost, which isn’t a great sign of things to come. Steve, Emmanuel, or Cameron are all capable scorers, so hopefully week # 1 was just a speed bump on the road to building chemistry.
5 # LEBOV - There’s no denying this is one of the more talented teams in the league. The DV, Harry, and Adam trio is something to keep an eye on as the season continues. Like most teams in the league, they struggled in week # 1, but there’s no reason to panic. They’ll be in the thick of things when the games truly matter. I’m looking forward to seeing rookies Lucas and Noah round into form.
4 # Ghost Rider - Fraher and Cam look like a potent 1-2 punch. You add Musse into the mix and that’s one heck of a top 3. Despite Gordon’s struggles, they were still able to gut out the win and came away with the victory. I think Cam will improve as the season continues, but I see this team struggling to consistently generate offense against the better teams.
3 # Saturday Morning Hypothermia - Despite Ruff's gripes about his team's stats, they played one hell of a game today. I wasn’t high on his team after the draft, but after their performance in week 1, I know they’re going to be a team to be reckoned with as the season progresses. Jorge Morel and Dylan are a fantastic pairing with DTO and Ruff. If Ruff can stay healthy and continue to shoot consistently, I have no doubt this will be in contention for the SDL championship.
2 # Slick When Wet - Slick has put a formidable team that has enough depth to make them absolutely dangerous. Their balanced offense features 4 double-digit scorers (Patrick, EJ, Alan, and Shawn) and that does not include Adwaith Nair, last sessions leading scorer and reigning MVP. Can they play this well consistently? Or was this an aberration? Their validity will be put to the test in their matchup against Saturday Morning Hypothermia next Saturday. (edited)
1 # RIP HAMILTON - Jamal was a mere mortal in his SDL debut and still managed to score 37 points. Outside of Evan O'Neil, we didn’t do a great job of playing as a team and moving the ball. This is expected in the first week of the season and If Jamal doesn’t have 60 next week and we don’t win by 20+, we’ve failed to properly utilize him. Our captain and fearless leader Kevin Gillooly is cooking up a game plan as we speak with a beer in one hand and a shot in the other! I am looking forward to seeing Christian and Ian get buckets next week.
WEEK 1 WRITE-UPS
71 Rip Hamilton FINAL 62 Saturday Morning Hypothermia
Subject: Rip Hamilton gets a run for their money in 71-62 victory.
BY SHAWN WISE
In the first game of the season, Rip Hamilton literally didn’t show up ready to play. Number 1 overall pick, Jamal, didn’t show up until 3 minutes after tipoff. Immediately after subbing himself into the game, Jamal would miss his first two 3-point attempts. Also contributing to the slow start for Rip Hamilton, Jamil would go 0-4 from 3 in the first half, ending the half with just 1 point.
During the second half Jamal and Jamil would find their offensive rhythm. Jamal would have 22 of his eventual 37 points and Jamil would score 13. Ian provides a secondary downlow presence teams will have to account for, chipping in 11 rebounds and drawing 3 shooting fouls on post moves.
On the other side, Saturday Morning Hypothermia (SMH) started the game with great chemistry and was able to jump out to an early lead. SMH had great ball movement and would end up with 5 players in double figure points. Jorge was a defensive force in the first half with 3 blocks and 1 steal at the intermission. Jorge would finish with a team high 22 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Ruff began to find his shot at the end of last season and was able to carry that shooting over to start this session, making 3-4 from deep. DTO and Dylan would contribute 11 and 10 points. SMH
Rip Hamilton sits on top of the power rankings and deserves to stay there until someone knocks them off.
Players of the game:
· Jorge Morel: Jorge was the by far the best player for his team and was the only person on the court that stood a chance of trying to keep Jamal off the offensive boards.
· Jamal Brown: Jamal had an “ugly” 37, 18, and 4 stat line by his standards. The rest of the league better be careful when he has a “good” game.
53 Ghost Rider FINAL 51 To The Rak
Subject: Ghost Rider overcomes early deficit to beat The Rak in OT.
By JAMIL BALL
Ghost Rider vs The Rak was by far the most entertaining matchup on the docket this morning. I didn’t write any pre-game lines this week, but I would’ve had the Rak as heavy favorites. Both teams looked a bit rusty earlier on, which resulted in lots of turnovers and a couple of missed layups, but there was clearly no shortage of confidence and enthusiasm as they continued to chuck.
The 4th overall pick Cam Daniels made his CAC debut and didn’t disappoint with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. He even took on the challenge of guarding Kevin Devine, which some may argue had some undesired results, but never the less he played well.
Mike “Ghost” Fraher (22 points and 7 rebounds) anchored their offense. When they needed a basket Ghost stepped up consistently and they literally rode him to victory, no pun intended.
Both teams would go into the half tied 27 - 27, to the dismay of the spectators it was pretty clear this game was going down to the wire. The star of the game was Kevin Devine (30 points, 20 rebounds, and 2 steals). Ghost Riders had no answer for this dude and despite Cam Daniels's efforts, he didn’t stand a chance in the post.
The Rob Wood (14 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals) and Kevin Devine combination kept The Rak within reach, but they would inevitably run out of gas as the game went on.
In the closing minutes with the game tied at 47, Kevin had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. He got a good look in the paint, despite being surrounded by 3 defenders. This game would go into OT, but you could clearly tell the momentum was with the Ghost Riders.
Musse would go on to hit a dagger, which put them in control of the game and allowed them to pull off a very close victory.
Players of the game:
44 LEBOV FINAL 52 Slick When Wet
Subject: No Adwaith, no problem as Slick When Wet pull of the upset
By JAMIL BALL
Slick When Wet pulled off the biggest upset of the day. With Adwaith not in attendance, I didn’t think they stood a chance, but boy was I wrong! Slick When Wet led this one from start to finish and this matchup was never in doubt.
Getting to the action, Led by their experienced captain EJ AKA Slick SWW had the best chemistry of any team that played today. Whatever deficit existed from a talent level, they were quickly able to overcome through fantastic ball movement, enthusiastic defense, and most importantly fantastic shooting from deep.
SWW was significantly undermanned with only 4 starters in attendance, but it was an extremely balanced offensive output as all players were able to reach double digits (EJ (13 points and 8 Rebounds), Shawn (12 points and 22 rebounds), Alan (15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists), and Patrick (12 points and 8 rebounds).
I’ve covered this league for a couple of seasons now and I can’t say I’ve seen Patrick, EJ, or Shawn play as well as they did today on both ends of the court. Despite not being named play of the game, Patrick had a fantastic all-around game and hit multiple big shots! He was also very impressive on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and creating havoc.
Despite LEBOV’s struggles on both ends of the court, you can tell they’ll improve as the season continues. Much of their struggles can be attributed to a lack of chemistry and rust. Djordje Vlajkovic didn’t struggle, his matchup with Shawn was extremely entertaining.
Like Shawn, DV (22 points and 21 rebounds) would have a monster game in a losing effort. He did everything he could possibly do on both ends of the court. Adam Ellabidy (15 points and 7 rebounds) is on my “Rookie of The Session” radar, played extremely well and I think he’s just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of.
Despite the loss, Lebov has the talent to be a contender in this league. I expect them to bounce back next week and I have no doubt Harry will play a lot better than he did today.
Players of the game:
Way Too Early Power Rankings!
The SDL Winter 23 draft has commenced, so it’s time for the Way Too Early Power Rankings. There weren’t many notable fireworks, aside from a forced trade and 2 rookies drafted within the Top 4 picks.
After last season was dominated by Team Ball (12 – 0), We have 6 new captains, 20 returning players, 3 rookies, and so much more parity in the league.
I don’t know about your guys, but I am looking forward to seeing what these new guys can do. Moving on, here are your Winter 2023 pre-season Power Rankings.
Gordon shocked the world by drafting rookie Cam Daniels with the 4th overall pick. Admittedly, I did not see this coming, especially with Kevin Devine still available. Nevertheless, their season will hinge on his productivity.
Steve got off to a fantastic start grabbing Kevin Devine at 5 and Robert Wood with the 8th pick. Emmanuel Okharedia (Tim Hardaway) was a head-scratcher at 17. E-Man is a heck of a player, so don’t get it twisted, but I feel like DTO would have been a better fit with the players he previously drafted.
While Emmanual isn’t your traditional point guard, he’s a terrific defender that got better as the season went on. If nothing else, he and Steve will have a ton of chemistry as they played together last session.
The are a lot of variables I considered when rankings Ruff’s team. Ruff’s return to CAC basketball after a 3-year hiatus was not as productive as his previous seasons and he really struggled to find his shooting stroke.
Their success will rely on how effective Ruff and Charles can be on the offensive end. This team has the makeup and depth to be one, if not the best team in this league if Ruff and Charles can be consistent threats offensively.
3. SLICK WHEN WET
My tenure with Slick When Wet lasted a whole 10 minutes until Slick “Erik” traded me for Shawn Wise. Once I am healthy, Slick is going to regret this decision. The last time I saw Shawn, I lit his ass up at LA Fitness, but I digress.
Led by the last session MVP Adwaith Nair this team will be one of the top teams in the league. This team features 3 All-Stars (Alan, Shawn, and Adwaith) and a fantastic supporting cast (Andre, Patrick, and Slick).
2. Rip Hamilton
Kevin lucked out in the draft lottery and earned the opportunity to draft first, there was no doubt in my mind he was taking Jamal Brown first. Admittedly, I am going to miss him officiating my games, but I won’t miss denying his constant requests to play.
Jamal undoubtedly will be almost impossible to stop and Kevin did an excellent job surrounding him with impact players. I think Ian Murphy was a draft steal, I’d argue he’s a top 3 big man in this league.
After a somewhat forced trade, our team looks extremely different than draft night, but I truly believe we will be one of the top teams in the league when it’s all said and done.
This ranking is dependent on the performance of rookies Lucas Guliano and Noah Landy. Harry took a calculated gamble and I am pretty confident it’s going to pay off. This team has an embarrassment of riches at the guard spot and a fantastic big Djordje Vlajkovic. This team is primed to be one of the top teams in the league.