2014-15 Hoops – Week 2 (Oct. 26)

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Updated: October 30, 2014

Week 2 is in the rear view and the tiers are beginning to form in the Hoops League!  Before we head into the Rankings — here’s a Link to the Weekly Video Highlights!  Back to the Rankings.. #1-6 look awfully similar to Week 1 but there was some shaking up in the back half of the Rankings. Scroll down to find out! Let’s Rank ‘Em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 2-0, tied for 1st in South Division

Championship Teams always find ways to win and despite Team Lalez’s sloppy play in the first half, they found a way to win against the scrappy rookies, Team Levitan. This ended up being the Accelerated Physical Therapy Game of the Night!  After being down early, Dave Gershenzon led Team Lalez back, making 4 of his first 6 shots in a 22 point effort. Strong play by Brennan Keller and Eytan Azaria, who scored 20 and 10 points, respectively, helped Team Lalez get its second win in a row to start 2014-15. Team Lalez, which typically finds itself with total assists in the mid-teens, just could not find their offensive rhythm, but overcame that with gritty defense and great rebounding late in the game.  They certainly miss All Sports Vet Ben Lazarov who is currently on the DL with a foot issue. Eytan Azaria led the team in rebounds with 9, while Brennan Keller grabbed 8. Team Lalez remains at the top of the Rankings after a gutsy win.

2. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 2-0, 1st in West Division

Much has been said (and will be said) about all of the off-season acquisitions made by Teams this Summer to go out and improve their squads.. For instance, we’ll hammer that home again when recapping the next Team.. However, none may prove to be Greater Than Team Maione bringing back Tellef Lundevall into the fray.. He has gone for 23 points and 9 boards in both Games to start this young season and simply put — his is what they missed last year — an inside presence.  They have all the outside shooting in the world… All 9 players are above average from beyond the arc.. Now they have someone to clean the glass and protect the rim.  They defeated Team Horwitz this week (one of Week 1’s more impressive crews) and did so by 15.. They are determined to remove the Runners-Up  taste in their mouth and are well on their way..

3. Team Kozin (Theory) – 2-0, 1st in East Division

For those who have not yet be able to witness Team Kozin in the gym yet on one of these Sunday Nights — let me tell you — this is not last year’s Team Kozin squad.  They are bigger. They are stronger. They are faster… They are better.   The new additions have come in and revamped this squad.. They were a title contender a year ago.. This year they look as if they really are the Team to beat.  This week they were too much down low for Team Bernkopf and that is going to be their recipe each and every wee. A heavy dose of physicality on the block and then make open shots when the ball is kicked out. Good luck everyone.

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 2-0, tied for 1st in South Division

Lookin’ nice in their Orange above and even better out on the court in the League’s first couple of weeks. They went for 106 on Sunday Night — easily the Season high for any Team.  It seems as if they have really identified areas of potential improvement and addressed those in the off-season with hopes of ending 2015 with the Crown. Next Week, they’ll face off with Defending Champs Team Lalez in the Accelerated Physical Therapy Game of the Night.. It’s our first true “must-see” Game of the Season and it should be a really great measuring stick for both of these clubs moving forward. It’s also going to be important for the Playoffs, even though it’s just Week 3, as the Winner will not only have a head to head tiebreaker over the other in the South Division but will also leave the first set of division Games with a better record.. A Top seed come March will probably only be available for one of these South Division foes.. Good Luck!

5. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 1-1, tied for 2nd in East Division

Back to their winning ways this week is Team Goldin who proved me right a week ago for having them in the Top5 even after a Week 1 L to Team Kozin.. That is not a pat on the back.. simply an acknowledgment for their clear abundance of talent.  Garrett Staniec had one of the most impressive outings you’ll see on the Hoops court — going for 25 points and 24 Boards. TWENTY-FOUR AND TWENTY-FIVE!  They’ve managed to stay afloat during a tough portion of their schedule and without all-everything Alex Filin who will certainly make them even tougher to handle when he makes his return soon.  They aren’t going anywhere so get used to seeing these guys near the top of the Power Rankings week in and week out.

6. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 2-0, in 1st for North Division

This is the best Team no one is talking about. As discussed last week, Team Harris is an under the radar top-tier team this season. They are deep and points can come from anywhere.. After a 30 point win against Team Levitan in Week 1, Team Harris followed up with a 36 points win Team Elrod. They are certainly establishing themselves as the class of the North Division. They have several players with fantastic inside/outside attacks.. Prime examples are Brad Tivin and Dylan Richter, who made some outside shots and scored 27 points and 22 points, respectively. Rebounding was a huge contributor for the second week in a row as well with a team total of 47 rebounds, which included 16 from Dylan Richter and 13 from Mike Keegan. Mr. Double Double Dylan Richter actually honed his skills in college playing for Wash U. I’m telling you.. this Team is loaded..

7. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 1-1, tied for 2nd in West Division

Team Horwitz really looked fantastic in Week 1.  They did everything right and earned the Week 1 dub over Team Apuli… Then, this past Sunday, they got their first taste of one of the truly elite squads — Team Maione.  They didn’t get their desired outcome, but with out Week 1 scoring leader – Alan Tucci – they still held their own and looked like they belonged with the class of the League.  They are still somewhat on the outside looking in on that top tier but they are right on the cusp and after another few weeks of playing together this could be one scary squad.  Drew Zahora led the way this week with a 17 and 14 (boards) line.  CJ Ryan also poured in 20 points.  These guys can really play.. Just ask Team Maione.

8. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 1-1, tied for 2nd in East Division

Sometimes the matchup in front of you is just too much to overcome.. These guys played their hearts out — which is the usual case for them.  However, there just wasn’t much they could do down low against the bigger Team Kozin crew.  They sorely missed resident big Mike Maione and Ricky Silverman who normally help clean the glass for Team Bernkopf.  They are true vets and aren’t going to let one Loss shake them too much. Jordan Mellovitz had the hot hand on Sunday with 23 points and Sam Harmelech earned a double-double with 11 points and 14 boards.. Pound for pound he might be the best rebounding guard in the League.   Expect them to start gathering wins once the full crew is assembled.

9. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 1-1, tied for 2nd in West Division

Veterans Team Apuli notched their first victory of the season against Team Schwartz, 83-70, and sprung up the Rankings as a result.  They were missing a couple of big men in Week 1 and Center Kyle Daniels made his season debut with a monster showing.. With 18 points and 17 rebounds. EIGHTEEN AND SEVENTEEN!  Twins Tyler and Mike Austin both had another strong week, scoring 16 points and 10 points. Captain Apuli certainly stressed ball-movement this week as this was the most noticeable improvement in Team Apuli’s play.. Led by Andy Cohen’s 9 dimes, Team Apuli posted 19 assists, a season high to date.

10. Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 1-1, tied for 2nd in North Division

As mentioned last week, this Team will need some time to gel, as many of them had never met before Week 1. I think if you told them before the Season they’d start out 1-1, all things considered they’d take it.. This week, they just ran into (as mentioned above) the best Team no one is talking about — Team Harris..  Consistent with last week, the guards on Team Elrod led the charge, as Zach Nudelman went for 23 points on the night. Captain Elrod himself chipped in with 16 more.  The key issue this week was shooting percentage – Team Elrod shot less than 35% from the field. At the same time, rebounding was the bright spot, as every player on Team Elrod grabbed at least two rebounds. Zach Nudelman led the team in rebounds as well, with 9. Team Elrod was also missing a few players, so with a full squad and better shooting, Team Elrod will get back to the win column.

11. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 1-1, tied for 2nd in North Division

No need to worry about this Team starting the Season on a winless streak, as they did last year.. Team Shamberg got into the Win column for the first time this Season with a hard fought victory against Team Hernandez and with that they earned a spot in the Rankings. Team Shamberg’s shooting and speed contributed to their win, with several fast breaks and very efficient shooting.. Danny Kaufman led the charge with 27 points, including 5 three pointers, while Phil Capodagli and Jake Preskill added 23 and 15 points, respectively. Ball movement was the difference maker for Team Shamberg as they compiled 15 assists, led by Brett Kaplan’s 5. This squad’s willingness to play team ball along with long distance shooting out of its guards should benefit the team in the weeks ahead.

12. Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 0-2, tied for 3rd in South Division

Allow me to re-introduce Team Levitan.. These Rookies can play and they are going to take down a bunch of squads when all is said and done.. Team Levitan almost became the first team to beat the defending champs, Team Lalez, but it ended with a 3 point loss that came down to the final 30 seconds. Team Levitan has had arguably the hardest schedule to start the season off, after facing Team Harris in Week 1 and then the Defending Champs in Week 2.. Don’t let their 0-2 Record fool you.. Ben Hanessian was a force to be reckoned with, putting up 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The intangibles of great defense and passing kept Team Levitan in the game and actually had them winning for a majority of the first half. Dale Mickelson and Brian Holtz had solid games as well, scoring 16 and 11 points respectively.  Welcome to the Rankings, next up is that first W.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 0-2, 4th in North Division

Team Hernandez looked much better in Week 2.. Each week you can expect improvement out of a group that is just meeting each other.. They dropped a close game to Team Shamberg.. One in which the score did not indicate the true story. The first half was dominated by mini runs that ended up leaving the Teams tied at halftime. Dave Altman once again established himself as the go to guy, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Other bright spots included strong play by Jake Bruce, who put in 16 points, and Christian James who had 9 points and 10 rebounds. As mentioned last week, shooting looks like it’s going to be the “make or break” factor for Team Hernandez. The team shot 40%, consistent with last week – the only difference being Team Hernandez got off 64 shots this week vs. 48 last week. Ball security and movement will be key to their continued improvement.. then the Ws will come.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 0-2, 4th in East Division

Couple historical notes — 1) They started off slowly last season as well.. Before really turning it up as the season went on and getting some Playoff Ws.. The slow start won’t scare them.. 2) They are a deeper Team than they were a year ago also. By no means is this 0-2 start true representation of what they really are or will be come.. EJ Silver led the scoring barrage once again with 25 and David Holmes added 18 points.  They are going to turn it around soon.

Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 0-2, 4th in West Division

This was a tough week for the depleted Team Schwartz which only had five players. Team Schwartz kept it close for a majority of the game on the back of strong shooting performance from Danny Roseth and Anthony Bernardi, who scored 22 points and 14 points, respectively.  However, they just ran out of gas and their legs drained from their jumpers.. This is a Team that is going to surge into the Rankings — don’t sleep on them.. They will be back in Week 3 and with a sense of urgency.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 0-2, tied for 3rd in South Division

Going to take time.. Need time… They’ve also been saddled with the toughest schedule to start the year of any of the 16 Teams (sorry).  Seriously.. Going up against Defending Champs Team Lalez in Week 1 and then other Top5 squad – Team Zimmerman the next is no joking matter.. They also are just getting used to playing with one another on the court.. Things are going to get better.. Just might need a couple more weeks to click… The talent is certainly there.

That’s it for this week.. Have a great weekend. Go Bulls!

– Holden