2014-15 Hoops – Week 9 (Dec. 14)

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Updated: December 18, 2014

The final Power Rankings article of 2014 is awaiting.. We are officially at the half way point of the Chicago Hoops League’s Regular Season and what a first half it was.. Just as a Final Reminder.. We are off for Winter Break now — the next TWO Sundays (Dec. 21 and 28) — before coming back on Sunday Jan. 4, 2015.  Before checking out the final Power Rankings of 2014, check out the last Weekly Video Highlights!  OK Let’s Rank ’em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 9-0, 1st in South Division

2014 went about as well as Team Lalez could have asked for with the Chicago Hoops League.  For those living under a rock.. In the Spring they were crowned the first ever Hoops League Champs and have started their title defense by rattling off NINE straight Ws this Season.  There’s no reason to believe they will slow down in 2015 as it seems they keep getting stronger and stronger as a unit.. They have a very tough schedule to open up 2015 as they’ll see Team Horwitz right after Winter Break and then a potential undefeated Championship Rematch on Sunday Jan. 11, 2015 with last year’s Runners-Up Team Maione.  If both Teams get to 10-0, the longest single-season win-streak in All Sports History will be on the line AND the pole position for the #1 overall seed in the Playoffs.  Congrats on an unbelievable 2014 and Good Luck for more of the same in 2015!

1.9 Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 9-0, 1st in West Division

Mostly everything that was said above about Team Lalez can be repeated here for Team Maione.. Only, they are still searching for that first Hoops League Crown after finishing as the Runners-Up last season..  They have been incredibly impressive to start 2014-15 and will head into the New Year with an undefeated record as well.. A lot of the improvement from last year to this year can be attributed to the addition of Tellef Lundevall and his athleticism around the hoop.. Good news for the rest of the League.. Tellef is actually off to Europe for a few months to play semi-pro hoops.. There are obviously eye balls on the Hoops League 🙂 .. Want to wish him good luck in his journey.. Oh, and bad news for the rest of the League.. He’ll be back by Playoff Time.

3. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 8-1, 1st in North Division

While many on their Team had played in All Sports Series in years past this is the first go around for them in the Chicago Hoops League and man did they make an impact from the jump.  In 2013-14 there was a Top-5 Teams who traded the top spots in the Power Rankings all season long and wound up as the Final5 Teams left during the Playoffs.. Team Harris decided they were going to force their way into that top tier and not only did they get in… They’ve jumped many in the process.. At 8-1 they are nipping at the tails of the unbeatens and have built up a 2 Game cushion in the loss column with any other squad for the #3 Seed come Playoff Time.. They’ve routinely won close Games and they should leave 2014 while patting themselves on the back.. They defeated Team Kozin to close the season’s first half — the latest example that they are for real..

4. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 6-3, 1st in East Division

It was just 5 weeks ago that some were wondering if the 3rd place Team from a year ago had somehow taken a step back in 2014-15.. They began 2-2 but since then they’ve won 4 of 5 and for the first time this season they are in sole possession of first place in the East Division.  This Team is “Playoff Ready.”  They’ve been through more battles than just about anyone in the Hoops League and know what needs to be done to win in March and April..  They can be down right scary when they are fully clicking and it seems they are on the cusp of doing just that.. Can 2015 bring the first Crown in this storied Franchise’s history?

5. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 6-3, 2nd in South Division

Team Zimmerman just went through about as tough of a 3 Game stretch as any Team will have in the League this year.. Two weeks ago they dropped an OT heartbreaker to current #3 Team Harris and last week they came up just short with the undefeated Team Maione.. They lost those Games by a combined 6 points.. As luck would have it another top squad was waiting for them this past Sunday.. Team Horwitz.. Close Losses have a way of really teaching Teams things about themselves.. Team Zimmerman used the frustration of the past couple of weeks and catapulted that into a last second, one point W over Team Horwitz..  They head into Winter Break with a well earned sigh of relief and knowing they can win a tight one with some of the League’s best..

6. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 6-3, 2nd in West Division

Losing stinks. It’s never fun.. BUT..  Sometimes one can come at the right place and time for a key learning experience which can propel you on to greater things later on in bigger scenarios..  While it may not seem true since both are Undefeated currently through 9 Weeks of the Season.. Both Championship combatants from a season ago lost MULTIPLE times last year and neither would have gotten to where they were without learning from those.. Team Horwitz has not been in many close Games this Season.. They’ve been winning a lot and by a large margin more often than not as well.. Each great Team needs a close Loss to draw from so they can know what to do differently.. Sunday was that Game for Team Horwitz.. Team Zimmerman stole one from them and while it stings now, they’ll be thankful for it come March and April.  Quickly, also need to note that they joined Team Harris as a first year Hoops League squad who have bullied their way into the top of the pack.. They are real contenders and will continue to impress in 2015.

7. Team Kozin (Theory) – 5-4, 2nd in East Division

Winter Break is coming at a great time for Team Kozin.. Their schedules have been crazy the past few weeks and they haven’t been able to get the everyone out week to week.. It’s causing their rotations to constantly change and is getting them out of rhythm.. It’s a long season and these things happen.. The entire League knows what Team Kozin can do in the gym when the full crew is there and there’s no reason to think they won’t regain form in 2015 when the whole group is back together. Enjoy the R&R and see you guys in 2015.

8. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 5-4, 3rd in West Division

A win is a win is a win.. Over .500 and it feels so good.

9. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 3-6, 3rd in East Division

They end what was a trying first half of the season with a W.  Something that everyone should get used to as they are fully healthy for the first time all year and they will start 2015 with 4 of their first 5 Games against Teams that currently are below the .500 mark.  This crew has had a brutal schedule in 2014 but still managed to stay afloat even with the injuries.. They are a quality Team that have beaten many of Teams ranked above them in various past All Sports Series Leagues… In a couple short months it’s likely that many will forget their slow start..

10. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 3-6, tied for 2nd in North Division

Sunday played right into Team Shamberg’s hands and it was no surprise that they earned their 3rd W of the season.. These guys want the Game to stay in the 60s and slow down the pace.. They are a hard-working group that wants to wear Teams down on the defensive end which will hopefully lead to some open shots for them later in the Game.. They are another group that really needed some time to work in many off-season acquisitions and it seems that just now everyone is really finding their role.. Their schedule to start 2015 is going to be rough but it will ease up before the Playoffs and should allow for them to head into March and April with some confidence.

11. Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 3-6, tied for 2nd in North Division

Team Hernandez has added a couple players to their Free Agent crew in the past couple weeks and in many ways they’ve had to sort of hit the Reset button on the progress they had been making.. There’s a lot of talent with this group though and once everyone is comfortable with a role they have what it takes to beat top Teams in the League.  You are looking at a potential dark horse come Playoff Time.. Not many Teams have several scorers who can get a bucket like Team Hernandez.. It’s going to be interesting to see when that “it just clicked” moment happens.. When it does watch out.

12. Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 3-6, 3rd in South Division

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 1-8, 4th in North Division

They finish 2014 with a stinging loss to Team Bernkopf.. Obviously it would have been nice to have that one but what’s more important here is that they played well and as if they should have won.. They are continuing to make line-up tweaks, again as many just met during Week 1, and finally it seems they’ve landed on the right rotation.. 2015 will undoubtedly bring forth more Ws for Team Elrod who certainly has more talent than their record indicates.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 2-7, 4th in East Division

Lost a tough one with Team Shamberg to close 2014 and in many ways it summed up what they’d describe as a disappointing first half of the season.. However, let me remind you a bit about what this Team has done.. This is much of the same talented core that finished 1st in the Chicago Men’s League’s Regular Season this past Summer. Also, last year in the Hoops League they had a similar slow start that ended up with them sending multiple Teams home come Playoff time.. A slow start and/or low seed will not deter Team Holzman from getting the job done in 2015.

Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 1-8, 4th in West Division

We’re obviously 9 Weeks into the Season.. So.. Team Schwartz has faced 9 Teams this point.. In addition, some of the Teams who haven’t crossed paths with them in 2014-15, know them very well from last year.. Everyone take a second and ask yourself, “Do we really want to see these guys in the Playoffs?”  Their record is not good. There’s no sugar coating that.. They’ve lost some close ones and if a couple jumpers do/don’t go in they’d be sitting with a much better record — one that’s more indicative of their talent level.  Personally, it wouldn’t matter if they came in as the #16 Seed in the Playoffs (they won’t).. They’re going to win Games in March and April.  Count on it.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 2-7, 4th in South Division

In the past 4 weeks, Team Shaffer has faced Teams Maione, Harris and Horwitz.. That’s a really tough way to finish 2014 and you just have to keep some perspective when looking at some of the Teams’ records at the half way point..  Things will even out as we get farther along in the Season and there’s an expectation that Team Shaffer will be rising on up through the Rankings in 2015.

 

That’s it for this week (and year). Everyone have a safe, happy holiday season and new year.  See you in 2015!

– Holden