2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 1 (Oct. 18)

Updated: October 20, 2015

169 Days have passed since Team Lalez claimed Back2Back Chicago Hoops League Crowns all the way back on May 3, 2015.  We’ve seen a lot happen since then.. Team Zimmerman cashed in for their first Championship, a Chicago Men’s Summer League Crown.. The MLB founded a fun new Franchise in Chicago… A new and improved Team Shamberg also won their first Crown, in the first edition of the Chicago Summer Hoops League.   The Bears are who we thought they were.. and finally, as of Sunday.. The Chicago Hoops League is BACK and this time around powered by Orunje On-Demand Healthcare!

Quickly, for those Playing in their first All Sports Series League.. Here’s what to expect from the weekly Power Rankings.. Each week we’ll take a statistical look at the Teams and Rank them 1-14 with the 6 UnRanked Teams listed alphabetically.. You can also count on a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video (<– Click right there!)   Also, if you have ever want to find any info on the League.. Go to Sport Specific League > Chicago Hoops League.. Everything you’d need from Stats to Schedules to Standings etc. will be found there..

Now to the fun stuff.. Normally in All Sports Series, there is a big talent infusion from Year 1 to Year 2.. Teams realize just how good the competition is and do work in the off-season to get better..  We saw that happen last year with the Chicago Hoops League.. The League then was 16 Teams strong and as deep as any League anywhere.. Somehow, the jump from Year 2 to Year 3, has even exceeded that..

The League, now 20 Teams strong, is deeper and more talented than ever.  We have returned members from each and every one of the 16 Teams from a year ago (some have switched Teams) and in addition have added a handful of squads ready to make a name for themselves.. Based on Sunday, it may not take them very long to do so!  Enough of the intro.. Let’s Rank ’em!


Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

Where to start but with the Reigning, Defending, Back2Back Champs of the Chicago Hoops universe.. Listen close everyone, Team Lalez has earned the #1 spot and then some.. In All Sports Series there has been 1 dynasty since the League’s inception back in the Summer of 2010.  They have 4 Crowns to their name.. More than any other group.. 2 Summer Titles and most recently the Back2Backs in Hoops..

However, this off-season was certainly a tumultuous one for the favorites.. They’ve lost former League MVP Eytan Azaria and multi-time All Star Ben Lazarov as both have ventured to the West Coast for jobs.. Congrats and Good Luck to both.. With those giant shoes to fill, Team Lalez needed to do a bit of recruiting (which will be a theme in this Power Rankings).. For Week 1, you can say the additions are fitting in just fine.. Rookie Scott Campbell went for a Triple Double (16pts, 10A, 15R) in his Debut.  Newly-minted full-timer Dennis McKinney also had a Double Double in Week 1.  It wasn’t all about the Rookies though in the first week.. With much of their scoring now residing in California, some of the old guard need to shoulder more of the scoring burden.. Enter All Star Dave Gershenzon who has long been a stabilizing force for the Champs.. All he did was score 46 in Week 1 to set the tone and tempo for his club.  The Champs may have a different look this year, but they are still the Champs.  Good Luck.


2. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

It’s been a long off-season for last year’s Runners-Up who have been eagerly anticipating a chance to get back on to the Hoops court and start back on their journey to the Crown.. #2 Team Kozin had an incredible 2014-15 season that ended in the Championship Game against Team Lalez. It’s no secret they are among the favorites to win the whole thing this year and for great reason…

They were apart of the Game of the Night on Sunday as it took 2OT for them to finish off Team Apuli 82-78.  Primetime scorer Josh Davis netted a free throw to tie the Game at the end of Regulation and then did much of the damage in both OT sessions to guide Team Kozin to the W. He finished with 32 points.  Team Kozin also made some additions in the off-season including Hajji Martin who killed it in the paint on Sunday Night. He had a Double Double with 23 points and 16 boards. Their size had already given Teams fits and now with the addition of Martin, they are going to be nearly unstoppable down low.  Wow.


3. Team Maione (popchips) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

You may be sensing a pattern with the Rankings, and yes they resemble the finish to the 2014-15 Season.. The 3rd Team involved on Championship Night was the Team who took home the bronze.. Team Maione.. They’ve had 2 incredible seasons in the Hoops League.. Including getting to the Championship Game in 2013-14.. They have been second to only Team Lalez in overall Wins in those 2 years.. They are firmly among the elite and along with much of the League they made a few transactions in the off-season.

A core member, Josh Bartelstein, got a new job in Detroit (good luck!) and will not be playing this Season.. However they filled his role and Rookie Andy Timson went for 21 in his first night.  Multi-time All Star Chris Wroblewski also did what he normally does and went for 19 points as well.. They seemed to be locked in, which falls inline with their normal path during the Regular Season.. They were the last unbeaten team a year ago and Team Bulwa (more on them later) was unable to change that on Sunday Night.  Get used to them at the top of the Rankings.


4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

Team Zimmerman got their first taste of All Sports Series gold when they won the Chicago Men’s League (All Sports Series)..  The monkey is off their backs and now the Team that finished #4 last year in the Hoops League can make a run at crashing the Championship Night party.  Quickly before we get to the one big acquisition they made in the off-season.. Want to sing their praises for winning 3-straght ELIMINATION GAMES back in April in one night only to get knocked out in their 4th. Single most impressive thing that has ever been done in All Sports Series.. While they didn’t come away with the Crown last Spring, that toughness was showcased throughout the Summer..

Now to the off-season acquisition.. Last year, many Rookies had impacts on the League.. None more so than Dave Altman who played with Team Hernandez. He was the Leading Scorer for much of the Season and was a key cog in their Cinderella Playoff-run. While many of those Guys are suiting up for Team James-Hagari (below), Altman joined Team Zimmerman over the Summer,  and may be the piece they’ve been missing to get over the hill in the Hoops League. He had 21 and 11 Rebounds. Perennial All-Everything Kyle Nelson went for 29 and 20 to start the year. Esto Vega went for 20+ as well.. So there’s that. As a unit they posted the high score of the Night with 115 and looked as good as ever.  Welcome Back.


5. Team Goldin (Student City) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

What do you know.. Team who finished #5 last season, Ranked #5 to start the year.. Playoff Ws mean a whole lot in the Hoops League.. Not much else to say.. Team Goldin just like the Teams Ranked #1-4 earned their spot in the Top 5 after doing a number on Teams in ELIMINATION GAMES last season.. They’ve long been among the top squads in the Hoops League and while they haven’t grabbed that elusive crown (yet) they did take part in Championship Night in 2013-14, finishing 3rd..

Also in keeping with the theme, Team Goldin, some big-time off-season acquisitions.. New big man, Nick Baumgartner went for 19 points and added 9 boards.. Past All Star and Team Goldin mainstay Alex Filin went for 15 and 7 as well.. Conspicuous by his absence (on the court, he was there too root on his guys) was core member Garrett Staniec who is rehabbing from an off-season ACL injury.. He’ll be back before you know it.. Him and Nick are going to make a scary combo in the paint.. This group has always gotten it’s best results when locking on D.. They won the lowest-scoring Game of Week 1.. Just how they like it.. As they took the lead from Team Sternberg late in the 2nd half and held on in the closing seconds.. Can comfortably say this is the best version of Team Goldin we’ve seen.. Which is scary.


6. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

Coming in at #6 to open the Power Rankings is Team Harris, who entered last year’s Playoffs, as the #2 overall seed only to see their Playoff journey come to an end a bit earlier than expected.. Much of that early exit was attributed to a depleted Roster down the stretch.. Back in 2015-16, from NYC where he helped DoorDash (NEW SPONSOR!) get going out there, is All Star Dylan Richter. Team Harris just couldn’t get going last year after his departure and it was great to see him back out there with the guys..  He had 21 on Night 1.  Team Harris has a few Rookies of their own and one definitely stands out above the rest.. Jeff Howard is a legit 6’8″ and posted a Double Double on his first night.. They now have a legit big to combat many of the other Top Teams in the paint, and should provide more open looks for their great shooters.. They got off to a hot start against Team Cohen and never looked back.


7. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

The #5 seed entering the Playoffs a year ago, was Team Horwitz.. They are back this year, just under new management.. As 2014-15 League MVP Alan Tucci has taken the reigns while former Captain Jon Horwitz recovers from a shoulder injury.. He’ll be back in the Spring.. They too have made a few changes to the Roster and if Sunday Night is any indication they look stronger than ever.. Newcomer Brandon Smith had 30 points in debut on 60% shooting from the field while Captain Tucci added 21 of his own.. We’ll look back on this Week 1 W over Team Gutman in a month or two and be even more impressed.. That’s going to be very good Team in time and Team Tucci looked dominant against them.  Teams Ranked #1-7 this week are the top tier from a year ago and everyone looked great.


8. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker Homes Maroon) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

The UC Booth squad is back for their second season (last year played as Team Levitan) with a much deeper Roster in Year 2. A year ago they got off to a slow start in the W/L column despite giving several of the top Teams a run for their money.. Their record come Playoff time impacted their Playoff run and didn’t allow for them to really make a real dent.  It was clear from Sunday Night, they aren’t going to allow that to happen again..  They took it to Team Shamberg in Week 1, a squad that is fresh off a Summer League crown, and won by double digits. Victor Ojeleye had 21 points on just 15 shots in his first All Sports Series Game while Brandon Maslar was even more impressive with 20 points on only 11 shots in his debut. These two acquisitions fit in perfectly and are going to make UC Booth a real threat.


9. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st

The first of the “New” squads to come into the Rankings is the Free Agent Team..  Right from the get-go many will be taken aback by this as it normally takes Free Agent Teams a few weeks to mesh with one another, but this group is going to be different. They are LOADED with talent.  LaVar Merrell led the scoring barrage with 21 and 13 boards. Dan Leonte had 16 in his debut and the only All Sports vet to have played in Week 1, Tredrick Dean (comes with Madison League Championship experience) had 11 and 7 dimes.   This was not a fluke.. They won by 30 and were missing a few key pieces as well.  They are only going to get better with time as well.. Welcome to the League!


10. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 1-0, Currently tied for 1st 

The final Team to get a W in Week 1 (and to no fault of their own) comes in at #10 this Week.. Team James-Hagari.  While the name may be different, Christian James and Eric Hernandez were key cogs in the Team Hernandez group from a year ago.. Daniel Martin also appeared in Games for them.. They picked up Mikey Gendell from last year’s Team Elrod and have combined with a few others to form what should be a very dangerous crew going forward.. It was their first time running together as a unit and similarly to the Free Agent Team, they wasted little time gelling and really were solid from the jump. All Sports Rookie Jeff Shukis had 27 and 14 in his first night while Co-Captain Christian James had 17 and 12 boards as well.  This is a good Team that may have the advantage of flying under the radar for a bit..


11. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Team Bulwa (last season’s Team Bernkopf) is the highest Ranked Team to lose in Week 1.  Now, they certainly didn’t suffer the closest Loss.  In fact, they pretty much got run out of the building by Rival Team Maione.  They’d be the first to admit it.  This #11 Ranking is more of a bet on their future than what occurred Sunday Night.  What you wouldn’t hear from them, because this group doesn’t make excuses, is that they were without half their Roster for Week 1 and many new additions that will be making big impressions on the League very soon.. Just take this for what it’s worth.. They have an Elite Roster.. They are going to be one of the best Teams in the League.. If there’s a “middle of the pack” Team making a leap to Championship Night, the safe money is on Team Bulwa.. Let’s move on..


12. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Team Apuli came oh so close to pulling a shocker on Sunday Night. They battled with #2 Team Kozin for 44 minutes and at various times, including the final moments of Regulation, it seemed like they were going to leave Week 1 with the upset W.. With about 10 seconds to go they led by 3 and got to the line.. They missed a Free Throw that could have sealed it and Team Kozin got the board.. Josh Davis got the ball in his hands following a TO and drew a foul on a would be game-tying 3 with 6 seconds to go.. He’d nail the clutch Free Throw and eventually Team Kozin got the W in 2OT.  Here’s what we can take away from this one.. Team Apuli was short-handed in this one as well.. Without their big man Dan Stone and still went toe to toe with the 2014-15 Runners-Up. Eddie Tellez had 30 and Tyler Austin had 24. This crew can win ball games.. Just need to close out them out..


13. Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

#13 for Week 1 is the 2015 Chicago Hoops Summer League Champs, Team Shamberg.  Unfortunately, they were unable to keep the entire crew in tact from the Summer as that group really played well with one another but they’ve kept much of the group together and added a few key pieces as well.. This is a group that is going to win Games this year.. They were without leading scorer Mikey Kaufman on Sunday Night and with him (and Dan Turner) they may have found themselves in the Winner’s Circle against the UC Booth crew. Jake Preskill went off in their absence for 31 points on 65% from the field.  They lost a few Games this Summer and always seemed to bounce back.. They will be just fine.


14. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Final Team into the Rankings this Week is another “New” squad to the Hoops League.  However, Team Sternberg, comes with a lot of big time All Sports Series experience.. Captain Sam has been apart of 3 Championship Summer Teams and they grabbed the #1 seed in the tough Chicago Men’s League this Summer before falling to Team Zimmerman in the Championship.  They can play with the big boys and in a few weeks when they get their whole crew to FFC many are going to realize it.  Sleep on them if you want but you’d be doing yourselves a disservice.  They took Team Goldin to the brink on Sunday Night and could have won it.  It’s going to be fun to watch them knock off a top Team or two in the coming weeks..


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Captain Andy has ventured away from last season’s Team Apuli and took with him Kyle Daniels and Bryan Rosenberg.. Along for the ride are many of his Summer running-mates in the Chicago Men’s League and finalizing the Roster are the Brothers Haack and Jake Shlofrock from perennial Summer League favorite, Team Shlofrock.  They have an extremely tough to schedule to start and their Record in the first stretch of the season may suffer as a result.. Here’s the thing, they are really really good.  In Week 7, no matter the record, you can count on that praise to still be here. They are a really good, athletic, deep and most important, versatile Team.   A late-season surge into the Playoffs is expected for them..


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Team Gainski is appearing in their first Chicago Hoops League but not their first League with All Sports Series. Many of these guys were apart of the first Chicago Hoops Summer League a couple months back so they know what it’s all about.  They came across a very talented Team on Sunday Night, which is going to happen with the great competition this League has to offer. They have plenty of time to make up for it though. Patrick Flynn led the way with 15 points.  Look for them to get it going next week..


Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

There are a few Teams that are much better than their Week 1 Result will show.. Team Gutman is comprised of many All Sports Series vets, and a few past Champs.. Most have not gone through the Chicago Hoops League before and Sunday Night was certainly not the debut they’d hoped for.. That being said this group, who is playing as a unit for the first time has everything that you’d want for a Championship Team.  Yes. Championship.  No they didn’t look great on Sunday Night but it’s one Game and they are positively better than they showed.  Danny Cowin (formerly of Team Holzman/Silver) had 15 and 9 while Rookie Marin Kukoc a Double Double with 15 and 10. Their size is legit.. Just need to get the footing..


Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Team Malvin is one of the more inexperienced Tams in the Chicago Hoops League.  Only Captain Michael has taken part in All Sports Series before and it may take them a bit to adjust to the style of play.. It’s hard to really gauge what they have after just one week, considering they only had 5 and went up against the powerhouse that is Team Zimmerman.  It’s one Game. Oh well. On to the next.  This may seem like a crazy result when we look back at Week 1 in a few months.. They will be better and as early as next Sunday.


Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

One of the Chicago Hoops League’s original squads.. They went up against the 2x Defending Champs in Week 1, which is not necessarily a great pull for Opening Week.. But it should only get easier from here on out..Jon Sider had an amazing Week 1 with 32 points on just 18 shots. Austin Brown also had 26 on the night.  Here’s the skinny for Team Schwartz.. They have a good enough Roster to compete (and have) with the Top Teams in the League. When they get 7 guys to FFC on Sunday Nights they are hard to beat.. They do often play with 5 though and that often becomes a recipe for disaster.. If they can get their depth there every week and avoid offensive lulls, then they are one of the best Teams in the League.


Team Silver (Kelly Parker Homes Gold) – 0-1, Currently tied for 11th

Remember, alphabetical order for the UnRanked Teams here.. This is a group that might need 2-3 weeks to gel, but they have a lot of talent. Maybe more 3pt shooters on this Team than any other in the League.  What has been Team Holzman in the past has turned into Team Silver.. Along with the old Holzman core comes a few Rookies and a big off-season acquisition of former Captain Ian Shaffer.. He’ll bring in some nice veteran leadership for a Team that will miss former Captain Andrew’s locker room presence.. They lost a close one with Team James-Hagari in Week 1 but were in it the whole time and again they are going to improve.  Rookie Sean Cassel went for 20 and 10 in his first night. Not a bad debut.  Captain EJ and Co. are going to sneak up on some people by shooting them right out of the gym. You can take that to the Bank.


That’s it for this Week. See you back for Week 2 on Sunday Night! Go Cubs!