2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 12 (Jan. 17)

Updated: January 19, 2016

It was a chilly Sunday evening in Chicago for Week 12 of the Chicago Hoops League but with the shooting going on inside the gym, you’d never know it.. We had a cast of big time performances at FFC and with each passing week, those performances have greater meaning.. As we exit the Week 12 slate, we are now on the verge of entering the final trimester of the Regular Season. 12 weeks down. 7 remain. Last year, Week 13 was the wildest of the Regular Season, as Teams that were Ranked # 1,2,3 and 6 all fell..   Going to continue to issue a Reminder on the change to the Playoffs this year.. Here’s the Playoff Bracket.  Double Elimination and everyone starts with No Losses, seeding dictates at what point you start in the Bracket.. As you can see, there will be a race to land a spot in the Top 4.. There’s also a meaningful difference to get into the Top 7 and then to stay out of the Bottom 6.. All of those races will be monitored down the stretch. Also, the All-Star Ballot will be coming in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned.

Kyle Nelson wins the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his FORTY-THREE and TWENTY-FOUR on the night.  Just a reminder, we started this Award in Week 5, and from here on out a Player will receive a case of GT each week! Past Winners include: Brandon Lathon, Justin Bowen, Jeff Howard, Scott Campbell, Chris Wroblewski, Brandon Maslar, Benny Lalez.

Here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video (which will be exclusively for the Hoops League for the next handful of weeks!) powered by Orunje On-Demand Healthcare!  People have asked about Orunje.. Essentially you can get a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner out to your home/office within 2 hours. No need to waste time going in anymore..  OK Let’s Rank ‘Em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (popchips) – 11-1, Currently in 1st

As we prepare for the final stretch of the Regular Season, Team Maione has taken sole position of the #1 spot in the Standings, the exact spot they found themselves in a year ago (at the time they were an unbelievable 12-0).  With that and along with Team Lalez losing twice in three weeks earns them the #1 spot in the Power Rankings as well. Through 12 Weeks they are also the highest scoring Team in the League and the only crew averaging over 90 points per Game. Incredible.  They are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself though, as last year, it was Week 13 where they suffered their first loss.  Team Maione has won 7 in a row and will face Team Shamberg next Sunday Night. This is one they have been looking forward to as it was Team Shamberg who knocked them out of the Final4 in the Chicago Summer Hoops League about 6 months ago.. Congrats on climbing back up to the top of the Power Rankings mountain. Well deserved.


2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer0 – 10-2, Currently tied for 2nd

This is the highest Team Bulwa has ever appeared in the Hoops League Power Rankings (in 2.5 years) and they truly deserve it. They have the longest active Win-streak in the League at 8.  They have won in a number of different ways and against the League’s very best.. This past Sunday they had what could be the biggest W in their Hoops League runs (remember many have won Championships in Summer Leagues).. They defeated the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez and it was no fluke.  They had 3 scorers with over 20 points: Nick Winbush (who had 11 boards as well), Zack Novak and Chris Stamas.  They now have wins against Team Harris and Team Lalez just in the past 4 weeks. They are ascending and that’s a very scary thought for a Team with this much talent. Team UC Booth is next.


3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 10-2, Currently tied for 2nd

Another quality W for Team Zimmerman has landed them in the #3 spot following Week 12.  They defeated Team Goldin soundly on Sunday Night in a Game that predictably had some fireworks, as is often the case when these two Teams tussle. Kyle Nelson’s huge night is documented above but it bares repeating.. This guy just continues to show-up week after week after week and is just special to watch.  While it’s not at the length of the Team Maione or Team Bulwa W-Streaks, they have carved out their own 4 Game W run and have looked great so far in 2016. The winless Team Gainski is next for them in Week 13.


4. Team Lalez (Orunje) – 10-2, Currently tied for 2nd

This is where the free-fall ends for the 2x Defending Champs.  Here’s the challenge with the Power Rankings.. It’s a weekly exercise that has to take into account more than just the past week or two into account in order to actually rank the Teams.. The Champs started at 9-0 and of course have been the last Team standing for 2 years running.. Does losing 2 Games in 3 weeks (to top talent) really mean anything to them in their journey to get to 3 straight Crowns? Of course not.  If we were ranking Championship hopes, they likely would still be #1, considering no one has been able to bounce them from the Playoffs. Ever.  That being said, it is a weekly excercise and while they’ve dropped a couple Games in January the Teams around them are going on serious runs including Team Bulwa, who they lost to on Sunday Night. They are going to be just fine, especially Captain Benny can continue to shoot the rock as he has in the past few weeks.. He’s giving them a significant 3rd scoring source after the usual suspects of Dave Gershenzon and Scott Campbell.  They need to forget the past couple of weeks and get their minds focused on a Championship Rematch and Orunje Game of the Week with Team Kozin.


5. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 10-2, Currently tied for 2nd

They were able to shake-off the heartbreaker against Team Sternberg from Week 11 by downing Team Shamberg on Sunday Night.  It was a good Team W for them as they stay in the clump of Teams tied for 2nd, just a Game back of Team Maione.. What Team Harris has, that no other Team in the League possesses, is a key victory over Team Maione (Week 5).. Something to certainly keep in mind as the top Teams keep jockeying for position in the Standings.  They will face off with the improving Team Schwartz in Week 13 and then get the Free Agents before taking on Team Lalez in a showdown in Week 15.


6. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 9-3, Currently in 6th

Yes, they’ve dropped 2 in a row.. Losing to Team Zimmerman though is nothing to get too down about however.. They’ve been a bit shorthanded the past couple of weeks and while everyone has weeks where they are down in numbers, it’s come at a difficult stretch of their schedule.. They need to simply shake off the past couple of weeks and just get ready to go again on Sunday vs. Team Cohen.. They are still right there in terms of finishing in the Top 4 of the Standings and have the talent to run the table.. Just need to get back to doing all the little things right.. What made them so dangerous in the first months of the season was their willingness to make the extra pass.. They’d always been tough to score on but their Offense had taken the leap.. In the past couple weeks they’ve reverted back to many more one on one takes and they are significantly more dangerous when the ball is moving.. After Team Cohen is Team Bulwa.. Time to get it back on track.


7. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 8-4, Currently in 7th

Team Sternberg continues to Win. 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5.  As many of the tier Teams have been meeting in recent weeks, there is ground to be gained and that’s just what they’ve done.. They are now just a Game back of Team Goldin in 6th and they are just a couple Games behind the conglomerate of Teams knotted up for 2nd in the Standings.  Through 12 Weeks, they are also the best Defensive unit in the League (despite their lack of true rim protector) as they are allowing under 65 points per Game. Not too shabby for this bunch who are going through their first ride in the Chicago Hoops League (and the youngest Team in the field). In the next two weeks, they’ll face emerging Teams Gutman and Tucci.. Both of who aren’t too far behind in the Standings. They’ll need to stay hot or they may lose all the ground they’ve made up in the past few weeks..


8. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 6-6, Currently tied for 9th

Coming in at #8 is Team Gutman, who takes their highest Ranking of the Season thus far.  Much like #7 Team Sternberg, their Week 13 opponent, Team Gutman has won 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5.  So something will have to give next Sunday Night.. Marin Kukoc had 34 in this one.  They are playing their best ball of the season and it’s coming at the right the time.  While their W against Team Goldin in Week 11 was extremely impressive it can be argued that their W against Team Gainksi on Sunday Night was more important.. Here’s why.. They’ve been playing up and down to competition all year long.. Wins are too hard to come by in this League so you have to take care of the Teams that you should beat.. On Sunday Night, they did just that, and it could be a really corner-turn for them.  They are going to be a scary Team come April.


9. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 7-5, Currently in 8th

Almost every Team in the Chicago Hoops League has gone through a rough patch thus far.. Team UC Booth is currently in a funk, dropping 3 of their last 4.. It was an odd night for them as their normally stellar Defense deserted them (they are allowing the 2nd fewest points per Game as a unit).  Fortunately for them, they are one of the League’s best and when you are 6-2 through 8 weeks, a 1-3 stretch doesn’t hurt as much as it might some other groups.. They are still well above .500 and going to be just fine.    They do happen to have a very tough test coming next Sunday Night with #2 Team Bulwa, but we’ve seen them beat the elite Teams already.. Perfect opportunity to have a statement Game.


10. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 5-7, Currently tied for 11th

UH OH.  Don’t look now, but the Runners-Up from a year ago are getting healthy and playing their brand of basketball.  That is NOT good news for the rest of the League.  Matt Wolk double doubled with 15 points and 12 boards. Mitch Bouie did as well with 20 and 11. Randall Hampton led them in scoring with 21 on the night against Team James-Hagari.  This is a group that has made a habit of sending Teams home come Playoff time and all of a sudden they’ve won a couple Games in a row and are just a Game back in the Standings of being in the top half.. What a difference a few weeks makes in the scheme of things.. Team Kozin is looking as good as they have all year and next week’s opponents have lost 2 of 3.. Team Kozin will enter a Championship Rematch next week which will of course act as the Game of the Week with Team Lalez..


11. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 6-6, Currently tied for 9th

Even steven.. They have been hovering just above and below the .500 mark all season and Sunday Night’s L brought them to 6-6 through 12 Games.. Their Points Per Game and Points Against are also remarkably similar as both are within decimals of 71 per Game.. Shot selection seems to be a key factor in their Wins and Losses.  When they don’t force it, more often than not, they excel.. This past week,  they lost to last year’s Runners-Up, so no shame in that.. Even at .500 they are still in the League’s top half of the Standings and as we enter the Regular Season’s final third they are a threat to crash a top seed come April.. They are still right there. Team Apuli, fresh off their first W of the season, is up next for these guys.


12. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 5-7, Currently tied for 11th

Much of what was said about Team Kozin above can be echoed here for Team Tucci. This was a group that really shined a year ago and a lack of depth has hindered their record a bit in 2015-16.. That all seems as if it’s about to change.. They are Winners of 4 of their last 6 Games since starting 1-5 and that includes knocking off the 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez to start the 2016 calendar year.. This past week they took care of Team Free Agent in a nail-biter that could have gone either way.. This group rounding into form at this time is NOT good news for the rest of the League.. Even more alarming is they got this W without Captain and leading point man Alan Tucci.. Brandon Smith stepped up in a big way with 31 points on Sunday Night.  In Week 13, they will take on another ascending group, Team Silver.


13. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 5-7, Currently tied for 11th

As mentioned just above in the Team Tucci section, the Free Agents suffered another close Loss… Had a possession or two gone differently they’d be sitting at .500 through 12 Weeks and ranked higher.. Even after a few Losses to start 2016, , it’s evident they are not rattled, after talking with a few of them post-Game. Nor should they be.  It took them time to learn to play together and then it has taken more time to learn how to properly play with who has turned into the biggest low-post threat in the League – Tim Szatko.. Just as they were getting comfortable playing from inside, out, they had to play without the big-man and it through them for a loop.. Tred Dean was great in this one as he scored 20.. He has that in him and may need to be more assertive on the offensive end as the season wages on.. They look to snap their skid on Sunday Night vs. another 5-7 group, Team Malvin.


14. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-7, Currently tied for 11th

They almost pulled it off on Sunday Night.. They were leading by double figures at one point against #1 Team Maione. In the end, they just couldn’t get a key bucket in the closing moments and it allowed Team Maione to get their 11th W of the season.. It’s been said before and while there are no moral victories around here, it will be a reminder for Team Schwartz come Playoff time that they can topple the very best the League has to offer.  They excelled in the paint with a host of bigs including Greg Gonzalez who made his debut in this iteration of the Hoops League (he’s a member of their Summer Hoops League squad) and made his presence known with 25 points. It’s not going to get any easier for them in the coming weeks as they have #5 Team Harris this week and then last year’s Runners-Up Team Kozin in Week 14…


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 1-11, Currently tied for 18th

YES! YES! YES!  FINALLY, Team Apuli has come back to the Winner’s Circle!  In what must have seemed like an absolute eternity for them, they can now flip the page on the first few months of the Hoops League and get back to what they’ve done here for years.. Get Ws and go about their business… For those, thinking, “okay well who did they beat?” — Well, they had a comeback Win over 7-5 Team UC Booth who has been excellent this year.. They could have given up but refused to do so and got the monkey off their backs.. Dan Stone had 37 and Rob Kamentsev had 30 as they got back to what has made them successful in the past.. Dominating the paint.  This was a GREAT W and one that can really propel them on a significant run to finish out the Regular Season.. They look to make it 2 in a row vs. Team James-Hagari.


Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 3-9, Currently tied for 16th

It was not a great week to be down several key pieces, but unfortunately for them, that was the hand they were dealt.. Team Sternberg is as crafty as they come and make it really difficult for Teams to score (they are allowing the fewest PPG in the League) and Team Cohen just lacked a few playmakers to create easy baskets. One positive in this was the concerted effort to make Kyle Daniels a focal point once again.. We’ve seen him be dominant in the past and in the early part of this season the Team has gone away from him too often.. It makes sense as they are trying to get a new roster acclimated but there are few guys in the League with his skill set.. If they are going to make a second-half surge (as we predicted months ago), he has to be a key component.. They will get #4 Team Goldin, coming off of 2 straight Losses, in Week 13.


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-12, Currently in 20th

While the score won’t indicate as much.. The Roster here is coming into form.. They lost a couple guys early and have been playing short-handed for much of the Season.. They are getting some back and adding one or two more so by Playoff time they should have a complete Team that should push unsuspecting Teams.. In case they needed any added motivation.. Team Apuli who had been tied with them in the Standings picked up a W last week, so in terms of short-term goals.. Get back to even with them.. #3 Team Zimmerman up next.


Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 5-7, Currently tied for 11th

They’d likely be the first to admit Sunday was not their best showing.. They just didn’t play their Game and it didn’t take long for Team Silver to pull away.. It’s remarkable what Nate Johnson does for this group and he wasn’t in attendance on Sunday Night.  For them, it has to be on to the next one, as they have the Free Agents in Week 13.  This is a group they are tied with in the congested middle Standings and a Game that will surely have Playoff implications.


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title) – 1-11, Currently tied for 18th

Lost in what was an eventful week was Team Shamberg’s upset attempt over Team Harris to conclude the night.. They hung with the top-flight Team Harris throughout the Game and had a few more shots gone down, would have pulled it off. Dan Turner had a nice night with 24 points and Captain Shamberg made his return as well..  They are obviously missing a few key ingredients from the Championship Team this summer but much of that squad is still here and they just need a glimpse of hope to turn everything around.. Unfortunately, that may need to wait a week as they have #1 Team Maione up next.. This is a Rivalry that goes back to many of their College days and stranger things have certainly happened..


Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 3-9, Currently tied for 16th

Likely their most impressive W to date this season.  They really took it to Team Malvin for entirety of their Game with Team Malvin en route to winning by 25+.  Get used to the name Yazin Akkawi who is quickly headed toward Playoff eligibility after being added to the Roster late in 2015.. He had 20 points and 12 Rebounds in this one. David Holmes had 20 and 10 to also have a double double.  They are looking stronger as a unit and have gone 2-2 in their last 4.. They have 7 Games left to make a couple Games on a handful of Teams above them in the Standings.. That needs to be their focus. Team Tucci is next.


That’s it for Week 12. Have a great week!