2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 5 (Nov. 15)

Updated: November 17, 2015

Five Weeks in and just two squads remain Undefeated after our big Game of the Week on Sunday Night. We’ll go over who won the battle of the 4-0s in just a bit.. Just behind those two 5-0 squads are a handful of 4-1 Teams, including a couple that no one would have expected back in October.. Also, we are going to start rewarding the Greater Than Performance of the Week.. One lucky Player will take home a case of Greater Than each week (curtesy of Jon Sider of Team Schwartz and co.).  Week 5’s GT Performance of the Week goes to Brandon Lathon of Team Goldin.  He had 30 points, 6 dimes and 17 boards to help get Team Goldin (StudentCity) to 4-1 this week. Congrats!

Here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video 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 Lalez (Orunje) – 5-0, Currently tied for 1st

They were admittedly not at full strength this week after celebrating for the Wedding of former Teammate, Ben Lazarov (congrats to Laz!), and it showed in their sluggish first half.. They just couldn’t really find their legs.. However as the second half progress they found away to pull out the W against Team Shamberg as they so often do. Benny Lalez and Dave Gershenzon both hit key shots down the stretch to help them pull away..  They are one of the last two Undefeated Teams, a feat that they are certainly accustomed to.. They’ll face Team Silver in Week 6, a squad that has just 1 Win this year but has been in every Game.. Can’t sleep on them.


2. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 5-0, Currently tied for 1st

3. Team Maione (popchips) – 4-1, Currently tied for 3rd

Going to take the #2 and #3 Teams together this week as they both just appeared in the Game of the Week powered by Orunje, in a contest that lived up to it’s billing for sure.. Entering Week 5, both squads were at 4-0 and we were ready for a true clash of titans early on in the Season.  These are the same two Teams that finished 1st and 2nd a year ago in the Regular Season.  They both know how to Win.  This Game had several lead changes and was extremely fun to watch.  In the end, it was the Team who had more depth at the Gym on Sunday Night taking the W (as is often the case when the top Teams get together).. Team Harris got a couple more shots to go late and managed to stay unbeaten.. They also grab the #2 spot in the Power Rankings, flip-flopping with now #3 Team Maione.  We can only hope these Two Teams tangle again come Playoff time.. Just a fun pairing and an extremely well played Game.  Team Harris gets Team Gutman and Team Maione gets Team Cohen in Week 6.


4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 4-1, Currently tied for 3rd

Somehow Team Zimmerman seemingly is flying under the radar a bit.. Which is just how they like it.  They’ve ripped off 4 of 5 to start the year, with an OT L to Team Maione as their only blemish.. Meanwhile, they are taking it to very good squads in what has been a difficult schedule, and still here they are at 4-1.  While they are not getting the fanfare as some of the other top squads, they might just be the most complete Team from top to bottom.  Each Player knows their role and when you watch them play you can see just how comfortable they are with one another. Captain Jack’s off-season acquisition of Dave Altman has fit right in and they are truly humming.. They have the verging on desperate Team Tucci in Week 6. Should be a fun one.


5. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 4-1, Currently tied for 3rd

As mentioned at the top, Brandon Lathon had himself a Game on Sunday Night. He had 30, 6 and 17 on the night and really helped propel the vastly under-manned Team Goldin to their 4th W in 5 Games.  Looking ahead at their schedule a bit.. They need to take advantage of where they are at right now.. In the next two weeks they play Teams that have just 2 combined Wins thus far before a potentially gigantic match-up in 3 weeks with Team Free Agent who are also sitting at 4-1 currently. There’s a real shot both Teams enter that Game at 6-1.


6. UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 4-1, Currently tied for 3rd

Now at 4-1 and looking like they are improving each and every week.. This UC Booth squad is the real deal gentlemen.. They won by 20+ on Sunday Night against a Team James-Hagari squad that already possess a couple Ws this year.. No slouches.. They did it going away and really the margin of victory could have been greater.. Victor Ojeleye had another Double Double with 24 and 11 boards.  Brandon Maslar had 19 and 11 to help out as well.  Captain Ed White and Ryan Winiarski also had double digits in this one.  Team Schwartz is up next in Week 6 for them.


7. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo) – 4-1, Currently tied for 3rd

It was mentioned last week in the open but it’s too fun a story not to repeat.. Maybe the best surprise of so far in this young Hoops Season is this Free Agent bunch who now find themselves at 4-1 and they are only improving as a Team. They defeated Team Silver on Sunday Night behind strong performances from Wole Aregbesola who had 19 and Jordan Kent who had 15 in the W.  They have Team James-Hagari in Week 6, who have lost 3 straight since Winning their first two Games, before a Week 7 match-up with the 2x Defending Champs.  The whole League is eager to see that one at as it will serve a real barometer for the Free Agents.  Can’t wait.


8. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 3-2, Currently tied for 8th

Back in the Winner’s circle this Week is Team Kozin. They defeated Team Tucci on Sunday Night in what was a fun and mostly offensive Game.  They’ve managed to go Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win to open the 2015-16 season and will look to buck the trend next week and start to really get on a roll.  This is a Team that can beat anyone in the League on any night and as long as they can avoid first-half lulls, they will start reeling off the Ws…  They’ll take on another 3-2 Team in what should be the Game of the Week, #9…


9. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 3-2, Currently tied for 8th

Gone are the days where Team Bulwa (Team Bernkopf/Harmelech in the past) are going to Win Games in the 60s.  This is a different bunch with a different style and they are going to put up points!  They defeated Team Apuli on Sunday Night by the score of 111-100 and it really showcased just how much Offense they’ve added in the past few months.. 3 players who weren’t on the Roster at this point last year have been all the difference in the world.. Zack Novak had 31, Zack Meuser had 30 and Nick Winbush had 26 and 13 boards. Obviously, they are also giving up more points than they are accustomed to but that comes with the territory of getting out and running. Faster possessions means more opportunities with the ball for the other Team.. Really intrigued for them to take on Team Kozin next week!


10. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 3-2, Currently tied for 8th

Back up and over .500 is Team Sternberg who leaps up into the #10 spot following Week 5.  They really looked excellent out there on Sunday Night as they got a 40pt W, which isn’t seen much in the Hoops League.  It took a few weeks for them to get their feet wet and really adjust to the style of play that takes place in the Hoops League compared to other All Sports Series Leagues, but now over a month in, they are hitting their stride.. Tyler Max had his biggest night thus far as he went for 28 in the W. They will take on Team Gainski in Week 6, a squad still searching for their first W.


11. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 2-3, Currently tied for 11th

Their tough Schedule to start 2015-16 continued on Sunday Night as they faced Team Zimmerman (and will continue further in Week 6 with Team Maione and Week 7 with Team Bulwa).  There’s still a whole lot to like here however… They didn’t play nearly their best ball and they still were in the Game with a handful of minutes remaining with one of the League’s best squads. They are still getting used to playing with one another and the learning curve is hurting them against some really stiff competition.. Here’s the thing, they can just split the next two Games and get to 3-4 through 7 weeks.. The toughest part of their schedule will be in the rear view and they can really get rolling through the last 12.. Even at 2-5, they are going to be just fine. This is another group with many new faces and more than anything, they just need time to gel…


12. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 2-3, Currently tied for 11th

They were riding high coming into Sunday Night, after last week’s amazing W in the final seconds over Team Kozin.. Here’s the thing though in this Hoops League.. Everyone can play and if you don’t bring your best you are susceptible to being upset.. That’s what happened to Team Gutman on Sunday Night vs. Team Malvin.  It’s not that they were taking it easy, they just didn’t play their best ball and got beat.. No big deal, they need to just focus on the next few weeks and put Week 5 totally behind them.. They have #2 Team Harris next, followed by #3 Team Maione the following week.  Their size can actually match-up with Team Harris and it’s the type of size that has historically given Team Maione trouble.. Don’t be shocked if Team Gutman slays another giant in the coming weeks…


13. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 1-4, Currently tied for 14th

Off the schnide and into the Rankings! They got their first W of the Season on Sunday Night and while it may have taken them longer than they wanted to obtain it, the monkey has officially been lifted from their backs.. You can certainly say they’ve been missing Nate Johnson who had 30 points and 12 boards in his debut on Sunday Night. Matt Merrigan continued to be impressive as well with 18 of his own.  They defeated Team Gutman who has a couple impressive Wins on the Season already.. Just to show that Team Malvin is certainly better than their record, even if takes them some time get that record back where they want it.. Nothing but time. They have Team Apuli in Week 6, a Team still looking for their first W.


14. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 2-3, Currently tied for 11th

Won 2. Lost 3.  That’s where they are at to start the 2015-16 year.  A few members on this Team have played in the League previously and know that there’s a ton of talent out there.. Skids are going to happen. It’s important to key on what’s working as opposed to getting down about what is not.  They clearly have enough talent to get Ws. They’ve already won a couple and have been very close in others.. Just need to get another W so they can get back in a good headspace.  Jeff Shukis had 23 points on just 15 shots.  This group can score. Many guys on the Team can fill it up. To get more Ws they’ll need to focus more on the Defensive end. Next up, the 4-1 Team Free Agent.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 0-5, Currently tied for 19th

While it may have not been the hardest Schedule in the League to start, theirs has certainly been in the top 5.  All of that evens out by season’s end and they just need to stay the course. Lucky for them, Captain Apuli has led many of Teams in the past and knows how to get his Team out of a funk. They are going to be fine.. In fact, because their schedule has been so tough, this is a group you can expect to really start gathering Ws in the second half of the season. They are going to come into the Playoffs feeling good and no one will be thinking of their slow start. They have the 1-4 Team Malvin on Sunday Night who just got their first W of the Season.  Just go get the next one.


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-5, Currently tied for 19th

Had 3 Players in Double Figures including Axel Playner who had 28. They core is there. They just need to put it together for a full 44-minutes. They battled with Team Goldin and kept it close for most of their Game on Sunday Night but just couldn’t take it.. They have 3-2 Team Sternberg in Week 6 and it’s a Team that they should match-up well with as Team Sternberg doesn’t have a guy who just wants to dominate inside.  Next week could be the week.


Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 1-4, Currently tied for 14th

Not a great week for these guys who were coming off their first W.  Just hard to get Ws in the Hoops League with just 5 guys. Games are too long, bound to half a rough-stretch in the second half.. Over the years they’ve shown they are a truly gritty bunch that can come back after a Loss.. They will have the ascending, 4-1 Team UC Booth squad in Week 6.  Wouldn’t be shocked if they pulled off the “upset.”  Not sure if you even should call it that…


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 1-4, Currently tied for 14th

They hung tight with the 2x Defending Champs for much of Sunday’s clash before giving way to Team Lalez in the Game’s final 15 mins. They did so without much of their usual scoring punch as well. It was nice to see some others step up Offensively in the absence and it’s a reminder that they really are a deep Team that should spread it around more often. Dan Turner had 20 on Sunday. They take on Team Goldin in Week 6, a 4-1 Team.


Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 1-4, Currently tied for 14th

They were neck and neck with Team Free Agent on Sunday Night until the very end of the Game. They just couldn’t pull out the W.  It was as simple as the ball just not going down for them in the crucial moments of the Game. They were able to get a few open looks to try to tie it up from 3 late but just couldn’t get the ball to stay down. Just happens sometimes.  They did welcome back Captain EJ Silver who missed a few weeks, he had 17 on the night. Next up is the Undefeated, 2x Defending Champs, Team Lalez.


Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 1-4, Currently tied for 14th

Once again they were short-handed in this one as they’ve been unable to really get more than 6 guys out there.. This will change soon and so will the Losses. Captain Tucci had 28 in the defeat to Team Kozin. They were just oversized in this one and couldn’t do anything on the glass with the bigger Team Kozin. They’ll certainly welcome back Drew Zahora, and the sooner the better!  This is a group that only lost a handful of Games together last season, and truly are a better roster than they were last season.. That being said, it’s a new year and they just need to turn it around.. Mostly on Defense where they haven’t been able to get key stops when they’ve needed them. Again, too talented for them to not start winning in bunches. Next up, 4-1 Team Zimmerman, who really does present the opportunity for turning the ship around with a huge W.


That’s it for this Week. See everyone next Sunday Night!