2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Week 9 (Dec. 13)

Updated: December 16, 2015

2015 is officially in the rear view mirror when it comes to the Chicago Hoops League. On Sunday Night, we closed out the first half of the Regular Season as each Team completed their 9th of 19 Regular Season contests..  Now we head into Winter Break (we are off for Sunday Dec. 20 & 27) and comeback with for the first Sunday of 2016!  We had some significant Games take place in Week 9 and none provided a bigger result than Team Bulwa sending Team Harris off the Undefeated mountain.. That leaves the Undefeated 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez as the sole group to finish 2015 unbeaten. In an interesting note, the final Undefeated Team has never been crowned Champs of the Hoops League.. Just something to monitor as Team Lalez continues their quest for a 3peat.

Chris Wroblewski of Team Maione wins the Greater Than Performance of the Week for his 39 points against Team Kozin on Sunday. He’s a guy that could win this every week.. 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 and Scott Campbell.

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 Lalez (Orunje) – 9-0, Currently in 1st

They’ve outlasted each and every one of the other 19 Teams in the Hoops League to add another bullet-point to All Sports Series’ largest resume… Getting to 9-0 and being the final Undefeated Team in the League is an extraordinary accomplishment but to really make history (Regular Season history of course) they’ll need to win 4 more Games when we get back in 2016.. A year ago Team Maione went 12-0 to start the season which is the longest W-streak and longest Undefeated streak we’ve seen in All Sports Series. As mentioned in the open, no Team has ever been the final Undefeated Team and won the Hoops League.. There’s another way of looking at that though.. Team Lalez has never been in the final Undefeated Team and since they’ve won the Championship in both seasons of the Hoops League, something has to give.. When we get back in January, they’ll go for 10-0 vs. Team Tucci.  Enjoy the break, you’ve earned it.


2. Team Maione (popchips) – 8-1, Currently tied for 2nd

As Team Maione finishes the first half at 8-1 you have to really take a step back and admire their body of work through the years.. They’ve made a habit of starting off each season strong.. In fact, combining last season with this year, they are 17-1, in both first halves.. It’s an incredible accomplishment by them.. They’ll be the first to tell you that they want to win these Regular Season Games but for them the Season will come down to April and May.. They want, actually need, to finally grasp that Hoops League Crown.  If Chris Wroblewski continues to play the way he has in the past few Games it will be tough to stop them.. He had 39 while Nick Wieczorek and Joe Duffy each had 17 against past Playoff nemesis Team Kozin. When we resume in 2016, they’ll take on Team Gainski out of the gate.


3. Team Goldin (StudentCity) – 8-1, Currently tied for 2nd

While Team Lalez (and Team Harris before this week) have been stealing many of the headlines for going Undefeated so far this season, Team Goldin’s W-Streak is now up to 7 Games and is the second longest active streak in the League.  You know what’s really scary about these guys?  They are virtually in a tie for the 3rd best Offense in the League right now.. For a Team that has gotten extremely far in past seasons based on Defense and hustle, they’ve taken an extreme leap on the Offensive end and it has them playing at a Championship level.  Prime example this past Sunday where they played Team Schwartz (who came in with their own 3 Game Win streak) and all six of Team Goldin’s players netted double figures. Nick Baumgartner led with 32, Alex Filin had 26, Ben Chesterman had 25, Captain DG had 17, Jake Fowler scored 12 and Brandon Lathon finished with 10.  They finish 2015 looking as strong as they ever have.. They’ll start 2016 against last year’s Runners-Up Team Kozin.


4. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) – 7-2, Currently tied for 5th

This is the highest that Team Bulwa has appeared in the Hoops League Power Rankings in years and quite frankly they’ve earned it.  On Sunday Night, they took down former #2 and former unbeaten Team Harris and did so in extremely impressive fashion.. Since their Week 1 wake-up call Loss against Team Maione, they’ve gone 7-1 and look as dominant as any other group in the League. Quite frankly, it’s hard to envision any Team being able to stop them.. They have several guards who can create for others, lethal shooters on the outside and a few guys who can simply score at will against anyone.. Zack Novak had 29, Nick Winbush had 22 and Zack Meuser had 16.  They finished 2015 with one of the best Ws of the Year, league-wide, not just for them.. They’ll start 2016 against the feisty Free Agents on Jan. 3.


5. Team Harris (DoorDash) – 8-1, Currently tied for 2nd

Listen, no Team is going to go Undefeated in this Hoops League. Sure, Team Lalez is still going strong, but realistically to see them rattle off another 10 to get to 19-0 is just improbable.. Anyways, back to Team Harris.. They just need to shake it off and come back in 2016 and do exactly what they did during the first 8 weeks of the season.. They were severely underhanded on Sunday Night and it showed as they just couldn’t keep up in the second half on Sunday Night against Team Bulwa.. Want to send a Get Well Soon to Jason Domash who hopefully will be able to return in the Spring.  The Loss comes at a time where they’ll both be able to dwell on it for a while but also come back with in the new year with a new found hunger.. They’ll open up the New Year against the 5-4 Team James-Hagari in Week 10.


6. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) – 7-2, Currently tied for 5th

The top tier in the Power Rankings is 6 or 7 (more on UC Booth in a second) Teams deep and while there was some shake-up in the Top 5 this Week, Team Zimmerman will have to wait until 2016 to hop back into it.. They got back on the right track with a hard-fought W against a sneaky good (and big) Team Gutman squad who has played many top Teams tough all season long.  Team Zimmerman got the W and without Esto Vega which is certainly an indication of their tremendous depth.  With each passing week Dave Altman is getting more and more integrated into the Offense and you could tell this week they were really leaning on him in certain possessions.. Something that early on in the Season they weren’t doing as much.. They leave 2015 at 7-2 and did so with a really tough schedule.. They see primed to go on an extended run in 2016.. They’ll take on Team Silver out of the Gate when we get back from Winter Break.


7. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) – 6-3, Currently in 7th

It’s no secret that Team Lalez is the class of the League and they are playing particularly well right now, even for them.. Team UC Booth kept it close in the first half but Team Lalez pulled away in the second half.. Team UC Booth was without some of their mainstays as many have already ventured home for the school’s Winter Break.  While the result was not one that they wanted, I think that it showed they are ready to compete under the bright lights with the League’s best.. Team Lalez had a full unit in the building on Sunday Night and if Team UC Booth did as well it may have been closer down the stretch.  This group is for real and will have plenty of time to prove it in 2016.  They’ll start the season’s second half against the streaking Team Malvin.  Also, thanks again to Kelly and Emily from KPHC for stopping by!


8. Team Free Agent – 5-4, Currently tied for 8th

9. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 5-4, Currently tied for 8th

Going to take both #8 and #9 together this week as they competed in one of the best Games from Sunday Night.. This one was close for the entire Game and as a result both Teams were running “hot” for most of the second-half.. When all was said and done, Team Free Agent made a couple more Free Throws at the charity stripe and that ended up being the difference.. This Game really showed that if these groups played 10 times it could be a 5/5 split.. On this night Team FA takes it though.. A Playoff rematch would certainly be fun..

It’s the first year for both Teams in the Hoops League and while Team Sternberg has a tremendous amount of All Sports Series experience, both groups are learning how hard it is to get Ws in this League.  The fact they both get to the break at 5-4 is an awesome accomplishment.  On Sunday Night, both squads had standout performances.. Tim Szatko had his third straight dominant performance and is going to make life difficult for each one of the FA’s future opponents. He had 28 and 14 to go with LaVar Merrell’s 17.  Team Sternberg played their normal Team ball and had 4 guys in double digits. Dewayne Evans had 18 to lead the way.. Team Sternberg will start 2016 against Team Apuli and Team Free Agent will face one of their toughest tests to start the second half, #4 Team Bulwa.


10. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) – 5-4, Currently tied for 8th

They’ll be able to go into the Break feeling good after a W over Team Shamberg on Sunday Night.  It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for them in 2015 but they finish the first half over .500 and in the top half of the Standings and Power Rankings. Not too shabby for a Team with members who met each other on Opening Night.  This is another group where their chemistry is going to only grow in the coming weeks and as it does, they will become tougher to beat.. They are a real threat. Jeff Shukis led them on Sunday Night with 20 points and 15 boards.  They will be tested and in a big way when we get back on Jan. 3 — 8-1 and #5 Team Harris awaits, a group that will be very eager to get back on the court after suffering their first L of the season this past Sunday.


11. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 4-5, Currently tied for 11th

One of the hottest Teams to close 2015 is Team Malvin.  After starting out slowly, they’ve won 4 of their last 5 and are really playing well together. Nate Johnson has been unreal in the past month and has really been a key difference maker for them. He had 33 in a close W against Team Cohen on Sunday Night.  If our math is correct, Team Malvin is 4-0 with him and 0-5 without him. That is as good of an MVP case out there in the first half. Of course, he’ll have to continue it in 2016.. Matt Kerrigan also had himself a great night, as he was put his 3pt Range on fill display in the second half on Sunday Night. He finished with 21.  When the Break concludes, they will open 2016 against Team UC Booth in what will be a great test for both squads to start the second half..


12. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) – 4-5, Currently tied for 11th

#3 Team Goldin turned in their best performance of the season and Team Schwartz just happened to be their opponent for it.  It wasn’t pretty and not one that Team Schwartz will look back on fondly.. The good news is that before this week they were Winners of three straight and they have more than enough experience to not let it get to them when they take the court again after the break.  The fact is, it’s just one loss and they are hovering .500 after a slow start to 2015.  They have a few weeks to get ready for a clash with Team Gutman on Jan. 3.


13. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) – 3-6, Currently tied for 13th

It’s incredible what a bench will do for a Team, especially one with the skill of Team Tucci.  It’s been the same story for Team Tucci all year.. They’ve struggled to get depth to the gym on Sundays and as a result their record has taken a hit.. However, on Sunday Night they showed what they are truly capable of when having a chance for their guys to get a breather every once in a while.. Did they want to start the first half at 3-6? Of course not, but they are talented enough to win out.  They are that good.  The Captain and last year’s MVP Alan Tucci had 34 while Drew Zahara had 24 and 10 going up against one of the League’s other true bigs.. It was an impressive performance all around.  After Winter Break they will take on the Undefeated 2x Defending Champs and #1 Team Lalez. They have time to scheme. Get ready folks.


14. Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold) – 2-7, Currently tied for 16th

Took them longer than they would have hoped to get that 2nd W as it was a rough November but they’ll happily ride this one into the New Year.  They looked as good as they have all season long and it just goes to show what they can do when they are really firing on all cylinders.  All 5 Starters were in double figures.. David Holmes had 27 and Ian Shaffer had 20.. Captain EJ and Jeremy Mizraji also played well. Their spot in the Rankings will be up for grabs when we resume play in 2016. They’ll take on Team Cohen who they are tied with in the Standings.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) – 0-9, Currently tied for 19th

If ever there was a Team ready to just start fresh in a New Year it’s this one.  .  We can say this, Team Apuli’s opponents in the first half were a combined 9 Games over .500 (and included 4 Teams currently Ranked in the top 6) which means that their Schedule is certainly going to be easier in 2016.  We’re not going to dwell on 2015 for another minute. No point in doing so.  They have many Wins in store. In fact, this is a Team that should go over .5oo in their final 10 Games. Book it.


Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) 2-7, Currently tied for 16th

Lost a winnable one against Team Malvin in a Game that was back and forth until the final minutes when Team Malvin made one last surge..  They are another Team that had a tough road schedule wise was Team Cohen and lucky for them they are now out of that stretch.. They start 2016 with 2 below .500 Teams before going through another tough portion toward the end of January.. Their schedule as it looks now will be favorable heading into the Playoffs.. It’s very likely they will be feeling much differently at the end of the Regular Season’s second half then they do right now.


Team Gainski (SLA) – 0-9, Currently tied for 19th

See above to Team Apuli. Much can be said here. It’ll be a New Year for them and a fresh start when they take the floor together for the first time after the Winter Break. They’ll have a tough first Game back against the #2 Team Maione squad, but after that have a run of very winnable Games. The streak will snap, they just need to keep playing their Game.


Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) – 3-6, Currently tied for 13th

Team Gutman has had one of the more interesting first halves. It’s their first run as a full unit together and with that usually comes so ups and downs which they certainly have experienced. They have been in just about every Game and last Sunday was no different when they literally came down to the buzzer with Team Zimmerman. Marin Kukoc actually sunk a half court heave to tie it but the buzzer had already sounded.  It’s been mentioned before about their playing up and down to competition.. Their size was on full display once again this Sunday as they matched-up just fine with one of the League’s biggest (and best).  This is a group that has many Wins in store and has the makings of a Team who comes into the Playoffs as a middle seed and then gives the higher seeds fits as we advance along.. Lots of time before then and now.. They’ll start 2016 against Team Schwartz.


Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) – 3-6, Currently tied for 13th

Along with several other Teams toward the back half of the Standings, Team Kozin is certainly ready to turn the page on 2015.  It’s no secret they’ve struggled as of late and no one can necessarily put their finger on it. They’ve missed some shots that they’ve made in the past and it may be as simple as that.. Either way, the Winter Break will come at a nice time for them to get away and refuel for a stretch run.. Just a reminder to everyone, Team Kozin came into last year’s Playoffs as the #6 seed and still got to the brink of a Championship.  Their seed will be nothing more than a number next to their name when the Playoffs start.  2016 will start with a bang for them as they open with #3 and 8-1 Team Goldin. Should be a fun one as we start the League’s second half!


Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title Agency) – 1-8, Currently in 18th

Team Shamberg’s start to the Hoops League is certainly not what they expected.  Here’s the thing though.. Very few Teams in the League have actually completed a Playoff journey and won an All Sports Series Championship.  Team Shamberg (albeit with a few missing parts) won the Summer Hoops League this past year.. The foundation here has done it before.  They are also a few bounces away from their record appearing very different. This group will be just fine and is good enough to beat anyone at any time. January will deal them a horrific schedule and they’ll open up 2016 with Team Zimmerman, that being said, they’ll have many opportunities to stun a top tier Team and potentially turn the whole thing around.


Well that’s a wrap for 2015. Final Power Rankings for any All Sports Series League is now complete.  Have a wonderful and Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! See you in 2016!