2016-17 Chicago Hoops – Week 1 (Oct. 16)

Updated: October 18, 2016

Welcome Back to the Chicago Hoops League!  The Off-Season flew by (likely because it was so short) and there is a significant amount to catch up on from last season’s Championship Games to Week 1 this past Sunday afternoon (which provided a few head-scratching results)!  Since Sunday May 15, when Team Gutman won the 2015-16 Chicago Hoops League, we have seen another influx of talent come into the Hoops League scene.. More on that in a bit.. We also saw Team Zimmerman become the first ever Back2Back Champs of the Chicago Summer All Sports League.. We saw Team Maione shake-off some Playoff-Game demons and win the Summer Hoops League Crown.  The GMs in the League were working hard this Summer as well.. There are 20 Teams (for the 2nd straight year) in this, the 4th edition of the Chicago Hoops League… For the Rookies out there, be sure to get yourself acquainted with all of the Teams below. We are going to do Off-Season recaps with in the Power Rankings this week!


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 Leagues > Chicago Hoops League.. Everything you’d need from Stats to Schedules to Standings etc. will be found there..

Here’s the Link to the Weekly Highlight Video! Powered by Dr. Jacob D.D.S.

One more thing before we get to the Power Rankings, we have some amazing Sponsors for you this Season including none other than Live Clean Chicago! They are the best Cleaning Service in Chicago bar none and more importantly you can trust them to clean your place (even if you aren’t home). Myself and my family (Holden) use them frequently!  One more brief mention as it’s likely you will want to know..   The Cubs are officially BACK and  Wrigley View Rooftop has you covered! There is no better experience for getting Cubs action while enjoying the perks of all you can eat/drink! INCLUDING PLAYOFF GAMES!!

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Power Rankings

1. Team Maione (Southview Athletics) – 1-0

We are breaking from tradition here.. Normally the #1 spot in the Week 1 Power Rankings is held for the Defending Champs.. Well, the Defending Champs Team Gutman, took one on the chin (and then some) so we’re going to drop them down a few spots to start..  In their place, there is no more deserving a #1 than Team Maione. They are fresh off a Chicago Summer Hoops League Crown and no Team comes into this season with more momentum than these guys. They got the “Playoff monkey” off their backs this Summer and can now just play with confidence this Spring..   They return virtually 100% of the Roster that finished with #1 seed in this very League a year ago.. They started off the season with a Win over mostly newcomers Team Jones and looked great in the process. Chris Wroblewski started the year with 31 points while Jason Battle added 17 and Josh Berman stayed hot from his Championship performance this Summer, with 16.  They get Team James in Week 2 (assuming no Game 7 for the Cubs).. A group that holds portion of a roster that ruined Team Maione’s perfect season in 2014-15 (at the buzzer). Team Maione is ready for this one.


2. Team Lalez (Hakimian Imports) – 1-0

Coming in at #2 is the 2x Chicago Hoops League Champs Team Lalez. This group won the first two seasons of this League and will once again by title contenders come the Spring. We’ve seen a resurgence out of them this Summer with a roster-overhaul of some sort.. Last year, they made the Elite8 for the third straight year but didn’t qualify for the Championship Sunday for the first time.. That was their first run without past MVP Eytan Azaria and they needed a year to re-tool.. Much of the Championship roster is still in tact and they have added Brandon Lathon from the recently dismantled Team Goldin squad. This was a perfect add for them.. Someone who will do anything and everything possible to win and a guy who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to produce. David Gershenzon started the season off with 29 points on Sunday Night.  This group is ready to bring a Crown back to the mantle.. It’s been some time and they certainly have enough talent. Week 2 brings Team Sternberg (assuming no Cubs Game 7).


3. Team UC Booth (Biaggi’s Red) – 1-0

With the way the League is structured.. 5 sets of Games on the Hour.. One score usually stands out in the first few Games that is talked about for the remainder of the Night.  That especially holds true in early weeks when everyone is on high alert for off-season acquisitions.. Well, Team UC Booth was the buzz-worthy Team in Week 1. No group had more of an impressive start to the Campaign than them. They were simply dominant in all facets of the Game as they ran straight through the Defending Champs Team Gutman. Their size jumps off the page at you and they have tremendous athletes on the wing to go along with..  All Star Victor Ojeleye is back for his second stint in the Hoops League and led the way in scoring with 29. Captain Doug Sexauer is taking over the reigns from Ed White this year. He chipped in a dozen points. Along with those two, Ben Hanessian will be back on the squad to go with several Rookies. The Rooks looked great, including Matthew Schick who had 14, and this is a group that is ready to take the leap to the elite tier in 2016-17. Welcome Back.


4. Team Gutman (Live Clean Chicago) – 0-1

This is where the free-fall ends for the Defending Champs. We mentioned in 1. Team Maione’s section.. Normally, the Defending Champs get to take the #1 spot in Week 1 of the Rankings, no matter what.. Well, they had their worst Game in Franchise history on Sunday Night and they come in at #4 instead as of a result.. #3 Team UC Booth doubled them up on Sunday by a score of 84-42.. It just wouldn’t be right for them to be Ranked Higher following that one..  In the off-season, they lost Captain Mikey Gutman, to a new job in NYC (Congrats!) and will have to navigate their quest for Back2Back Championships without his leadership.. Captain Jordan Reisner assumes the reigns but the guys have decided to stick with the Team Gutman name.. They were also without Adam Rhum during Week 1 and Marin Kukoc left the Game early with a knee injury. So this was not the same cast we saw “cut down the nets” last Spring.. They are going to be fine.. This was a group who started off slow a year ago as well before getting hot at the right time (remember they were the 6 seed coming into the Playoffs). They enjoy the “nobody believes in us” routine.. They are just going to have to work harder to fall into that category after winning the ‘ship a year ago.


5. Team Wong (Biaggi’s Purple) – 1-0

The first Great Game of the Season was Won by Team Wong, earning them a spot in the Top-5 to start the season.. For those who played in last year’s Chicago Hoops League, but not in the Summer Hoops League.. Team Wong is comprised of many of the Free Agents from a year ago including Captain Jon Wong, Brock Massie and All Star Tim Szatko.  This group went all the way to the Elite8 last year in their first season together.. Well, over the Summer, they improved the Roster and are ready to go the distance this season.. Lane Barlow netted 15 points in his debut Game.. Get used to that name.. This guy routinely went off for 20-30 points in the Summer League.  He is the deadly shooter that they were lacking a year ago and really helps find Big Tim some space down low.. Alexander Roberts also scored a dozen in his debut this season.. To get a Week 1 W over last year’s 3rd Place Group – Team Kozin, is a fantastic way for them to get rolling.. Team Purimetla awaits (as long as no Cubs) in Week 2.


6. Team McNichols (Al’s Beef on WESTERN) – 1-0

Team McNichols is new to the Chicago Hoops League scene but not new to All Sports Series. They made their debut this past Summer in the Chicago Men’s “All Sports” League and quickly showed that they were one of the best Hoops squads out there on Monday Nights. It was a lock they were going to come in and make an impression in the Chicago Hoops League, but few probably pictured the start that they would have.. They took on 2015-16 Runners-Up (although without MVP Kyle Nelson) and simply ran away with the Game. They are athletic at all 5 positions and their pace is going to really hurt Teams.. Not many Teams can boast that they put up 80+ let alone 90+ on the sound Team Zimmerman squad but that is exactly what happened on Sunday Night.  These guys weren’t even at full strength. It’s a scary thought.. Letting them fly under the radar would be a big mistake. They get Team Apuli in Week 2 (as long as No Cubs Game 7).


7. Team Zimmerman (MB Financial) – 0-1

Team Zimmerman just wrapped up a Summer was the bookend on likely the greatest year for any Franchise in All Sports Series history.. They became the first group to win Back2Back Chicago Men’s “All Sports” Summer Leagues.  Factoring in, who still plays in that League, it is the “original” — it took 7 years to have a group go back to back.. In the middle of all of that they also finished as the Runners-Up last Spring in the most competitive Chicago Hoops League we’ve ever seen (until this year).. As exited last year’s Chicago Hoops League, everyone figured Team Zimmerman would once again vie for the Crown, and they still should.. However, the Team certainly has a different feel as they take the court to open the 2016-17 Season. Kyle Nelson has moved on to a job at the University of Minnesota (Congrats!) and with him goes his MVP award.  He may have been the most dynamic Player in the League and while they have re-grouped, it’s extremely hard to make up for Kyle’s presence..

They did make some acquisitions in the off-season as well and we need to highlight one in particular in Week 1.. Matt Toth returns to All Sports Series after several years away and man was this guy impressive. He is going to give them a true low-post option and rim protection that they haven’t really had in the past.. He started the season with 30 points and 7 boards. It’s certainly a different dimension for them and it may take time but Captain Jack will push the right buttons.  They came in at #7 this week after falling to #6 Team McNichols on Sunday Night.. Again, they are going to need some time after playing 75+ Games with the same core.. They will be just fine though.


8. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 1-0

Game of the Night was Team Cohen and Team Malvin who battled to OT during Week 1.  Team Cohen looks a LOT different than it did in last year’s Chicago Hoops League (and even this past Summer).. They’ve added several All Sports Series vets to the roster including Oren Schwartz who scored the Team’s final 9 points to help secure the Week 1 Win. He finished with 21 points on just 11 shots.  Matt Maloney made his All Sports Series debut and scored 17. Captain Andy and co-Captain Jake Shlofrock have also added David Zale, Jake Lerman and Michael Pisanelli to the crew.. They along with All Stars Justin Bowen and Kyle Daniels (both of whom were absent on Sunday) forms on of the most talented line-ups in the League.. This is Captain Cohen’s best shot at a Crown in a very long time. They are a Team on the rise.


9. Team Purimetla (Wrigley View Rooftop) – 1-0

Another Team that is new to the Chicago Hoops League but not All Sports Series. Team Purimetla got it’s start this past Summer in the Hoops League and turned some heads with a talented squad.. They made the Elite8 in that competitive 16-Team League and have added even more firepower.  They got a big time Win over Team Harris, a group that finished 2nd in the Regular Season last year. They didn’t just win. They dominated. Tobias Dwumaah and Josh Blackwell are names to get used to.. Tobias had 27 and 13 boards while Josh had 25 points in Week 1.  These guys are deep and every player on the Team can score from just about anywhere on the court.  #5 Team Wong is next for them in Week 2 in what should be one of the Games of the Night.


10. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 1-0

Team Sternberg is back this year to build on their solid debut performance of a year ago in the Chicago Hoops League. Captain Sam has made some off-season moves and they are a much improved squad from a year ago.. They’ve brought in several new pieces including Jamie Nikitas and Mack Watts who will make their debuts shortly.  They earned a nice Week 1 victory over Team Schwartz. Max Shulruff is along for the entire season this year and scored 32 to go along with Michael Alfieri’s 19 and 15.  Tyler Max also scored 19 on the night. Captain Sam finished just shy of the rare assists-rebounds double double, with 8 assists and 10 boards.  These guys are going to fly under the radar as they are not going to scare anyone with their size, but they can play.. They also know each other well and the pieces they’ve added are going to come in and pay off immediately.. Another group on the rise.


11. Team Kozin (Peak Properties) – o-1

Team Kozin has been a long-standing powerhouse in the Chicago Hoops League Playoffs.  Two Seasons ago they finished as the Runners-Up to Team Lalez and last year they got to their second-straight Championship Sunday, finishing in 3rd behind Team Zimmerman and the Champs Team Gutman..  They share another thing in common with Zimmerman and Gutman.. They all lost in Week 1.  It is a prime example of the League getting better. Also, it’s worth mentioning this is a Team Kozin squad that possesses an “on switch” — they really turn up the D come Playoff time and don’t seem to care what seed they have in the Playoffs. They got all the way to the end last season from the #9 seed.  They save their best for when it matters most.  They have added Michael Halusek who played with them in the Summer.. He had 33 points in a great debut for the Hoops League.  Josh Davis had 18 and 6 in Week 1. They dropped a tough one to the very strong Team Wong. It will be fun to see if their paths cross once again 6 months from now come Playoff time. Team Harris is on the docket in Week 2.. Crazy to think one of those Teams will start 0-2!


12. Team Kaplan (Camp Ojibwa) – 1-0

Team Kaplan is a first-year Team comprised of All Sports Series vets.  They have been pieced together from various groups in years past and have a lot of talent on the Roster.. Bret Darcy (Captain, of 2015 Summer Hoops Champs Team Darcy) is on the squad.. Tred Dean, PG from last year’s Free Agent squad and Captain of this Summer’s Team Dean squad.. Jordan Liss, will be making his debut in Week 2, Captain of Summer’s Team Liss… Summer League Captain Axel Playner brings himself and Jack Doherty to Team.. These guys have a ton of leadership.  The roster also includes Darren Angell of Back2Back Champs Team Lalez.  As well as Dewayne Evans from Team Sternberg last year.. Rounding out the group are key members from past Team Shamberg squads.. Captain Brett Kaplan, Jake Preskill and Alex Wagman. This group is going to learn how to play with one another and you can expect them to get a lot better as time wages on.. They are going to win some Games in the process as well. In fact, they started out the Season with a Win in Week 1 against Team Silver. Tred Dean led the way with a double double.. 18 points and 12 boards, out of the PG spot.. Not bad! They look to get to 2-0 against Defending Champs Team Gutman (assuming No Cubs Game 7).


13. Team Deutsch (Meli Cafe) – 1-0

The Team with the biggest gripe in the Week 1 Rankings is likely Team Deutsch. They come in at #13 even after gaining a Week 1 Win.. That’s what happens when all 3 Teams that were involved in the Championship Games a year ago, took Losses in Week 1.. If they continue to Win they will shoot up the Rankings in no time though.. Led by Captain Justin Deutsch and everyone’s favorite scorekeeper Ari Nemetz these guys had a really nice showing in Week 1 by soundly defeating Team Apuli 88-60. Newcomer Ryan Hess had 34 points to lead all scorers in the League on Sunday Night and doubled up with 11 boards. Griffin Hermes made his return to All Sports Series and went for 22 and 8 in Week 1. These guys are both dynamic scorers and as a group who may not have come in with a ton of buzz.. They are going to surprise a ton of teams this season. They are good. Just need some more depth. Captain Justin went for 17 and 9 dimes.. Ari Nemetz had a dozen points and 9 boards in Week 1 as well. These guys can ball. They are going to try and get to 2-0 against Team Zimmerman. A heavy task.. If they Win that would be lit (or however Ari would say it).


t-14. Team Harris (Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap) & Team Malvin (StudentCity) – 0-1

We usually don’t do a “tie” in the Rankings but we needed to get both of these Teams into the Rankings following Week 1.. Both of these squads qualified for the Elite8, albeit in much different ways a year ago.. With so many Top Teams from last year, falling in Week 1, this proved to be the only way to do so..

Team Malvin would have gotten the nod between the two if we had another space in the Rankings so we’ll start with them.. As mentioned above, Team Malvin was an Elite8 squad last year. They were the #14 seed coming in but got hot when the bright lights of the Playoffs were on and sent some Teams home in their wake.. Their squad (as Team Clark) then moved on to the Summer where they made the Championship Game before falling to Team Maione. That included a Matt Merrigan 3Ball during 3OT to knock out former Champs Team Darcy in the Final4.  That Summer Team intro’d several new pieces to the Team including Brandon Snowden.. He along with Nate Johnson and Rodney Clark lead a tremendously athletic line-up.  They’ve also added some needed size with Peter Szostak who went for 14 and 14 in his All Sports Series debut. This group is better, despite falling in OT without several pieces including Captain Mike, to Team Cohen.  They are going to be among the groups fighting for the Crown.

For Team Harris, no Team has undergone such a makeover in the off-season.. They are bringing back much of the core including Jason Domash, Mike Goldstein, Captain Brian (who is off the DL next Sunday) and hopefully Brad Tivin.  Along with them they are welcoming in Eric Handrich, Tyler Geocaris and Alex Nadelman, great adds and All Sports Series vets. Handrich went for 18 and 12 in Week 1.   We’ve gotten this far without mentioning All Star Dylan Richter, who after some news in the off-season of his departure, will be back with the club even on a limited basis. The same can be said for big man Jeff Howard. Sam Shiner exited at the end of last year for a job overseas.  Finally, the biggest addition of them all would be bringing in Zack Novak from the departed Team Bulwa squad. At full strength these guys may have the best Roster in the League.  They were not close to full-strength on Sunday and fell to Team Purimetla as a result.. It’s going to likely be an interesting season for them but the sky is the limit.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Apuli (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 0-1

Team Apuli is back for their 4th consecutive season in the Chicago Hoops League and Captain Justin Apuli has made changes just like the rest of the League. He has Captain All Sports Series Teams as much as anyone in since the inception of the League and he knows how to get the most out of a Roster. Mainstays such as Freddy Artega and Rob Kamentsev are back for another season. Both were in double figures during Week 1. They also have added newcomers such as a Ghevel Burnside and Steve Login.  Bryan Nelson is a big man that they added who went down with a knee injury during week 1. Hoping he is back soon. This group had a bunch of turnover and it may take some time for them to gather chemistry but Team Apuli is always dangerous. They will take on #6 Team McNichols in Week 2.


Team James (Chipotle) – 0-1

Team James, which went as Team James-Hagari last season, is back for another run in the Chicago Hoops League. This year Captain Christian James is taking the reigns by himself and has filled out an entire roster. They are a very athletic bunch that includes Players from a year ago.. Daniel Martin has returned from an injury last year as well as Marquis Smith and Evan Pincham. They’ve also added some scoring punch with Haris Habibovic who had 22 points and 7 boards in Week 1. They didn’t get a Week 1 Win.. They had a very tough assignment with 2x Defending Champs Team Lalez, but they showed they are ready to compete.. This is no surprise as Christian James has been a mainstay in the League for years and knows the type of competition he is going to face week in and week out. They look to get back to .500 next Sunday against #1 Team Maione. There’s a nice under the radar Rivalry dating back a few years with these two clubs.. They’ve beaten Maione before.. Can history repeat itself? Easily the hardest schedule to start the season.. Things will lighten up afterwards.


Team Jones (Chicago Trolley) – 0-1

In terms of All Sports Series experience, Team Jones has the least in the League. They have one All Sports Series vet and it’s a good one.. Garrett Staniec has made a name for himself over the years competing with the now defunct Team Goldin.  He, Captain Gilles and co. are a really talented squad. They had the unenviable task of drawing #1 Team Maione in Week 1 but it will give them a strong impression of the talent that is in the League. This group may need a few weeks to gain some chemsitry and get familiar with our format. Captain Gilles went for 30 points in Week 1. Garrett had a double double with 17 and 13. Tre Williams missed a double double by one rebound. The core is in place, expect them to climb into the Rankings soon. They get Team Schwartz in Week 2.


Team Schwartz (SLA Insurance) – 0-1

Team Schwartz has been around with All Sports Series for as long as the Chicago Hoops League has existed. They know the type of talent they are going to face week after week.. They are also currently entrenched in the Chicago Flag Football League where they are trying to make a run at the first Crown. They made moves in the off-season like bringing in Greg Gonzalez and Jonathan Blakley on a full-time basis to go with their solid core.  They were short-handed this past Sunday and Team Sternberg took advantage of that but they are going to be just fine. Greg Gonzalez has averaged 20+ in his past All Sports Series Games. He is a down-low presence that will help open up some things on the perimeter for their host of shooters and playmakers. They are a much better group than they were a year ago. Expect them to be in the Rankings soon. They hope to get back to .500 against Team Jones on Sunday.


Team Silver (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 0-1

Last but not least (remember, it’s alphabetical in this section) is Team Silver. While the name will be familiar to Chicago Hoops League vets, the cast that joins Captain EJ Silver this season is much different. Only David Holmes and Sean Cassel remain on the roster from a year ago.. They dropped Week 1 to Team Kaplan but were in it the whole Game.. They are going to need time to infuse the new talent and get some chemistry. Captain EJ led with 14 points on the night. Gage Coleman had 13 and 11 in his debut Game.  This is another group that is definitely improved from a year ago. In fact, they are basically an entirely new Team.


That’s it for Week 1. Welcome to the New Players. Welcome Back to the Vets. Go Cubs!