2016-17 Chicago Hoops – Week 5 (Nov. 20)

Updated: November 22, 2016

Week 5 is in the books and as of Sunday Night we have ZERO Undefeated Teams left in the League.  This is the 4th season of this specific Chicago Hoops League and we have seen Undefeated Teams in each season go well into the New Year.. This year, we didn’t get one to Thanksgiving (and we pushed a week back for the World Champion Chicago Cubs) .. What does that tell us?  Well, a couple of things.. 1) The League is much stronger.. There are no “Freebies” any more and 2) The “Top Tier” which in seasons past has usually been a 6-7 Team group has been greatly extended and by a handful or so.. We are going to be in for a crazy year and the first five weeks have been a great example of that.


Weekly Highlight Video! Powered by Dr. Jacob D.D.S.

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Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Hakimian Imports) – 4-1

Well, that didn’t take too long.. They have been bouncing between #2-3 for the first 4 sets of the Power Rankings and on Sunday Night they combined a dominating performance over previously unbeaten Team McNichols with great-timing (the other previously undefeated, Team Maione, also went down on Sunday) and just like that Team Lalez comes in at #1 for the first time.  They were electric on Sunday in what was easily their best Game of the Season thus far. Scott Campbell had 30 and Dave Gerhshenzon returned to have 17 points. He just adds a stability factor for them that is so crucial. The biggest thing from Sunday Night was their use of the zone-D that really stifled what has been a high-powered McNichols Offense to-date.  After the week off for Thanksgiving they will come back and face Team Deutsch in Week 6.


2. Team Maione (Southview Athletics) – 4-1

Sometimes you get a close finish and the outcome says a lot more about one Team than the other.. On Sunday Night, Team Sternberg did enough to deal Team Maione their first Loss of the Season. In this case, the Win said a lot more about Sternberg’s caliber than the Loss says about Team Maione. We know that Team Maione is still one of the favorites for the Crown and one loss or a drop down in the Rankings isn’t going to change that.. What we do know is that their road to the finish line is going to be paved with several tough opponents. Chris Wroblewski had 20 points and Chris Ray had 19 to go along with 10 boards on the night. They look to get back on track against another top tier opponent in a couple of weeks when we return, they’ll get Team Zimmerman in Week 6.


3. Team Malvin (StudentCity) – 4-1

Their Win over Defending Champs Team Gutman on Sunday Night makes it 4 in a row for them and gets them up to #3 in the rankings, their highest ever mark in the Chicago Hoops League. They are playing the best ball we’ve seen out of them yet and it’s scary to think what they are capable of.. Reason being, they are winning Games in different ways week in and week out. They are winning Games in the 60s and in the 80s.. They have it all and are firing on all cylinders right now. Matt Merrigan had 20 and Rodney Clark had 17 in the Win. They get Team Kaplan in a couple of weeks when we return post-Thanksgiving.


4. Team UC Booth (Biaggi’s Red) – 4-1

They got a Win over Team Harris on Sunday Night in a contest where both Teams were a bit under-manned.  Getting Wins (and over good opponents) are key to a Team’s long-term success. They gutted this one out with just 5 guys and even after Team Harris closed a big-lead and made it a real Game in the final stretch. They held on. Victor Ojeleye had 24, Captain Doug Sexauer had 16 and Michael Moorstein had 18 to shoulder a bulk of the scoring for them. They will take on Team Purimetla in Week 6 in what should be an up and down Game. Should be a fun one.


5. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 4-1 

If you told Team Sternberg that they’d get off to a 4-1 start that included Games against 3 of the biggest powers in the League — Team Zimmerman, Team Maione and Team Lalez.. Well, you have to think they’d be pretty pleased with themselves. Here’s the thing though, Team Sternberg knows how good they are and how good they can be, even if no one else (aside from their opponent) knows it.  They were up on Team Lalez by double figures before having a bad stretch.. That is their only blemish on the season thus far and they’ve had what could be the toughest start to the season out of anyone. They defeated previously undefeated and #1 Team Maione in what was a slugfest from start to finish. It was a Playoff-like Game that could have been won several times over by both squads in the final minutes.. Jamie Nikitas showed why he will be an All Star at season’s end going for 30 points on just 19 shots. He is the only player in the League currently averaging over 30 a Game. After the Thanksgiving break, they will get Team James in Week 6.


6. Team Wong (Biaggi’s Purple) – 4-1

They won by 20 on Sunday Night against Team Silver.  Defeating Teams you are supposed to are signs of a mature squad and this group won’t take anything for granted. They are hungry to show what they can do. Lane Barlow led the League in scoring on Sunday Night with 33 points. Tim Szatko added 20 points on just 13 shots. There may not be a more dangerous inside/outside combo in the League than these two. When they are on the court together you truly have to pick your poison. They take on Team Cohen in Week 6, after we break for Thanksgiving.


7. Team McNichols (Al’s Beef on WESTERN) – 4-1

Have to chalk Sunday up to just a bad performance at the wrong time. They were up against 2x Champs Team Lalez on Sunday evening, without a couple of their key guys, and it just didn’t go well.. The Game had a bunch of hype surrounding it and they just didn’t have their best. It happens. They are still 4-1 and tied atop the Standings currently with 6 other groups. They will learn from this and likely come out swinging after the holiday break. They get Team Schwartz post-Thanksgiving break.


8. Team Kozin (Peak Properties) – 3-2

Will certainly be a weekend to reminder for Team Kozin and mainly Captain Jason.  They earned a big-time W over Team Cohen on Sunday in a Game where they only suited up 5 guys. Matt Wolk had to exit just after halftime due to an errant elbow and they had to play the last stretch of the Game down a man. When Wolk left, they had a 14 point lead and the remaining guys.. Josh Davis, Mitch Bouie, Randall Hampton and Captain Jason Kozin dug down deep and were able to seal the victory. Oh, and Captain J got married this past weekend too! Congrats to him!  They look to avenge a defeat from last season against Defending Champs Team Gutman, in Week 6 after Thanksgiving.


9. Team Zimmerman (MB Financial) – 3-2

They got a solid W over a solid Team Schwartz group on Sunday Night to get them back in the Win Column.  We’ve mentioned it several times at this point, but they are getting acclimated with a bunch of new pieces and are still figuring out how to try and fill the shoes Kyle Nelson left behind for him.. The fact that they are over .500 in their first 5 Games is a good sign as they should be a group that improves over time with gaining chemistry.. Matt Toth had an excellent shooting night with 30 points  in a Game where it was a heated, he stated afterwards, “they came together as a team.” Certianly a positive night for last season’s Runners-Up. In Week 6 (on Dec. 4) they will take on Rivals Team Maione in what should be the Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Game of the Night.


10. Team Purimetla (Wrigley View Rooftop) – 3-2

They snapped a 2-Game losing skid and are back above the .500 mark following their Win over Team Kaplan on Sunday Night. Sam Leewood was excellent, scoring 22 points and Lucas Kisielewski had one of the very rare 20 point and 15 rebound performances we’ll see all season. They are Kevin Matos gets back soon as he went down with an ankle injury in this one. Feel good man. This is a group, when playing well, can beat the very best the League has to offer. They just need to show that more often. Plenty of time to build the consistency out.  They get #4 Team UC Booth in what will be a very exciting clash during Week 6.


11. Team Jones (Chicago Trolley) – 2-3

We mentioned it last week but should be echoed.. This Team started the season, their first run together, with 3 of 4 Games against Teams currently Ranked in the Top 5 (Lalez, Maione and Sternberg).. That is as tough of a start as there is.. The schedule has and will continue to get easier now and they took full advantage on Sunday Night as the went over the century mark against Team Deutsch in Week 5. As Captain Gilles said, “Enjoy the Big Mac’s” following the W. Ron Nandi had 20, Captain G had 19 and Tre Williams had 16 in the Win.. Mike Gleason and Garrett Staniec were also in double figures here.  They get Team Apuli in Week 6, post-Thanksgiving break.


12. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 2-3

This was one they won’t feel great about.. They took on the very strong Team Kozin crew. The same Team Kozin who has been in the Final-3 Teams for the past two seasons in this League.. There’s no harm in dropping one to them.. However, they are going to kick themselves for not being able to utilize of their 5-4 advantage over the final stretch of the Game and overcome the deficit. Listen, it’s not often you play a man up in Hoops. It’s an odd thing and they couldn’t really figure out how to gain the upper-hand.  They will get to brush this Loss off and try to get back to .500 against the very good Team Wong after we break for Thanksgiving.


13. Team Gutman (Live Clean CHI) – 2-3

The Defending Champs will be happy to get to this Thanksgiving break.. Remember, they started off very slowly a year ago and really turned it on after the New Year.. They will likely have a similar outcome in 2017.. It’s been a numbers issue so far this season. They are just not competing with their entire crew (ever really) and that was something that they really used to their advantage last season. They are swimming in size and that depth allowed them to stay fresh and really disrupt the passing lanes and clean the glass.. It’s just not happening that way this season (yet).. They get Team Gutman when we resume after the turkey in a clash between two our final-3 Teams from a year ago.


14. Team Apuli (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 1-4

Last Team into the Rankings this week is Team Apuli after their big come from behind W over Team James in Week 5.  They were down double figures late in this one but stormed back with a parade of 3balls that erased the deficit and allowed them to get into the Winner’s Circle for the first time during the ’16-17 campaign. Robert Kamentsev played just his second Game and man did they miss him for most of the season.. He had 27 and iced the Game with a throw-down dunk that you need to see in the Highlight Video. They also saw the season debut for Eddie Tellez who immediately gave them another scoring option that they have so badly needed.. He went for 20 on his first night and keyed the W with important 3s down the stretch. They try to make it two in a row against Team Jones when we resume play.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Deutsch (Meli Cafe) – 1-4

Right now, it’s not all about results of this group.. They are trying to learn to play with one another as there are many pieces coming in and out of the line-up.. Jeff Shukis scored over half the team’s points with 23 points.  This is a Team that has talent and the results will eventually follow. It’s a long season. They get #1 Team Lalez when we get back from turkey day.


Team Harris (Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap) – 1-4

A week after having virtually the entire Roster on-board, they were stuck with just 5 players again.. Most of which normally play in the back-court.  It was just a really tough assignment and especially so when factoring in the size of Team UC Booth, who play above the rim more so than most others in the League. Mike Goldstein had 23 and Alex Nadelman had 17 in defeat. Captain Brian had 15 as well.  They look to get back on track against Team Silver when we return in December for Week 6.


Team James (Chipotle) – 0-5

Team James isn’t where they want to be in the Standings right now. We know that.  However, they turned in their most complete performance of the season on Sunday. Yes, they squandered a double digit lead late in the Game against Team Apuli but the worked hard on both tends of the floor and didn’t give up for a second. The other Team just made a few more big shots at the end of the Game. Kyree Beamon is turning into one of the more exciting players to watch on Sundays with his drives to the hole. He had 22 on the night. Captain Christian had 19 and Scott Sangster (get better soon) had 16. These guys are going to go on a run soon. Who knows what the final record will look like but they have a bunch of Wins in them. They take on 4-1 Team Sternberg when play resumes after the holiday.


Team Kaplan (Camp Ojibwa) – 2-3

Part of being on a Team who is just getting to know one another is going through some rough patches. It’s inevitable.. They had the debut if Jordan Liss on Sunday Night who will be a nice addition and help with scoring, he had 19 on the night.  However, they also had 9 guys in the building (there most by far this season) and it was just tough for anyone to find a true rhythm, especially with there not being a real base to fall back on yet. They are still learning. It’s going to take some time.. The positives are, they have been in every Game and clearly the talent is there.. Chemistry will follow. They get #3 Team Malvin when we get back post-Turkey.


Team Schwartz (SLA Insurance) – 2-3

They happen to get Team Zimmerman during the best we’ve seen them this season. Still, they battled and wouldn’t go down without a fight. This group is much better than previous renditions and they are going to earn victories throughout the season. Jermaine Johnson has been a great addition in the backcourt, providing some quickness back there. He had 19 on the night.  They look to get back to .500 against 4-1 Team McNichols when we resume in December.


Team Silver (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 0-5

They didn’t get the sought-after W this week.. It’ll come.. They faced another really tough opponent in #6 Team Wong.. Their opponent’s record so far this season is a combined 16-9 including 3 Teams in the Top-6 currently (Malvin, UC Booth and Wong) plus the Defending Champs Team Gutman. That’s a really brutal start in terms of schedule especially for a Team with many new faces. They are going to be okay and have to know that there are another 14 weeks left in the Regular Season. Gage Coleman had 24 and 3 others were in double figures. A positive sign for them. They get Team Harris after we take the week off of Thanksgiving.


That’s it for Week 5. Everyone have a great holiday and we’ll see you back in December.