2016-17 Chicago Hoops – Week 9 (Jan. 8)

Updated: January 10, 2017

We are back!  Hope everyone had a Happy and Healthy New Year.. The Chicago Hoops League resumed play on Sunday evening after a long break and the night was predictably unpredictable.. The long vacation made for some rustiness and allowed for a few upsets.  We had four Teams enter Week 9 at 7-1.. two of those Teams lost.. We will get into that and much more below!

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

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Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Hakimian Imports) – 8-1

Team Lalez picked up right where they left off in 2016.. They earned a 15 point Win over Team Kaplan to start the second half of the season.  They were without many of their regular starters on Sunday Night but with that came an opportunity for others to step up and for them to bolster the roster a bit.. We saw the 2016-17 debut of Justin Ward who many will remember as a key part of Team Goldin last season. He had 18 on the night. Michael Morrissey also made his Chicago Hoops League debut — he was a key contributor to the Lalez/Hakimian franchise this Summer and helped their big Playoff run.. If these guys are going to be regular parts of the squad.. The best Team in the League got a whole lot better over the break. Need to give a get better soon to Brandon Lathon who took an inadvertent shot to the face. Hopefully he is back soon.  They will be part of the Live Clean Chicago Game of the Week on Sunday Night when they play #6 Team Malvin.


2. Team Wong (Biaggi’s Purple) – 8-1

Up now to #2 is Team Wong. They continue to climb and for great reason.. They hold the title of “longest active win streak” in the League right now — their streak is at 7.  They had a big-time come back Win on Sunday Night against Team Zimmerman and did so without Tim Szatko. Lane Barlow had 28 and Alan Roberts had 19 including a few really key buckets during their comeback. These guys find different ways to Win every week and this Sunday was a perfect opportunity to show off their depth.  They are not just title contenders anymore they turning into one of the few favorites. They take on Team Apuli in Week 10.


3. Team Maione (Southview Athletics) – 7-2

They were part of what was easily the best Game of the Night on Sunday.  They went toe to toe with Team UC Booth for 44 minutes.. That wasn’t enough.. In Overtime, UC Booth just hit one more shot and that was enough to dish Team Maione their second Loss of the season. Chris Wroblewski had 34 points and 8 dimes. Chris Ray added 21 points as well. These guys won’t let a Loss shake them.. Expect them to be right back to their winning ways shortly.. They get Team Kaplan in Week 10.


4. Team Kozin (Peak Properties) – 7-2

Not really sure how this has happened but Team Kozin is somehow flying under the radar.. The same Team that has gone to back to back Championship Sundays (finishing in 2nd and 3rd) — they are Winners of 5 straight Games. Tied for 3rd in the Standings, just a Game Back from first and they are not getting nearly the pub that they deserve. We can comfortably say this as well.. This is the best version we’ve seen of these guys.. They are deeper and playing great. Michael Halusek, which is a name many should get used to at this point.. Had 28 points. Josh Davis had 23.


5. Team UC Booth (Biaggi’s Red) – 7-2

They started off 2017 with easily their biggest Win of the Season thus far.. Truthfully it’ll likely end up being their most important Regular Season Game of the Season.  They went shot for shot with perennial favorites Team Maione.  They were down late and never gave up. They continued to fight.. Forced OT and came up huge in the extra session. It’s been said in the Power Rankings before (and this just backs it up).. When this roster is full and playing well, they are really really tough to defeat. Four Players were in double figures including Victor Ojeleye who had 31. Him and Chris Wroblewski going toe to toe was really fun to watch. Captain Doug Sexauer had 18. Both of these guys had really clutch buckets late too.  This Win gets them squarely back on everyone’s radar.. They will have Team Schwartz in Week 10.


6. Team Malvin (StudentCity) – 7-2

They gutted out a hard-fought W over Team Schwartz to start 2017. It was likely a harder Win than they anticipated as Team Schwartz is better than their record indicates.. They also were without a few key components including Nate Johnson.  The Win keeps them locked in a tie for 3rd with 4 other Teams who sit just a Game Back in the Standings of first place.. Rodney Clark led them in scoring with 17 in a Game where each bucket felt like a victory.  They have a chance to not only make a statement but grab a key tiebreaker for the Playoffs when they take part in the Live Clean Chicago Game of the Week and face-off with #1 Team Lalez in Week 10.


7. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) – 7-2 

Team Sternberg did not get off to the start they wanted to in 2017.  They played against a Justin Bowen led Team Cohen, which is a hard enough task as it is.. But did so without many of their starters.. Including Jamie Nikitas, Tyler Max and Captain Sam Sternberg.. They are going to have to figure out how to Win without their Captain this Spring as Sam has gotten a job in Florida.. They have a ton of talent and will figure it out but his leadership ranked highly among League Captains. Jonathan Gac had a really nice game with 25 points in this one. Jesse Pollans had 14 points on just 6 shots as well. They look to bounce back against Team Silver in Week 10.


8. Team Jones (Chicago Trolley) – 6-3

Team Jones is playing great basketball right now. They are not necessarily getting the headlines (yet) but their play should be well documented. They have won 5 straight Games and did so on Sunday without their leading scorer and Captain Gilles Jones.  They took down Defending Champs Team Gutman. They built up a big lead early and were able to ice it late. Mike Gleason had 23, Darek Wojewnik had 20 and Garrett Staniec had 19 to help fuel the Win.  They take on the improved Team Cohen in Week 10 and try to stretch their W-streak to 6.


9. Team Purimetla (Wrigley View Rooftop) – 6-3

Pulled out a more-difficult than expected Win over Team Deutsch in what was a really well played Game.  This group finds a way week in and week out. They have won 4 of their last 5 and are really clicking right now. Sam Leewood had 31 and Captain Pete Purimetla had 26 to lead them in scoring on Sunday.  They are among the scariest outside shooting Teams in the League.  They have a handful of guys that can shoot from distance and it makes it really hard to focus on the bigs that require attention in the paint. They get Team McNichols on Sunday Night who will be desperate for a Win.


10. Team Gutman (Live Clean CHI) – 4-5

They had won two straight heading into the Break and it seemed like they were ready to do what they did a year ago en route to the Crown.. This year however, it seemed the break halted their momentum a bit.. They were defeated by a good Team Jones squad on Sunday Night and although they showed a lot in a big second half comeback, they have to figure out a way to not start off so sluggish.  Marin Kukoc had 32 on the night and newcomer Stephen Albrecht had 20 in his second appearance.  They will get Team James on Sunday Night. A group that is playing well ahead of what their record shows. They need to bring it from the tip.


11. Team McNichols (Al’s Beef on WESTERN) – 5-4

Ran into one of the elite Teams on Sunday Night – #4 Team Kozin – and it didn’t go the way they hoped. Joe Kozak continues to impress. He had 24 of his Team’s 60 points in this one. Their trouble came on the Defensive end where they just couldn’t get consistent stops. They’ve lost 3 in a row and due to the break it likely feels like they haven’t won forever. They just need to shake it off as best they can and look to get a Win next week when taking on #9 Team Purimetla.


12. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 3-6 

We touted their improvements early on this season and then those off-season improvements slowly withered away and they went into a slump.  Well, they started off 2017 with the roster mostly intact once again and most importantly Justin Bowen made a return to the Team.. They were able to pick up a big W over the streaking and elite Team Sternberg.. It was a great way to start 2017! Justin Bowen had 20 and David Zale had 18 in the W. They will take on #8 Team Jones in a sneaky good Game next Sunday.


13. Team Schwartz (SLA Insurance) – 3-6

Coming in at #13 this week is Team Schwartz. They played Team Malvin extremely tough and with only 5 guys. They fell way behind early on, which has been their achilles heel lately.. But stormed back as they often do.. Jason Vismantas had 18 in this one. These guys can play with anyone in the League and they showed that once again on Sunday as they went down to the end with #6 Team Malvin.  They just need to start faster. They get #5 UC Booth on Sunday.


14. Team Harris (Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap) – 3-6

Back in the Win Column and into the Rankings to start 2017 is Team Harris. They defeated Team Apuli on Sunday Night.  Surprise, surprise Zack Novak was in uniform this week as his presence as aligned with their Wins this season.  He had 29 points on Sunday. Max Unger has shown improved play in the past few weeks as well as he chipped in 15 in the W. They will look to get on a real roll against the reeling Team Zimmerman in Week 10.


Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Apuli (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – 1-8

Faced a better than their record indicates Team Harris and with only 5 guys. They did see another appearance from newcomers Evan Zahniser and Connor Harlander. They are a better Team with those additions for sure. Steve Login led them in scoring with 23 and Rob Kamentsev had 19 as well. This group really has a ton of talent. 1-8 doesn’t do them justice and it’s going to end up leading to some distraught Teams come Playoff time when they run into these guys.. Mark it down.. They have the very strong #2 Team Wong in Week 10.


Team Deutsch (Meli Cafe) – 1-8

Team Deutsch was not able to come away with the Win over Team Purimetla on Sunday Night but they did play a really solid Game against a very formidable opponent and was in it until the very end. Jeff Shukis had 23 points and 7 boards for his squad on Sunday. They were without co-Captain Ari Nemetz who gives them a ton of heart and character off the bench normally.. Maybe that would have been the difference on Sunday.. They will take on #4 Team Kozin this coming Sunday Night.


Team James (Chipotle) – 2-7

Yes, they are still just 2-7.. But they have won 2 of their last 3 and have seemingly turned the corner.. They won this Game in the closing moments over Team Silver. Scott Sangster is turning into one of the best scoring guards in the League and might be the very best pound for pound. He had 28 on the night including a few key buckets late. 3 more guys were in double figures for them.. Captain Christian James, Darrius Williams and Corey Lewis.  They look to make it 3 of 4 against the Defending Champs Team Gutman in Week 10.


Team Kaplan (Camp Ojibwa) – 2-7

Team Kaplan played with just 5 men on Sunday Night and kept it close against the bigger #1 Team Lalez for about 30-35 minutes.. They just didn’t have enough in the tank to make a final surge and ended up falling away in the last stage of the Game.. No moral victories again but this core is coming together as a unit. Their Win/Loss record won’t scare anyone but everyone on this Team can play and when they have 100% of the roster there they are scary. They take on #3 Team Maione in the second half of a gruesome 2-week stretch for Team Kaplan.


Team Silver (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 0-9

They got closer than they have all season long. While it’s not what they wanted it is a positive start to 2017. They had a chance to win this one.. Fell a point short but still something to really build upon over the last 10 Games of the Regular Season. Gage Coleman led them in scoring again with 23 points.  They are going to snap this skid soon. They look to pull the upset in Week 10 against Team Sternberg.


Team Zimmerman (MB Financial) – 3-6

Reminder here — this section is alphabetical — it bares repeating because Team Zimmerman would certainly not be listed last here. Can’t really sugar coat this.. They have lost 4 in a row, with this Sunday being the one that will likely sting the most.. They were up by as much as 18 points against #2 Team Wong but just couldn’t close it out and fell in the final moments of the Game.  We knew that it would be tough transitioning the Team away from Kyle Nelson and bumps were expected.. The loss of Captain Jack Zimmerman to an ankle injury have only exasperated those issues as he is their glue on and off the court. Ok, it was a lie.. We can sugar coat it.. This Team’s record is not going to affect their post-season success. It just isn’t. They are 2x Defending Champs of the Chicago Men’s “All Sports” League and they were in the Championship Game of this League a year ago for great reason.. They need to take time over the next 10 weeks to just heal up, get right, and get ready for an extended run.  They know no other way. The turn around starts with Team Harris who they are currently tied with in the Standings.


That’s it for Week 9. See everyone on Sunday Night. Welcome Back!