By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer


IHOB vs. We Tried
Bronze Division
12 p.m.


We Tried is all fun and games and is a Bronze Division recreation team. Their Week 1 opponents, IHOB, wants to beat the defending Champions, Chicle.

Last season's rookie teams begin their Sophomore campaign against each other as the overachievers from Victorville, IHOB, take on fun loving Fullerton squad, We Tried.

IHOB is led by last season's Rookie of the Season, Adrian Lecesne, who averaged 15.5 ppg, 3.5 apg. Adrian is one if not the fastest player Bronze Division and he excels at both ends of the floor, leading the fast break with wide open layups and gunning for show stopper blocks. Lecesne's length gives him a huge advantage on defense and last season, he averaged 1.0 spg. GM Arvin Delapaz (14.0 ppg, 5.9 apg) loves the highlight reels and his creativity in passing and play making has Top 5 plays written all over it. Missing is Defensive Player of the Season, Jason Shorts and Zac Nece who is still recovering from injury. The team has several new players and they're hoping to knock off Chicle from the top spot in Bronze. They finished last season with the #3 spot finishing with a 5-3 record.

We Tried had 2 players scoring in double digits as GM Anthony Meltcher averaged 15.3 ppg, 11.0 rpg. He could have averaged 20 points but he often looks for his team-mates and his intention is to make them better by getting them move involved in the offense. Meltcher, the tallest of his team-mates has an underrated stroke from long distance where he ranked 2nd from the team knocking down 22 three's with a 35% accuracy. Cody Rote led We Tried with dance moves and he averaged 13.1 ppg and 25 three-pointers. The team's guards improved steadily last season as the Nava Brothers combined for 16.9 ppg, 2.7 apg. Despite their 1-7 record, We Tried only got blown out twice and were competitive in most of the games.

With IHOB playing a double-header and having a full roster on Week 1, look for IHOB to play their full roster. This game should be close with IHOB resting their starters and seeing what their bench produces. We Tried's bench should be stronger than IHOB's so look for the 2nd unit from We Tried to outscore IHOB's 2nd unit.



IHOB vs. Bullets
Bronze Division
1 p.m.


Adrian Lecesne, Rookie of the Season, is one of the fastest players in Bronze Division.

It's been years since Bullets were in the league so let's pull up the archive where in Winter 2012, they finished with the #8 spot in Gold Division with a 3-5 record.

GM Daniel Donato, the team's GM, is a strategist who excels on the defensive end while guiding the team from the sidelines. Mike Enriquez, the team's All Star in season's past, averaged 15.4 ppg, 2.1 apg, 2.0 spg. With rust and Father Time catching up to Bullets, they feel comfortable returning in Bronze Division where they feel they'll be competitive in their return. With IHOB playing a double-header, this will give Bullets a chance to scout the competition and take advantage of their opponent's weariness.




Prodigy Plug vs. Try Hards
Bronze Division
2 p.m.


Playoff P, Paul Magaway, is expected to have a big season after producing big time in the Playoffs.

Prodigy Plug begins their season against Try Hards, a rookie team playing a double-header to start the season.

Prodigy Plug finished their rookie campaign with a 4-4 record finishing as the 5th seed in last season's Playoffs. Prodigy defeated the former Champions, East LA Dream Team to advance to the Semis where they lost to the Champions, Relics.

Garrison Deshay won Rookie of the Season honors (along with Monstars' Andrew Martinez) and he averaged 16.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg. GM Paul Magaway had a strong Playoff series giving himself the nickname, "Playoff P". In the Regular Season, he averaged 11.5 ppg, 2.0 apg while Isaiah Watson averaged 28.0 ppg, 3.0 spg.  This team constantly turns in highlight plays and is a staple on the Plays of the Week.

Chicle GM, Chris Duran, last season's GM of the Season, had nothing but good things to say about Try Hards, a team they played in another league.

"They're pretty good, we played them in the Championship and they play hard especially on defense," advised Duran. "Teams shouldn't overlook them because they're small."

"So they're the Chicle of Gold, is what you're saying," responded a league analyst, not named Hanz Jimenez.


Relics vs. Renegades
Gold Division
3 p.m.


Relics, chasing their 20th Championship, will unveil new jerseys to start Season 42.

Renegades had a strong return last season, finishing with a 5-3 record and finishing 3rd in the standings. Kris Dick was an MVP favorite, averaging 29.3 ppg, 14.8 rpg on 53% shooting. "Mighty" Mike Ratliff averaged 21.8 ppg, 2.8 apg while GM Aaron Mancell talked his usual game, averaging 4.7 rpg, 1.7 apg. Renegades were expected to go deep in the Playoffs against Relics but they overlooked their 1st Round opponents, Monstars, and went home early. They finally get their match-up against the 19x Champions, Relics, headlined by MVP, Cisco Acevedo.

Cisco Acevedo averaged 22.9 ppg on 45.2% shooting and knocked down a league-high, 55 three-pointers. The first 100 point scorer in the league shot 46% from 3-point range while averaging 2.4 apg. GM of the Season, James Acevedo, averaged a team-high, 6.3 apg while Bobby Kovach, Defensive Player of the Season, averaged 16.5 ppg, 1.8 apg. Relics were triumphant in their return and despite showing signs of old age, the team is more efficient than ever.

"I heard my old team wasn't dunking, and they weren't as flashy as before, but they're still winning games," said Founder, Ernest Pablo. "I'd take efficient over flashiness, it's all about winning chips at this point."



East LA Dream Team vs. Try Hards
Gold Division
4 p.m.


When East LA Dream Team gets their hunger back and their players play ALL 8 games, they should prove they're still one of the teams to beat.

East LA Dream Team aka Eat LA Dream Team is hungry for that Chips. They take on rookie team, Try Hards, another team from East LA.

Chicle GM, Chris Duran, last season's GM of the Season, had nothing but good things to say about Try Hards, a team they played in another league.

"They're pretty good, we played them in the Championship and they play hard especially on defense," advised Duran. "Teams shouldn't overlook them because they're small."

"So they're the Chicle of Gold, is what you're saying," responded a league analyst, not named Hanz Jimenez.

East LA Dream Team, in their back-to-back Championships, was a problem for a lot of teams as their players bought in to GM Mario Miramontes and Reyes Cervantes' system. The roster is deep from 1 to 9 and their players' defensive mentality produced plenty of blow-out games. Most overlooked them against Powerball in Season 39 but their 2nd Championship had their opponent's powerless in the defensive end. Season 40 proved Dream Team was better than Ball Broz but in Season 41, their players were constantly in and out of the line-up. If their players can show commitment and show up for all 8 games, Dream Team should be back on top to end 2018.

League analysts tried to limit Dream Team's previews to just 2 players, thier GMs because the emphasis was on team. But for the record, Alan Rosas and Andrew Martinez are bulldogs on defense and Frankie Morales is so good, he was the Most Improved Player last season. Center Ant Lefeau is a problem in the paint and Derrick Tamanaha, their recruit from Ball Broz, is about to go off for Dream Team.



Entourage vs. Killmonger
Gold Division
5 p.m.


Mark Mercado is playing in Bronze (Foundation) and Gold Division (Killmonger) this season.

2 Teams make their return to Superstar Basketball as former Champions, Entourage, take on Killmonger.

Killmonger was off to a fast start (2-0) in Season 41 but injuries slowed the team from Wakanda down, finishing with a 5-3 record on a 4th place finish. It was an early 1st Rd exit and with vibranium in stock in their 2nd go around, Killmonger looks to be better than ever. (that's cuz their jerseys are designed by yours truly, lol).

GM Steven Ancheta averaged 7.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg and had 15 three-pointers. Ancheta shot 23.8% from 3-point range and he shot 63 times, 1 short from Uzoma Kalu who went 29-for-36 (48.3%), while averaging 21.1 ppg. If Steven struggles from 3-point range this season, he should be looking to pass, notably to Mark Mercado who's making his return to Gold Division this season. Mark averaged 20.4 ppg while shooting 50% for Foundation. It's unknown what the rest of the roster looks like but word has it that Killmonger has seen glimpses of Entourage at Chino 24 Hour Fitness.

"We are real excited to play against them, we see some of their guys at 24 and Mark's been in contact with us for awhile," said GM Steven Ancheta.

While Killmonger is excited to return to Superstar, we're excited for Entourage to be talking a whole lotta shit, AGAIN, this season! The former Champions were 5-3 and were ranked #2 in Season 31. Ralph Nevarez led the team with 22.5 ppg on 62.3% shooting while Kevin Levingston averaged 15.3 ppg, 3.5 apg. Bryan Gernux averaged 16.5 ppg while shooting 40% from 3-point range with a team-high of 25. GM Keith Levingston, expected to be guiding the team from the sidelines, will see limited action due to an Achilles injury. Former GM Eric Villegas is also expected to make an appearance along with the legion of Lebron James fans...


NOTE: The League Commissioner, a known Lebron hater... lol, was told by several Entourage players, notably Efehi Ogbebor and Chris Epps, that one day, he will be cheering for Lebron James.


*Sigh, that day has come.... lol. (eats some humble pie)




Chicle vs. Foundation
Gold Division
6 p.m.




Championship Chicle is defending the throne against Foundation, the team with the most Championships in the division.

Foundation finished with a 5-3 record (#2) last season while Chicle completed their perfect 8-0 record with their first Championship. Foundation, looking forward to the Finals match-up against Chicle, lost to IHOB and never got the match-up they wanted. They finally get the match-up against Chicle, but no Championship at stake as Chicle defends the throne against the team with most chips in Bronze Division.

Mark Mercado (20.4 ppg, 1.6 apg) is taking his talents to Gold Division with Killmonger this season and playing 2 games a week could be a problem for his second team. Will Mercado handle the work load? Will he be as efficient in his second game as he is when he plays his first? Father Time is undefeated and so far, Mercado is leading in the 3rd quarter. Foundation's best player is over-achieving but the rest of his teammates will have to step up as Bronze Division got better this season. Last season, Adrian Eddington averaged 16.8 ppg, 11.4 rpg while Center Mike Arceo averaged 9.8 ppg, 13.2 rpg.

CJ Pang, MVP last season, averaged 12.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, and a team-high, 5.6 apg. CJ is a favorite amongst his peers and several opponents voted him as MVP over his team-mates, Jay Tapang and Mike Trout. Jay, last season's Finals MVP, averaged a team-high, 17.6 ppg, 2.0 apg while sharp-shooter Mike Trout averaged 17.4 ppg on 57% shooting. Their GM, Chris Duran, is deadly from 3-point range and last season, he averaged 6.3 ppg on 58.8% shooting. The GM of the Season is more than just a sideline GM and he often scores in the paint wide open. Chicle's team ball has produced End of the Season hardware and they should be deadlier than ever as they defend their first Championship.

"It could come down to Chicle vs. IHOB 2 at the end of the season but other teams are stacking up to play against the division's Champions," said a league analyst. "It's fun to hear Chicle call out Relics from time to time too, we're sure Relics gets a good laugh out of it."



Monstars vs. Sick Pick Ups
Bronze Division
7 p.m.


Andrew Martinez, Rookie of the Season, can score anywhere on the floor.

It's been a Week 1 tradition for veteran teams to take on their former players who have started their own teams. That tradition continues as Baldwin Park team, Monstars take on rookie team Sick Pick Ups. Former Monstars player, Marquis Valenzuela, takes on his former team-mates.

Monstars finished with a 3-5 record last season and was #6 in the standings. With their backs against the wall playing without the Morelos Brothers in the Playoffs, the team defeated Renegades in the 1st Rd and nearly took out Ball Broz in the Semis. Andrew Martinez, last season's Rookie of the Season has underrated handles and is capable of scoring anywhere on the floor. Andrew averaged 17.1 ppg, 2.3 apg and 1.1 spg while GM Jared Ojeda averaged 12.9 ppg on 36.5% accuracy. Johnny Cabrera's 10.7 ppg comes in bunches and often it's in game changing situations in the 4th quarter. The Morelos Brothers live in the paint and Ralph and Xavier combined for 30.4 ppg, 19.3 rpg.

With the Monstars having success without 2 of their starters in the Playoffs, many are wondering if the dynamics will change. Will the team take more shots without relying on the Morelos Brothers? Will egos get in the way of Monstars? The team proved they're coach-able when Relics' Terrence Martin gave them tips on beating Renegades in the Playoffs so look for this to be a non-issue.

Look for a full scouting report on rookie team Sick Pick Ups on Tuesday morning's Recaps.