2019 WINTER  |  SEASON 43
WEEK 1
 

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer

 

McDaddy's vs. We Tried
Bronze Division
11 a.m.

Adrian Lecesne, Rookie of the Season and Most Improved player, has a new team - McDaddy's

 

McDaddy's, a rookie team composed of free agents, take on We Tried, a team looking for their first win since the last week of Season 41. Will the lack of team chemistry with McDaddy's give We Tried their first win since "The Claw" played for We Tried?

We Tried was led by All Star GM, Anthony Meltcher, who averaged 15.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg. Meltcher shot 47.8% from the field and averaged a team-high, 3.4 apg. The team played up-tempo averaging 59.9 ppg and attempting close to 10 three-pointers per contest. Carlos Nava averaged 12.3 ppg while Cody "Frat Boy" Rote averaged 12.4 ppg. The lack of defense may have attributed to their winless season but the pace of the game and the opportunity to pad stats made We Tried a favorite team for opposing teams to play against.

"Well, it is recreational ball and most of the guys from We Tried were getting their cardio on and spending time with the homies," said an opposing team.

"Other teams took Bronze very serious, and those are the teams that could have played in Gold," said a stats-keeper. "We Tried kept it very Bronze like last season."

IHOB isn't back for their 3rd season but players from the 3-5 team have found a new home. All Star guard Adrian Lecesne averaged 14.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg while Nick Perez is back after playing sporadically 2 seasons ago. Center Mike Arceo, a player from Foundation is also back and should be looking to dominate the paint against We Tried.

Pick to Win:  We Tried. Chemistry issues will always arise for any team composed of free agents. Look for We Tried to take advantage.

Jersey Colors:
McDaddy's(White)
We Tried (Black)

 

Foundation vs. Relentless
Bronze Division
12 p.m.

 

After a disappointing season with Renegades in Season 42, Kris Dick has taken his talents south to Bronze Division. (Foundation).

After missing the Playoffs with a 3-5 record last season, Foundation is back with a re-tooled line-up featuring veteran MVP caliber players of season's past. Kris Dick, Alphonso White, and Gary Beiard, former MVPs and legends of yester-year are the new additions to Foundation as they take on Relentless and Undefeated Father Time.

"A decade ago, that line-up would have been a Diamond Division trio but these days, they might get out-played in Bronze Division."

An MVP favorite in Season 41, Kris Dick averaged just 11.1 ppg and 9.1 rpg for Gold Division team, Renegades. Alphonso White is recovering from a knee injury while Gary Beaird, an All-Star for former 2-time Champion, Hoopers, averaged 21.6 ppg. Foundation had an overhaul in the off-season and GM Jonathan Wynn is emphasizing team play.

"We can't be too concerned with our personal stats and individual play, we've had that in the past," said GM Jonathan Wynn. "Let's focus on playoffs and winning this thing."

Gary Beaird's Hoopers disbanded after a disappointing 1st round exit but defensive stopper, Ruben Ramirez, is hoping to establish a new identity for his team, Relentless. Word on the street is they've played together in several leagues in the Inland Empire and chemistry shouldn't be an issue for this rookie team. Relentless will begin their season with new uniforms inspired by the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant.

Pick to Win:  Relentless has played in others leagues and their GM, Ruben Ramirez, was a defensive anchor for Hoopers. Although Foundation is the pick to win based on their experience and familiarity with each other's playing style, youth and defense heavily favor Relentless. Don't be surprised if Relentless walks away with the upset.

Jersey Colors:
Foundation (White)
Relentless (Black)

 

Monstars vs. LA Riots
Gold Division
1 p.m.

 

Monstars is looking for their first title in 13 season. GM Jared Ojeda has revamped his line-up to compete with a more competitive Gold Division.

 

Monstars had a promising season in Season 42 but a 4 game losing streak saw the Baldwin Park team miss the Playoffs with a 2-6 record. After a forgettable season last season, the team is back for their 13th Season but the lack of hardware has GM Jared Ojeda (10 ppg, 1.3 apg) feeling revitalized.

 

"I was looking at all the pictures, this is going to be our 13th Season and we still don't have a Championship," said GM Jared Ojeda. "When that moment finally happens, it's going to feel so much sweeter!"

 

When the League Commissioner was made aware of Monstars' drought, he felt his experiences with his first team (Phenoms) was relatable to Monstars' dry spell.

 

"We played with just our homies in our church league, then we played in Pacrim, and other leagues and it took us 13 YEARS to finally win one," said the League Commish. "Not 13 seasons, 13 years! When we finally won, it was the same day Lakers beat Magic for their 16th Championship, so that day was one of those days you won't forget. We almost started an LA Riot..."

 

Fittingly, Monstars take on rookie team, LA Riots. The rookie team is based in Los Angeles and their GM is Jackson Ruiz. A recap on Tuesday will provide a full analysis on rookie team.

 

All Star Andrew Martinez averaged 19.7 ppg, 1.7 apg while 3-point assassin, Johnny Cabrera, averaged 12.0 ppg. Former MVP Xavier Morelos scored 12.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg while the second half of the twin towers, Ralph Morelos, sat out last season. The team averaged 73.4 ppg and shot 51.1% from the field. The team had a break through with a new point guard last season but the lack of commitment at the 1 position had Monstars missing the post-season.

 

Pick to Win:  Monstars, by default, only because LA Riots is a new team and info is very limited.

Jersey Colors:
Monstars (Blue)
LA Riots (Black)

 

Fire Squad vs. Below The Rim
Bronze Division
2 p.m.

 

Otto Guillermo, Rookie of the Season, silenced the haters with several accolades that made him the top rookie in Bronze.

The Defending Champions, Fire Squad is back as they take on rookie team, Team FuerzaX. Fire Squad had re-tooled their line-up and the team is playing without 2 starters, Nephi Tofiga (9.0 ppg, 1.7 apg) and Garrison Deshay (7.3 ppg, 2.5 apg).

The twin towers may be gone but the addition of Gold Division All Star, Andrew Martinez (19.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg), should off-set Garrison and Nephi's departure. The Prodigy forwards are locked in on Gold Division this season while All Star sharp-shooter, Otto Guillermo, is back to prove last season was no fluke. Otto had several haters try to write him off early in the season and Otto responded with an All Star selection after being named Player of the Week. Trying to prove his All Star selection was no fluke, Otto hit 3 three-pointers at the All Star Game, giving his Western Conference a double-digit lead.

"You want to see people succeed and when players are motivated to prove they're haters wrong, it's inspiring to see," said a league writer. "No one knew Otto would catch fire like that, from Player of the Week, All Star nod, Championship, then playing a role in the All Star Game, that was huge! We'll see if he can do it again in his second season. That will really shut his haters up, if he even still has those haters."

Pick to Win:  Fire Squad. The Champs should give Below The Rim plenty of competition. The addition of a Gold Division All Star gave the Bronze Division teams plenty to talk about before the season started and rules were added to prevent additional roster movements.

 

"We don't want Bronze Division to get too competitive," said a league admin. "Teams will start sandbagging and next thing you know, Bronze Division is another Gold Division."

Jersey Colors:
Fire Squad (Black)
Team FuerzaX (White)

 

Chicle vs. Tune Squad
Bronze Division
3 p.m.

 

Contemplating retirement last season, Chris Duran isn't allowed to retire until Chicle wins another chip.

 

Season 41 Champions, Chicle, put together an impressive 2 season record, finishing last season with a 7-1 record and Chicle is 15-1 in the last 2 seasons. Unfortunately, Chicle has just 1 Championship to show and the dynasty that would be, was cut short after Chicle was star struck with the All Star Game. Will Chicle be able to erase their 1st Round Playoff blunder and get back to Dynasty mode?

 

"They had several players make the All Star team and next thing you know, they played out of character," said a league analyst. "It seemed like being an All Star got to them, mentally."

 

With all odds against the Western Conference All Stars, Chicle's very own GM, Chris Duran, guided the team to victory and talks of retirement was out the window.

 

"He'll retire on top, so Chicle has to win another one before Chris retires," said a Chicle player.

 

 The team ranked 1st in Bronze Division as Center Danny V led the team with 20.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg. Jay Tapang, former Finals MVP, averaged 19.5 ppg while former MVP, CJ "Nitro" Pang averaged 14.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg. All Star shooter, Mike Trout, averaged 12.4 ppg and he shot 45.5% from 3-point range.

 

Below The Rim is a team from Compton managed by GM Darryl Alexander. A full recap will be provided on Tuesday as Below The Rim makes this season debut. 

 

Pick to Win:  Word on the street is, Bishop Alumni players comprise Tune Squad and they are an uptempo team. Chicle must control the tempo and they need to get back to what made them successful - team play. If Tune Squad gets out on the open floor and scores in transition, this could be an upset. Expect first game jitters to get the best of Tune Squad as Chicle starts to get back to their winning ways.

Jersey Colors:
Chicle (Blue)
Tune Squad (White)

 

Bullets vs. Below The Rim
Gold Division
4 p.m.

 

MVP Jorge Parrales could see his numbers inflate as Bullets move forward without 2 key players.

The Runner-up from last season's Bronze Division Championship Game is back but the team from Boyle Heights will be missing a few key players. Will Bullets return to the Finals this season? Who will replace their "secret weapons"?

Eric Valentine (20.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg) and Marcus Eggum (12.3 ppg) were considered Bullet's secret weapons and Bullets rarely played their roster at full arsenal. All Star defensive G Jorge Parrales finished the season with MVP honors averaging 27.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg. At the All Star Game in Staples Center, Parrales was surrounded with scorers and he adapted serving as the defensive anchor as both teams surprisingly played defense at the All Star Gala. Bullets have more than enough players to compensate for Eric and Marcus' absence but the rest of the players will have to step up knowing they won't have the luxury of having Eric and Marcus. Bullets have been competitive in the Regular Season but the Playoffs haven't been so kind to the Boyle Heights team.

"Bullets, Outlawz, we've always been like that," observed former rival, Fernando Ruiz of Outlawz. "We would dominate in the Regular Season but in the Finals, we would just choke." 

Below The Rim is a team from Compton managed by GM Darryl Alexander. A full recap will be provided on Tuesday as Below The Rim makes this season debut. 

Pick to Win:  Bullets, by default, because we haven't seen Below The Rim play.

Jersey Colors:
Bullets (White)
Below The Rim (Black)

 

Entourage vs. Killmonger
Gold Division
5 p.m.

 

The last time these two teams faced each other, Killmonger sent Entourage packing in the 1st Round.

The schedule changed multiple times for Killmonger as new Entourage GM, Joey Cejudo was well aware of Killmonger's lack of players heading into Week 1. Killmonger was scrambling and appearted to be short-handed playing against Team Challenge ALS. The schedule finalized on Wednesday as Entourage and Killmonger once again face each other in the season opener.

Killmonger eliminated Entourage from the Playoffs last season and Entourage is looking for payback. Killmonger, in their 3rd season, is hoping to go 2-0 in season openers against their Chino 24 Hour Fitness Gym rivals. They finished with a 6-2 record and was ranked #1 in last season's Playoffs. 5 players scored in double figures as All Stars Johnny Blaze (19.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Sean Harris (14.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg) are back with a re-tooled line-up. GM Steven Ancheta has added bigger players and should expose Entourage's lack of depth, a problem that was visible for their rivals last season.

Entourage is under new management and All Star Joey Cejudo led the team with 16.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.0 apg. Former GM, All Star Kevin Levingston, averaged 15.1 ppg, 1.9 spg while Ryan Miller scored 15.7 ppg. Ryan had a strong start last season but Joey and Kevin stepped up huge when Entourage were making their Playoff run.

Pick to Win:  While Killmonger appears to be short-handed in the season opener, Entourage appears to have gotten deeper this season. Entourage has jumped to big leads against Killmonger but their ability to close out has Killmonger 2-0 in the last 2 games. If Killmonger really is short-handed and not playing possum, look for Entourage to kick Killmonger to the curb...or between 2 goal posts for an easy field goal kick. Joey Cejudo, for 3!

Jersey Colors:
Entourage (White)
Killmonger (Black)

 

 

Try Hards vs. Empire Elite
Gold Division
6 p.m.

 

Ryan Carter averaged 45 ppg in 5 games in his rookie season. Expected to play all 8 Regular Season Games, will Ryan Carter best Kenneth Ubom's 41.3 ppg?

30.
47.
49.
46.
53.

Rookie of the Season. All Star MVP. Regular Season MVP. Ryan Carter had an unforgettable rookie season and the march for the Regular Season Scoring Record (8 games) has begun. Will Ryan Carter break Hall of Famer Ken Ubom's 41.3 ppg (8 games) scoring record in his second season?

His competitors hate him on the basketball court but as spectators, they appreciate greatness when they see it. Ryan can score from 3-point territory, mid-range but his favorite spot is in the paint where he scores on all kinds of angles. Ryan averaged 45 ppg and shot 65.9% from the field and he has a tendency to draw fouls. With all the attention the MVP is getting, opponents should beware -- this isn't a 1-man team.

Try Hards is equipped with players who can score and play defense and they complement Ryan's skill set. All Star Fernando Ramos averaged 15.4 ppg, 2.0 apg while point guard Brandon Rojas averaged 9.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg. Center Manny Morales was a defensive powerhouse and he averaged 11.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.4 apg in his rookie season. GM Rudy Hernandez has the pieces to be competitive in Gold Division and last season, the rookie team ranked #3 with a 5-3 record.

Empire Elite is managed by former Renegades player by AJ Thomas and last season, he averaged 8.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg. The team is built to make some noise and Empire Elite is bringing some of Inland Empire's best hoopers. Unknown what the rest of the roster looks like, we will have a full recap on Tuesday morning.

Pick to Win:  Try Hards aka Lakers 2007 team.

Jersey Colors:
Try Hards (Black)
Empire Elite (White)

 

Team Challenge ALS vs. East LA Dream Team
Gold Division
7 p.m.

 

Team Challenge ALS has the league buzzin.

It is one of the most anticipated debuts in Superstar Basketball as former MVP and Boston College Alumni, Sean Marshall, returns to Superstar Basketball with one of the most competitive teams in The Tournament, Team Challenge ALS.

The former MVP averaged 26.9 ppg in Spring 2009 playing for Platinum Division team, Team Nazo. Marshall led the team with 8.1 rpg and led the former Champions with 24 three-pointers. Joining Marshall is All Star Dell Well and he led Sick Pick Ups with 28.2 ppg, 2.2 apg. Dell Well is a glue guy who sacrifices his own stats and his willingness to play the blue collar role had his peers admiring his game.

"When we played in the BALA tournament for Pacquiao, Dell Well found a spot on the floor because he was the guy who was doing all the little things - defending, grabbing boards, boxing out," said one of his All Star peers. "You need guys who aren't concerned with padding their stats, Dell is one of those dudes."

Word has it his teammate, Mike Peters, another former MVP has a found a new home with East LA Dream Team. The former 3-time Champions fell apart last season as the lack of chemistry and passion to defend the throne led to East LA Dream Team missing the Playoffs. Peters averaged 21.8 ppg on 49.3% shooting and should contribute to East LA Dream Team's new culture. Derrick Tamanaha is helping manage the roster while GM Mario Miramontes guides the team at the forefront.

Pick to Win:  Picking a rookie team as a favorite to beat a veteran team in Superstar Basketball on Week 1 is blasphemous since a rookie team has yet to play in the league. The exception is high with Team Challenge ALS, a top-tier team in The Tournament and THEY ARE THE TEAM that everyone is talking about! The hype machine should be in full force after Week 1, as Team Challenge ALS gives East LA Dream Team the ice bucket challenge.

 

Jersey Colors:
Team Challenge ALS (Gray)
East LA Dream Team (Blue)

 

 

Death Row vs. Relics
Gold Division
8 p.m.

 

League record, 20x Champions, Relics has added veterans to help them defend their throne.

While all eyes are on Team Challenge ALS, rookie team, Death Row vs 20x Champions, Relics, is the Main Event on Season 43's Season Opener. Death Row isn't considered a rookie team with 4 players who have experience beating Relics in the Finals.

*cough*

*Baseline All Stars*

*cough*

Death Row is headlined by Renegades All Star Center, Justian Hamilton (14.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and he is back with former Renegades teammates, Derick Andrews (14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Julian McDonald (13.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Former Baseline All Stars players, Calvin Mitchell and Michael Munoz are proven winners and should give Death Row plenty of help in the scoring department.

Relics, using their recent Playoff run as a wake-up call, have re-tooled their line-up. The team has added veteran players (will be named during Recaps) as the team continues to play without Relics Championship players,  Bobby Kovach (34 ppg last season) and James Acevedo. Cisco Acevedo, considered the GOAT, averaged 22.6 ppg last season while Andrew Knox scored 18.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg. All Star Yayo Yaisreal averaged 17.4 ppg while Terrence Martin, Hall of Famer, averaged 12.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg. The Champs are 2 for 2 since their return to Superstar Basketball but the competition has visibly gotten stronger and they are motivated to get their 3-peat going.

"You got us working out again, these young guys are coming for us," said Terrence Martin.

"All of sudden, they're all coming trying to beat us," said James Acevedo, GM. "All of a sudden."

 

Pick to Win:  Champions have a tendency to play lackadaisical but Finals MVP Roderick Evans-Taylor is making sure the 20x Champions are on their feet. Roderick has been working with basketball trainer CJ Johnson and Rod's hunger to win DOMINATE should carry over this season. A Finals MVP isn't enough for Rod and he's playing to get nominated to the All Star Game after being snubbed last season. While the bucket list includes All Star nod, All Star MVP, Regular Season MVP, and another Finals MVP, look for Rod 20x Champions, Relics, knock Death Row, off their death row. (drumroll)

 

Jersey Colors:
Death Row(Black)
Relics (Blue)