No Surprises at the Top of the Power Rankings


FRIDLEY REC+:  Season Preview/ Preseason Power Rankings

 By Jake Gave | Fridley League Coordinator

As the weather begins to cool down in Minnesota, things are heating up in the gym at Fridley.  The REC+ season is back and a bunch of new teams have joined to vie for the coveted Gold Cup Title.  Yeah it’s football season, but the Thursday Night Football games pale in comparison to the battles we’ll see on the hardwood.  So set your DVRs and head on down to Fridley tonight for this season’s opening week; there are a bunch of juicy matchups.  I’m glad you guys are joining me and please call me out if I dissed your team in these rankings...         

 1.  The Originals (Predicted W/L: 7-1)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Chris Maher

2)    Travis “Travy Baby” Johnson

3)    Max Wessel

4)    Josh Hoyle

5)    Ahmed Helmy

6)    Thomas Brecto-Grace

7)    Sam Rosebear

 Last season’s champs are back to defend their title and are doing so with the exact same roster.  Why fix it if it ain’t broken?  Travis, Max, Josh, Tom, and Sam all got their first-ever UH championship with last season’s title and are now seeking another.  Will The Originals fall victim to a championship hangover season, or can they continue their dominance??  They open the season at #1 out of respect for the champs.

 2. FOB Five (Predicted W/L: 6-2)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Izzy Elkaffas

2)    Adam Hoven

3)    Bryant Marmol

4)    Casey Schannauer

5)    Jon Christenson

6)    Brian Sames

7)    Sean Smith

 FOB Five had an up and down season in the summer, but ended up making a run to the championship game where they fell just short of a title.  The squad for this season looks a bit different, but the addition of Brian Sames skyrockets this team to the top of the rankings.  I have also heard that Sean Smith has a “wet ball” and that FOB will be letting them fly from beyond the arc at an unprecedented clip.  That’s saying something for FOB, who have always launched from deep.  They may not have a lot of size, but have fun trying to keep up with them.

 3. Bulls (Predicted W/L: 6-2)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Eugene “Geno” Phelps

2)    Steven “Roo” Ellis

3)    Da’Jon McKnight

4)    Emmanuel “E” Harrison

5)    Jehoshaphat Oyugi

6)    Billy Elwell

 The Bulls were ranked #1 for a majority of last season and looked like the championship front-runners.  FOB Five put an end to that by knocking them out in the Final Four.  I have no doubt that the Bulls were disappointed with their finish and will come out with a lot of fire this season.  Billy Elwell makes his return and the triple double machine will have a huge impact right away.  The current roster is purely Rec eligible players and rumor has it that a former college player could be joining the ranks.

 4. Wolves (Predicted W/L: 5-3)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Neal Anderson

2)    Hans Albrecht

3)    Bryan Munsell

4)    Dan Munsell

5)    Ryan Boegeman

6)    Ryan Jansen

The Wolves are back and ready to make some noise once again in the league.  They had a tough draw last season in the first round of the playoffs, facing a FOB Five squad who got hot at the right time.  The roster is filled with snipers from long distance like Neal Anderson (career 50 percent) and Bryan Munsell (career 44 percent) who can make any team pay if they get lazy on D.  It is rumored that there may be a few new faces joining the squad this season but these guys are already a force to be reckoned with as it stands.  

 5. Bakke’s Bombers (Predicted W/L: 4-4)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Jake Gave

2)    Lomumba Ismail

3)    Zach Debeltz

4)    Aaron Kern

5)    Valentino Jackson

6)    Casey Ehrenberg

7)    Dashawn Nichols

8)    Eli Guptil

 Bakke’s Bombers are back after a very successful second season as a franchise.  They rattled off six regular season wins and a #2 seed in the playoffs, only to fall short in the Final Four to the eventual champs, The Originals.  Bakke’s Bombers will be a little different this time around, especially with the loss of GM Josh “Bakke” Underbakke.  The Bombers do get Lomumba Ismail back and with the additions of Dashawn Nichols and Eli Guptil, this team will be a defensive powerhouse.

6. Bigsmash (Predicted W/L: 3-5)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Joe Suek

2)    Billy Suek

3)    Brock Zins

4)    Glen Fair

5)    Greg Regenscheid

6)    Noe Mendez

7)    Lethzee Calderon

 The highly storied Bigsmash franchise makes their return to Ultimate Hoops and their debut in the Rec+ division.  The Suek brothers wanted their own team this time around and took former FOB Five members Brock Zins and Glen Fair with them.  Noe Mendez and Lethzee Calderon will team up to make a lightning quick backcourt.  The big story for this squad is the return of UH legend Greg Regenscheid, who was thought to have entered retirement after his final game of the Winter 2016 season.  He seems to be embracing the UH motto “Never Retire” and we’ll find out if the big man still has some gas left in the tank...     

 7. Jumpshot Hustlers (Predicted W/L: 3-5)

 Rumored Roster:

1)    Jack Ruhland

2)    Jake Ruhland

3)    Aaron Daniels

4)    Jared Hughes

5)    David Stommes

6)    Chris Peterson

7)    Sam Flood

 The Jumpshot Hustlers franchise makes their return for the fourth-straight season and they are looking to take that next step.  They only have three guys returning from last season so this squad will look a lot different this time around.  Big man David Stommes is back and ready to bully the opposition in the paint.  The Hustlers also have a few UH rookies joining the team so it will be intriguing to see what this team can do.  However, the Ruhland brothers have assured me they are ready to take the league by storm.

 8. Triple Double (Predicted W/L: 3-5)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    Sonny Young-Graves

2)    Mejoy Lawson

3)    Jon “Goods” Goodridge

4)    Gulaid Warsame

5)    Alex Riley

 Triple Double is one of four new teams to the league but they have a lot of familiar faces.  We all know what Sonny Young-Graves brings to the table with his playmaking and unlimited range.  Jon Goods will set the tone and be the enforcer while Gulaid Warsame will be picking pockets and swatting weak layups into the fourth row.  Alex Riley has a unique all-around skill set and Mejoy Lawson has elite athleticism that will be a handful to slow down.  They will likely add a couple more guys, but this roster is off to a solid start and could surprise some squads.

 9. Uncle D.A. and the Killers (Predicted W/L: 2-6)

 Rumored Roster:

 1)    “Uncle” Daryll “D.A.” Atkinson

2)    Tyler Weaver

3)    Kendall Patton

 Uncle D.A. and the Killers is one of my favorite team names in Ultimate Hoops history.  It still makes me laugh every time and I think we all have to start referring to D.A. as Uncle D.A.  This squad is still a work in progress but with the big three they have, they will be tough to defend in the paint. Kendall Patton makes his return to UH after one season with Akway’s back in the Winter. The 6’6”, 230-pound monster will be a matchup nightmare for teams.  I’ll have to wait to see the rest of the roster but these guys could definitely be making some noise this season. 

 10. Team FOE (Predicted W/L: 1-7)

 1)    Ryan Rosenberg

2)    Parker Del Medico

3)    David Gregory

4)    Andre Thomas

5)    Wiley Jiles

6)    Jack Lynch

 Coming in at the bottom spot is Team FOE (Family Over Everything).  Five of these guys played on the Free Agent squad last season and gelled so well together that they started their own franchise.  The only new guy is Wiley Jiles, who actually has three UH games to his name from way back in 2012.  We’ll see if he can pick up where he left off and fit in with this team.  The rest of the guys should be very familiar with each others games and should have no issues when it comes to chemistry.  They almost pulled off a few crazy upsets last season and with a streamlined roster this time around, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them knock off a couple squads.