Chess and Checkers
METROWEST DRAFT: Week 2 Power Rankings
By Taylor Pettiford | Metrowest League Coordinator
One week is in the books at our Metrowest Draft League. While we have a good idea who the top teams in the league are/will be, only one thing is for sure: there will be VERY FEW games that aren’t a dog fight week in and week out. With the high level of competition clear for our captains to see, we saw a bevy of trades made this week. Some captains made chess moves while others are still playing checkers. Time will tell who fits which mold; but for now, let’s break down our Week 2 power ranking.
1. BUCKETS GALORE | 1-0
Despite struggling in the first half, the new-look Buckets Galore seemed to develop some chemistry in the second half. Yemi Ajao (18 pts, 10 reb, 8 ast, 4 stl, 2 blk) was in peak form leading his team to the win. Josh Gates (19 pts, 5 reb) led all scorers while Jude Valmeus (14 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast) and Roland Millien (14 pts, 10 reb) coasted. This team is nowhere near clicking on all cylinders. Once they are, you’d be hard-pressed to find another team in Boston that’s better.
2. CLASSIC BARBERSHOP | 1-0
Metrowest, Classic Barbershop is back. If you didn’t know, you found out as soon as you stepped in the gym on Monday night as captain Jay Resto (20 pts, 9 ast, 4 stl) was loud, proud and antagonizing with his announcing that “We out here!”. His rookie stud, Keyon Armstrong, showed out in a major way with 32 pts, 6 ast and 5 stl going head to head with Joel Katana. Patrick Luckett (16 pts, 9 reb, 6 ast) was steady per usual and Emerson Portillo (13 pts, 11 reb) put in a quiet double-double. The win, however, was overshadowed by the trade that followed as Resto sent DJ Corbett to Ballaholics for PG Brandon Portillo. Luckett subsequently threatened/demanded a trade. This move clogs their backcourt and threatens team chemistry. But Portillo was top-10 PPR over the summer and is a proven scorer. If they find a way to work out their rotation, this could be one of the few teams capable of taking on BG – especially when Raynaldi Voyard returns.
3. REBELS | 1-0 (5)
The Rebels’ Week 1 win was ugly. Outside of Shane Coleman, the team only managed 41 points and shot a combined 1-17 from three-point range. But they rode Coleman to the win and the rookie was unstoppable, racking up 35 pts and 10 reb on 67% shooting from the field. Impressive as he was, the Rebels will need more help from their supporting cast. Rookie Aaron Anniballi, though visibly sick, tallied 19 pts, 7 reb and 4 stl; but overall he had a poor shooting night including 1-7 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Taylor Pettiford (ankle) was too hobbled to be of any help. If these two can return to form and the Rebels get steady contributions from captain Micah Duarte and big man Tiler Balboni, they’re a dark horse for championship contention. The team will benefit from a trade with Stampede that got them center Chris Pimentel to come off the bench.
4. BLACK MAMBAS | 0-1 (3)
The Mambas are exactly what we’d expect from an Arch Mitchell team: Steady, fundamentally sound, but without the offensive firepower that may be necessary to compete for a state championship. We’re not counting them out by any stretch of the imagination. This team can play and it’s far too early to project how they’ll look towards the end of the season. But will they be too dependent on Arch offensively? They looked it in Week 1 as the captain went off for 33 pts, 5 reb and 5 ast while the rest of the team scored just 40 points. Half of those 40 came from Kenny Dennis (20pts, 5reb) who had a nice game offensively. Devon Frye, Jose Roman and rookie Kenny Seitz will all need to contribute around double-figures for this team to compete. But with Arch at the helm, we’re certain he’ll get this machine well-oiled prior to playoffs.
5. HUSTLE | 0-1 (4)
Hustle was without the services of second-round pick Tomas Morales in Week 1. So we weren’t truly able to tell how well their pieces will jell. Additionally, they picked up a tough loss in which they allowed 93 points to Classic Barbershop. On the bright side, though, Joel Katana (34 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast) is back to his prolific scoring ways making it ten 30-plus point games in a row. Drew Pettiford (26 pts, 5-9 3pt FG) got the season started off on the right foot. And they hung with Classic for most of the game. A loss is never how a team wants to start a season. But things could be worse and with Katana leading the offense, they’re always going to be a tough out.
6. BALLAHOLICS | 1-0 (8)
In Week 1, we saw a Ballaholics backcourt of Michael Perreault, Nick Kineip and Brandon Portillo cruise to a win over the shorthanded Warriors. And that’s the last we’ll see of that backcourt as captain Perreault shipped Portillo off to Classic Barbershop in return for versatile defender DJ Corbett. The move was a headscratcher for some, but analyzing it closely, the team acquired Kevin Johnson in an earlier trade to fill the team’s PG role. Now they’ll enter Week 2 with a starting lineup of KJ, Perreault, Kineip, Kevin Neal and Shawn Wise with Tim Blacquier, DJ Corbett and Matt Hammond off the bench. SOLID. The one catch: they’ll face Portillo and his new team, Classic Barbershop. Get your popcorn ready.
7. STAMPEDE | 0-1 (6)
Stampede’s fall in the rankings is less due to their hard-fought loss against Buckets Galore and more to do with the fact that they traded Kevin Johnson for unproven, 5’6 rookie Miguel Valle. In captain Wally Callam’s defense, Johnson walked out on the team with 5-plus minutes remaining in the game after being unhappy that he was subbed out. But still, who orchestrates the offense now? Tommy Hubbard is one of UH Boston’s best scorers and a capable ball-handler/passer. But he is not best-suited to play point guard, though he may now have to. The length of Callam, Hubbard and Jasper Landrum will create headaches for opponents defensively. But their offense is the biggest question mark now.
8. WARRIORS | 0-1 (7)
The highly anticipated debut of Sam Longwell will have to wait until Week 2 as he was absent for his team’s Week 1 loss to the Ballaholics. Adding Longwell will certainly help matters, but we’re just not so sure how high this team can rise up the rankings. In the backcourt, Guy Pistone (21 pts), captain John “Stone Cold” Iarussi aka “Steve” and Niko Whitehead are all under 6’0. Though Longwell and Octavio Cruz add some size in the front court, defending the like of Joel Katana, Keyon Armstrong, Shane Coleman, Tommy Hubbard, Nick Kineip, Arch Mitchell etc. will be an ongoing challenge for the Dubs. We’ve doubted Iarussi in the past, though, and won’t be surprised if he makes this work. But for the time being, we’re skeptical.