Is BTE Ready to Defend?
SUMMERLIN OPEN: Fall Season Preview and Pre Season Power Rankings
By L.C. Comine | Summerlin Media Associate
Another season begins tonight and the biggest question going into the season is who will be able to stop BTE? The defending champs come in as the overwhelming favorite to repeat this season, and when the season tips off Monday night BTE will be looking for its eighth-straight victory. The open league is not as deep has the summer season that’s for sure. With only four teams this season the competition should be fierce and I believe three of the four teams should have a legit shot at winning the title. Lets take a sneak peak at the teams and some things to watch before we tip off this week.
The defending champs return everyone but Mike Moser who is in Finland playing pro ball. GM Stefan Hanania has replaced Moser with guard Ed Vaughns, who has played with some of these guys before and adds another weapon to a team that is already loaded. Jordan Cannon will be back once again looking to win his third-consecutive MVP, and most importantly, win his second UH title. The only difference this season is that BTE will be the hunted rather than the hunter.
Hard to believe this team hasn’t won a title in two seasons but the Villains enter this season with a lot of question marks. Of course Hall of Famer Chase Skinkis is back leading this squad but it looks like future Hall of Famer Hollis Hale is taking a season off, which will have a huge impact on the Villains this season. It will be very interesting to see how this season pans out for the Villains. I wouldn’t count them out just yet but is this potentially the end of one of the most dominant franchises in UH Vegas? We will find out very soon.
This is a new franchise being put together by Dreu Johnson. There are only four guys on the roster as of this writing but I got a feeling Johnson has something up his sleeve, and come Monday night, we will all find out. AAO has Chris Mellor, Mihail Kocevski, and Barrington Milner on the roster currently. All three should compliment Johnson very well and if AAO can add a few more playmakers then there is no reason why they cannot contend or even win this season. More to come in the coming weeks on this squad.
4. Livin’ the Dream
Well after a season hiatus Chris Mitchell brings his Livin’ the Dream squad with new hopes at winning the open title. Desmon Farmer is back once again for Dream, but you have to wonder how many games he will actually show up for? I think Mitchell did a much better job this time around getting guys who will show up and play hard because we all know in the past Dream struggled to get guys to show up consistently. However I don’t think Dream has enough still to compete with the other three teams. I think they will win some games, but outside of Farmer, who will be the closer and go-to-guy on this team? Let’s see how this team jells over the first few weeks and see if there is any chemistry.
Players To Watch
Dreu Johnson- AAO- New team, slighted for MVP nominee, Dreu could break out in a big way this season. Depending who else AAO adds to the roster Johnson is the scorer and playmaker on that team. Look for huge numbers once again from Dreu this season.
Tij Von Nieda- Villains- With Hollis Hale not playing his season it is Tij’s time to shine for the Villains. He has hit big shots in past seasons but this season he will be asked to do much more and he will see increased court time. Look for Tij to make a big splash this season for the Villains.
Andre McFarland- BTE- Andre is the forgotten man on BTE, but without him last season BTE would not have won the title. Look for McFarland to dominate the league this season and put his name in the hat for MVP.
Desmon Farmer- Livin’ the Dream- What will Dream get out of the former NBA player? Will he be ready to go right from the start? Will his attendance be shaky? If Farmer is engaged and looking to dominate then Dream has a chance to be good. If Farmer isn’t there than Dream could go 2-6 or 1-7. That’s how important Desmon is to Dream
So who wins it all this season? Well I am going to say we see BTE face the new franchise of AAO. I think the Villains have too many question marks and as usual attendance will be an issue for them. I think AAO will be a very good team by the playoffs but BTE is just too good right now. Jordan Cannon and Andre McFarland will lead BTE to their second straight open title.
Looking forward to the games starting tonight. See everyone soon!