Familiar Faces in New Places
DALLAS: Season Preview
By Maxx Nakwaasah | Dallas League Coordinator
Coming off a strong season that saw them fall one short of the championship game, BYA returns all of their players. With possibly the biggest move in the off-season, BYA has also added veteran power forward Mike Swisher. Swisher has been a consistent double-double machine for the last several seasons and will join defensive MVP Michael Carroll to form what seems to be the strongest front court in the league. Look for BYA to continue their success by leading the league in both scoring defense and assists, which has almost become a given. The addition of Swisher could take this team back the promise land.
Dem Boyz are coming off of a championship season that saw them tough out a four-point win on the tail end of a back to back over a very tough Scoregasms team. MVP Jemarri Gunn returns and looks to continue his statistical dominance over the league. Averaging near 20, 10, and 5 has become the norm for Gunn as he led his squad to their second championship in team history. Although they will be losing a valuable ball handler and scorer in Antonio Harris, Dem Boyz have added veteran Justin Mozley. Mozley is back after a three-season hiatus, but will have an immediate impact with his defensive tenacity and effortless scoring ability. Small forward Ben Thorpe developed into the team’s perimeter defensive stopper as well as a force in transition. He will be a big part of this team’s success if they hope to repeat as champions.
Despite losing in the semifinals last season, Saggy Jammers are yet again favorites to make a deep post season run. With forwards Ryan Zea and Bryan Rollings, this team has the size and versatility to match up with anyone in the league. Sixth man Ryan Ozata has grown into a valuable and reliable scorer, coming up big during the tail end of the season, scoring double figures in five of the last seven games.
After losing to the Scoregasms in the quarterfinals, Side Hustle looks to bounce back this season. With guards Spencer Barrett and Chris Martinez averaging a combined 35 points a game, this team is loaded with offensive talent. However, turnover have plagued this team. They hope to address this problem by adding EJ Nevarez. Nevarez was the long time point guard for BYA and sat out last season due to a back injury. Now healthy, he will join a very talented backcourt and bring his strong assists to turnover ratio to a squad that desperately needs it. Guard Dylan Thompson made huge strides near the tail end of last season, leading the team in rebounding and emerging as one of the league’s most intense defensive stoppers. Side Hustle has all the tools necessary to upset higher seeds later on in the season.
Fresh off a surprising trip to the finals after a two-season break, the Scoregasms return hoping to get revenge. With a trio of scoring guards in Anson Bartlett, Tom Hatch, and Staton Standridge the Scoregasms pose matchup problems for everybody. In addition to a great backcourt, the Scoregasms have the most underrated big man in the league in Ross Self. Ross lead the team in rebounding and has been a consistent, physical do-it-all player for the Scoregasms. After a loss in the championship, the Scoregasms have added Justin Whiddon. Whiddon has become one of the league’s premier “3 and D” guys and brings intensity and toughness to an already strong defense. Scoregasms will be in the running for another championship run.
The Shockers return this season with a strong roster. Martin Salinas is known as the best shooter in the league for some time now and immediately makes this team dangerous. With a front court featuring two players over 6’5” look for this team to balance out great outside shooting with a strong inside presence featuring JR Small and Josh Mainord. Forwards Brian Ladewig and Carson Lisenfelt join the team from 25%. Carson emerged as one of the league’s best offensive players in his first season averaging near 20 points a game and will look to continue this success on a new squad.
This Free Agents will enter a very competitive league featuring several teams with several years of experience playing together. I hope that they will become the first free agent squad to get a win in their first season, but it will be very tough.