BOSTON METROWEST: Week 1 Predictions
By Taylor Pettiford | Metrowest League Coordinator
Another season is set to get underway tonight at 490 Old Connecticut Path. Ultimate Hoops Boston is back! Starting with our Metrowest Draft League’s tipoff at 7:00PM. We’ve already broken down our preseason power rankings. But now, it’s time to predict our opening night matchups which our laden with bad blooded rivalries.
7:00 – CLASSIC BARBERSHOP (0-0) vs. HUSTLE (0-0)
How could we not start the season off with a rematch of perhaps the summer’s most exciting game? Jay Resto brought his 0-8 team to a quarterfinals matchup against Jeff Raymond’s 6-2 Hustle (formerly Young Gunz) and won a nail-biter in overtime. Flash forward a month; it’s a new season, we have new fully-loaded rosters, but the captains are the same and bad blood is still boiling. Resto’s backcourt may be the cream of the UH Boston crop as he boasts former Ultimate Player, Patrick Luckett, and Ultimate Rookie candidate, Keyon Armstrong. But Hustle’s backcourt may have the single most unstoppable scoring force in all of UH Boston – Joel Katana. Katana scored 30+ points in all nine of the UH contests he played in during his rookie season. Add to that the fact that he has an offensively talented frontcourt mate in Tomas Morales who will draw attention from defenses and we may be set to see Katana average even more ppg. But can their two-headed horse match the firepower of Classic Barbershop? We’re not banking on it. Though Drew Pettiford will stretch the floor and Raymond is versatile, Classic’s x-factor is Raynaldi Voyard, a stretch-4 who attacks the rim and rebounds well. Adding him and center Emerson Portillo to a loaded backcourt and we expect to hear a lot of chirping from Resto as he announces his return to Metrowest contention.
Prediction: CLASSIC BARBERSHOP
7:00 – BUCKETS GALORE (0-0) vs. STAMPEDE (0-0)
Less than a month ago, Tommy Hubbard and Yemi Ajao were hoisting the UH Championship trophy together. As teammates. Tonight, they’ll be squaring off as foes with Ajao having skipped over a Hubbard reunion in favor of Roland Millien. With all due respect to Waldron Callam and the Stampede franchise, Monday night may be a massacre. Wally did well by drafting Hubbard and Jasper Landrum despite his unpopular predraft trade. He subsequently traded Devon Frye, post-draft, for Kevin “Jersey Off” Johnson in a questionable move that could pay dividends. But ultimately, Week 1’s scheduling of Buckets Galore is an apparent death sentence. Ajao, Millien and Jude Valmeus headline the reigning champions’ roster with Chicky Reyes and Josh Gates rounding out the starting five. We don’t expect many teams to beat BG this season. But especially not a Stampede team trying to build chemistry amongst some abrasive personalities.
Prediction: BUCKETS GALORE
8:00 – REBELS (0-0) vs. BLACK MAMBAS (0-0)
This one should be a barn burner. By the end of the season, we may have to put “Runnin’” in front of the Rebels’ name whereas they’re sure to be off to the races and launching threes left and right. Rookies Aaron Anniballi and Shane Coleman will lead the way for Micah Duarte’s Rebs as they play an uptempo brand of basketball. Black Mambas, however, look on paper to be the most fundamentally sound team in UH Boston. Pass-first PG Jose Pitu Roman has weapons on the wings in captain Arch Mitchell along with newly acquired Devon Frye – both scoring aficionados. In the frontcourt, there will be a ton of activity as Kenny Squared (Kenny Seitz and Kenny Dennis) wreak havoc on the glass. The Rebels’ Tiler Balboni can certainly hold his own, but with Taylor Pettiford (ankle) doubtful for Monday’s action, it’s safe to say Mambas will have the upper hand on the boards. Should we see a late season rematch of these teams, our opinion may change. But for Week 1, we’re giving the veteran Mambas the nod.
Prediction: BLACK MAMBAS
8:00 – WARRIORS (0-0) vs. BALLAHOLICS (0-0)
Two seasons ago, John Iarussi, Nick Kineip and Michael Perreault took UH Boston by storm advancing to the Final Four of the state tournament before ultimately squandering a 17-pt lead against the eventual state champions. Two sessions later and Iarussi has taken reins of the Warriors organization, passed on Kineip in the draft and let Michael Perreault add the prolific shooter to his new Ballaholics club. Ballaholics roll out a backcourt very similar to the Warriors’ of summer: Brandon Portillo, Kineip and Perreault. Kevin Neal and Shawn Wise solidify the frontcourt. So, what did Iarussi do with his Warriors squad? Added ex-pro and rookie PG, Guy Pistone, Ultimate Rookie favorite Sam Longwell and UH Boston legend Octavio Cruz. Though we have questions about the longevity of the Warriors’ success, it’s clear who the favorites are heading into the Week 1 matchup.