Prepare for take off
FOLSOM: Preseason Power Rankings
By James Doran | Folsom League Coordinator
As we prepare to kick off the Fall season, an air of mystery shrouds all teams as the Folsom league brings in plenty of fresh faces. Fans should also be excited about some old rivalries that will remain intact for the upcoming season. Here are the six teams rolling the ball out tonight:
1. Chuck Taylors (Predicted Record: 7-1)
We know basketball is a team sport, but it’s still a game that can be dominated by a single player. Just see LeBron’s playoff run last season. There were rumblings in the media that we would see the return of Mark Payne, and much to other teams fears, the rumor came true. Mark Payne, a former Division I and professional basketball player, broke records in his one and only season last year. The 6’5” PG/SG/SF/PF/C put up a ridiculous 33 points,20 rebounds, 7 assists 2.5 steals and 1 block per game in his one and only season. I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t put up similar numbers this season. But will wins come with it? The Chuck Taylors have a couple of three point shooters to make teams pay if they double or triple team Payne. Chris White and Nick Freedman return to contribute at the three point line. It was also be good to see high IQ players Matt Pederson and Ricardo Andrade help on the inside. The Chuck Taylors should be the favorites this season.
2. Game Time (Predicted Record: 6-2)
The most new faces come from team Game Time. But they bring a strong track record from the Roseville camp. Let’s not forget the headliner of this team, Tyler Alexander, who ran away with MVP honors in the Summer season. Tyler can get buckets at will, and we should expect another strong season from him. Tyler rose a banner last year on his “Bricklayers” squad. The scary thing is team Game Time may be even stronger. Billy Blankenship and Zach Jacobs are two Roseville league veterans who can ball with anyone. Zach has career averages of 17.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Andy Tai and Juan Soto return who can also provide some instant offense when needed. Game Time should be a top contender this year.
3. Locker Room Talk (Predicted Record: 5-3)
Joe Visman and Tanner Phelps reunite once again to terrorize the league with automatic buckets. Their hot shooting toward the end of the season got them to the finals against the Bricklayers. Joe had a monster Summer season averaging 27 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He and the rest of the team will be eager to hang a banner this season. As if Tanner and Joe weren’t enough, Locker Room Talk also adds Mike Martz, who we all know brings it at both ends of the court. I may be undervaluing this team, but they are going to have to prove they can share the basketball as there are a lot of scoring options on this team. Locker Room Talk is this seasons dark horse to win it all.
4. Scrappy Hour (Predicted Record: 4-4)
Looking at this roster, the team name is fitting. I expect Scrappy Hour to be the peskiest defensive squad in the league. Vuk Mitic returns to the league, scouts have noticed he’s added 30 pounds of muscle to his frame and recent open gyms suggest his jump shot has improved as well. Sanjay Bagai is an absolute monster on the offensive glass and a good option on the fast break. Dillon Gugin is a recent champion who can fill it up. Roger Larson and Derrek Mason can get hot from beyond the arc. And then theres Ron Jacobs, who is a guaranteed 20 and 10 player. This team is going to be in every game, and is another sleeper to contend for a title.
5. Ballbarians (Predicted Record: 2-6)
This is another interesting team that can turn some heads if they learn to play together. They could also be a team that will live and die by the three. James Doran headlines the Ballbarians. His Summer season averages were 30 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists all while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc. The other snipers on the team include Scott Lacrosse, Stephan Brown, Favian Mercado and newcomer Virender Shergill. Can the Ballbarians prove the scouting insiders wrong this season? It’s definitely possible if they can shoot the leather off the ball. Still, the odds are stacked against them.
6. Expansions (Predicted Record: 2-6)
Well, someone has to be bottom of the barrel. The heir of confidence isn’t great given their team name of Expansions. It may not all be doom and gloom though. If anything, Eric Kagan should have a monster season. He nearly averaged a triple double in the Summer. We also get to see the return of Cory Gregersen, who is always worth the price of admission. Gregersen flies all over the court like his hair is on fire. He’s the early favorite to lead the league in steals and blocks. The expansions add some unknown rookies in Joe Cunningham and Bryan Todd. So, if they turn out to be studs, then they can make this writer look like a fool.