SAN ANTONIO: Week 1 Predictions
By Pat Fridley | San Antonio Co-League Coordinator
The winter season is finally upon us! First and foremost, welcome back to all participants, we're excited to finally tip off the first season of the year! With so many new resolutions, we wonder who resolved to....I don’t know, maybe....get more buckets? More assists? Rebound more? Win more? Whatever the case, we can't wait to see all the teams in action this week.
We've got six teams registered, with a possible seventh in the works. After a great inaugural draft league, several players were eager to get back to their former franchises to rally towards raising a banner. This looks to be a highly competitive season, as all teams have a strong roster. Let's take a look at the action in store for opening night.
7:30 p.m. - Kingdom Come vs. Ether
What better way to open up, than with one of UHSA's best rivalries? No matter the season, and no matter the roster, when these two match up, it's comparable to an ACC rivalry game.
The draft league champs have returned and have added a few franchise centerpieces. Let's be real, as team captain Dan Gilbert basically drafted his old BND squad to begin with; they're returning as such, but under the "Ether" montage. To sum it up, the former BND team has basically added All-UHSA Team members DJ Dubois (who had a breakout season in the fall) and Chris Johnson. Two great players join an already great team, and this franchise is stacked like never before.
Kingdom Come is coming back just as they were. They've basically had the same roster over the last several seasons, and it's garnered them 2 banners in 4 tries. If it ain't broke…
Look for a physical game, as both teams boast size and multiple players that thrive in the paint. There are a few shooters sprinkled in on both sides, but the name of the game is transition buckets for these two.
8:30 p.m. - Controlled Chaos vs. NuStar
Welcome back to both of these squads, whose teams had limited participants in the fall draft league. We love seeing these two in the league, and we love their rivalry even more.
Chaos is back like they never left, with their same core pieces, plus a few more. The bigger story here though, is in team captain Wil Lombardi's farewell season. He'll only be with us for the first half of the season from what we understand, and we'll certainly miss his leadership and commitment to the league. Wil has been a big part of UHSA from its first season in 2015, and was instrumental in its growth. We're hoping for a jersey swap after every game?
NuStar is back with their perennial core as well, and they've added a few big names in Sean Dockery, Jake Schifani, and Javi Barron (Doc/Javi and Nustar captain Jorge Del Alamo formed a great relationship last season which has turned into a great pick up for NuStar). Doc will provide a huge boost to NuStar's backcourt. Doc has proven to play well with shooters, as he did with Sicko Mode's Pat Fridley, and he should look to mesh well with a similar prototype in Chris Molina. Schifani adds microwave-like scoring, athleticism and rebounding to their frontcourt. Barron might be the most unselfish guy in the league, and gives you effort, hustle, and defense all night. He's got NuStar written all over him. NuStar had a great offseason, adding three great players to an already great team.
If anybody plays "system-like", it's these two. Team play, ball movement, outside shooting and overall effort are expected from both. It's the Celtics vs Spurs in this one, and whoever plays their "system" better will emerge victorious.
9:30 p.m. - PVGNE vs. Velvet Thunder
The other four teams seem to be matched up well, and so we have the young "run n gun" teams matched up with each other in the late game.
PVGNE is back, but looks mildly different. No more Chris Johnson, no more Matt Kallead, no more Jake Schifani, and no more Javi Barron. They've been replaced with vets Keso Shands and Harlen Londrie, and they've added former Real Ones centerpiece Jarrett Coney. Linson, Dixon and Gomez still remain from their championship roster. They might look different, but this group sure still has a lot of fire power.
Velvet Thunder has emerged as a new franchise, and they've got some great players on their roster. Agustin Zurita and Justin Brickman are a few familiar names. Matt Kallead was recruited, as were a few new faces. On paper they look good, but we'll make that judgement after Week 1.
With both teams either being brand new or having roster overhauls, there might be some chemistry issues until they've gotten a little more court time together. Nevertheless, these are the fastest teams in the league, so expect an exciting high-scoring game.