New Year, New Me: Players Eye Championship Banner As Winter Season Kicks Off
FOLSOM: Week 1 Predictions
By James Doran | Folsom League Coordinator
6:30 P.M. - Godfathers (0-0) vs Game Time (0-0)
The Godfathers have the top team already in terms of length. All players are over six feet in stature, most notably center Tim Szatko. Tim will be the biggest concern on every team’s scouting report. The 6’7” former D1 star has career averages of 25.7 points and 15.6 rebounds. Though an injury cut his last season short, I expect him to put up similar numbers this year. Filling out the rest of the team are other hard-nosed big men Jeff Schmidt and Ricardo Andrade. Meysam Salehi is a crafty slashing forward who also plays gritty defense. The guards will be Dahlton Dugger and Derrek Mason, who are both known as 3-point specialists.
There are a lot of familiar faces on this Game Time team from last season. Tyler Alexander (one championship) and Zack Jacobs should continue to be a reliable scoring punch for this team. Billy Blankenship will continue to coordinate the offense at the point guard position. If they want to go farther than last season’s fourth place finish, Game Time will need some good contributions from new comers Jon Goldsmith, Brenden Puich and Chris Wadsworth.
This game will be a great test for both teams. Game Time has good chemistry with its core players that I think will be a big factor as the Godfathers may need a couple games to jell.
Prediction: Game Time 68, Godfathers 62
7:30 P.M. - Venom (0-0) vs Tune Squad (0-0)
Venom could be the biggest unknown to start out the year. Rookies Randy Stout and Jeret Arnaz have caused murmurs through the league that they can ball, but I have yet to see them play. Still, there is no designated big man on this team, so Venom will have to find a way either capitalize on the fast break or have a lethal outside game. On paper it looks like they have that capability. The league is glad to welcome back Drake Ussery. Scouts have clocked him as the fastest player on the court, so let’s hope for Venom the time off hasn’t caused Ussery to lose a step. They will need his speed tonight.
The Tune Squad are your spring league champions. They will gladly be receiving their championship hardware at the pregame ring ceremony before their game. Their quest for a back-to-back title will begin shortly after that. Though they lost Tanner Phelps, they still have enough fire power to easily be in contention for another title. The ball will run through Joe Visman (Spring MVP) and Mike Martz’ hands in this game. Venom will just have to hope they are having an off night.
I expect a good fight from Venom, but this Tune Squad team shouldn’t skip a beat from last season. There’s just too much talent there.
Prediction: Tune Squad 80, Venom 71
8:30 P.M. - Jokers Henchman (0-0) vs Avengers (0-0)
Fans are pretty excited over the Jokers Henchmen. It’s my early dark horse champion pick. Ron Jacobs is back from injury and hungry for a title. Sanjay Bagai and Roger Larson are slashing forwards who will put their finger prints on every outcome of a game. Bryan Todd was an outstanding rookie last year for the Expansions. Then there’s two guard newcomers who I believe will be well known after the first few weeks: Tyler Beard and Cody Goodridge. Anchoring the team will be Gary Gorski, who we all know is a high octane presence on the court and master tactician on the sidelines.
The Avengers have one thing on their mind this season: avenging last season’s lost title. They were close in beating Visman’s team in the championship, but they eventually did not have enough to push them over the top. This season they just might. They lost rookie of the year Alex DiManno, but they gained a strong force of players to make up for it. Former champion Matt Edwards returns, and they’re adding sharpshooter Dan Barber and rebounding guru Matt Pedersen. With Cory Gregersen and Eric Kagan flying all over the court again this season, it’s going to be a fun team to watch.
This one may be the toughest game of the night to predict, but I think the Avengers pent up rage from losing the title last season will be unleashed.
Prediction: Avengers 72, Jokers Henchmen 68
1. Tune Squad
3. Game Time
4. Jokers Henchmen