Bulls and FOB Faceoff in Early-Season Thriller


FRIDLEY REC+:  Week 2 Predictions

By Jake Gave | Fridley League Coordinator

7 p.m. - No. 10 Free Agents (0-0) vs. No. 6 Bakke’s Bombers (0-1)

Bakke’s Bombers took an L in Week 1 in a disappointing fashion after leading for a majority of the game.  The Bombers stormed ahead to a 13-point lead in the first half and couldn’t be stopped in the paint.  However, they fell apart in the second half and allowed The Originals to outscore them by 21 points.  One positive for the Bombers was the dominating play from Mejoy Lawson in his first game with the team.  He was everywhere on the court and finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

The Bombers will look to bounce back as they take on the Free Agent team.  The Free Agents will be making their season debut and the roster will consist of a few familiar faces, but a lot of UH rookies.  Ray Willis, who played DIII, will lead the way.  Alex McCoy, David Gregory, and Roy Curtis are all rumored to be making their return.  A few new guys like Kemal Durgutovic, Samuel Island, and Coltlen Kiethley will round out the squad.  It’s tough to make much of a prediction until we see how some of these guys play.  For that very reason, I’m going to pick Bakke’s Bombers to take home the W in this one. 

PREDICTION:  Bakke’s Bombers -10.5

7 p.m. - No. 9 Omar Tires (0-0) vs. No. 5 Bigsmash (0-1)

Omar Omar, formerly of Bigsmash, decided to bring a whole new squad to the league and they will make their debut this week against his old team.  Omar Tires looks to have a pretty impressive roster so far with Kevin Thompson, Marquise Walker, and Mike Mike Franklin all rumored to be playing.  He still has a few more spots to fill out, but I expect this squad to start climbing the ranks over the next couple of weeks.

Bigsmash lost their debut last week by eight points to the Bulls in overtime.  It was a neck-and-neck game the entire way, but the Bulls asserted themselves when overtime came.  Bigsmash shot the ball pretty well, especially from deep where they hit on 42 percent of their 36 attempts.  Ryan Boegeman was very impressive in his Bigsmash debut, hitting on six of his nine 3-pointers and finishing with a team-high 24 points.  In the end, Bigsmash’s Achilles’ heel ended up being their lack of ball control as they committed 14 turnovers to the Bulls’ 8. 

After the departure of Omar Omar, Bigsmash is left with only four players on the roster, so it will be interesting to see who they plan on adding this week.  With so much still up in the air between these two teams, it is difficult to come up with an accurate prediction.  If Omar is able to add the guys he says he is, I really like their chances.  Kevin and Marquise are both freak athletes who can get into the paint and score at will.  Bigsmash is going to have their hands full.      

PREDICTION:  Omar Tires -4.5

8 p.m. - No. 3 The Originals (1-0) vs. No. 7 Run Like The Winded (0-1)

The Originals got off to a 1-0 start in an impressive come from behind win over Bakke’s Bombers.  The Originals dug themselves a 13-point hole at the half, but stormed back to win by eight, outscoring the Bombers by 21 points in the second half.  They shot the ball extremely well as a team (59 percent) and picked up their defensive intensity as the game went on.  Jonny Ball was a stud in his return to his former team, finishing with 20 points and 6 rebounds on 80 percent shooting.  Max Wessel was also a force, adding 20 points and 5 rebounds on 67 percent from the field.

Run Like The Winded (RLTW) dropped their season opener by 15 points to the Jumpshot Hustlers.  They were only down by four at the break but couldn’t stop the Hustlers in the second half.  RLTW was missing one of their biggest pieces in Brensley Haywood, which was really noticeable in the boxscore.  Brensley’s 3-point shooting was sorely missed as RLTW only hit on four of their 24 attempts from deep.  One positive for the squad was the play of Aaron Delaney, who picked up from where he left off last season and dropped a team-high 21 points on 56 percent from the field.

This matchup should be an exciting one to watch with a number of storylines.  Brensley Haywood may be seeking some revenge against his former team from last season.  He always seems to show up in the big moments and he could be in store for a huge night.  It will also be important to watch the battle in the paint for these squads.  Max Wessel and Jonny Ball are likely the most talented big man duo in the league and they had their way with Bakke’s Bombers last week.  Daryll Atkinson and Tyler Weaver will need to step up in a big way.  I think this one will be close, but I expect The Originals to come out on top. 

PREDICTION:  The Originals -3.5


8 p.m. - No. 4 Jumpshot Hustlers (1-0) vs. No. 8 We Dem Boys (0-1)

The Jumpshot Hustlers started the season off with a bang, taking down Run Like The Winded by 15 points.  The Hustlers shot the same percentage from the field as RLTW, but the big difference was their efficiency from long distance.  The Hustlers hit on 14-35 attempts from deep, good for 40 percent, compared to RLTW’s measly 17 percent mark.  They also only turned the ball over six times which shows they did a great job taking care of the ball.  Newcomer Matthew Thayer was very impressive in his first game, dropping seven 3-pointers on his way to 25 points, while also adding 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

We Dem Boys had the tough draw of playing FOB Five in their season debut and struggled mightily, falling by 36 points.  They were very impressive in the first half when they had their inside-outside game going and only trailed by six at the half.  They were doing a good job feeding the bigs and slowing the game down, but they were outscored by 30 in the second half when they started trying to match the 3-point shooting pace of FOB.  Newcomer Derek Ridings had a great first game with the team, scoring 14 points on 60 percent shooting off the bench and he also pulled down 11 boards.

The matchup between these two squads will definitely be a fun one to watch.  The first thing I will be following will be the battle between two of the biggest guys in the league.  I can't wait to watch David Stommes and Reuben Trotter bang for position in the paint.  The point guard matchup between Matt St. Anthony and Parker Del Medico will be equally exciting.  Both of these guys lead their respective teams in assists and are great at getting their teammates involved.  I expect We Dem Ballers to have a much better game this week now that they have had a week to get acquainted, but I think they will come up just short in the end.      

PREDICTION:  Jumpshot Hustlers -6.5


9 p.m. - No. 1 FOB Five (1-0) vs. No. 2 Bulls (1-0)

FOB Five started the new season off on a high note by running up the score against We Dem Ballers.  FOB had a bit of a slow start in the first half but hit their stride in the second to come away with the 123-87 win.  They hit on an impressive 58 percent of their shots and an insane 50 percent on 25 3-point attempts.  They also were extremely unselfish with the ball, racking up 39 assists on their 47 makes.  Adam Hoven led the charge for FOB, pouring in 35 points on 72 percent shooting while also adding 9 rebounds and 9 assists.  Brian Sames was huge as well, adding 36 points of his own and a whopping 7 steals. 

The Bulls also picked up a win in the season opener, taking down Bigsmash by a score of 83-75 in overtime.  The Bulls dominated the overtime frame, scoring eight points and holding Bigsmash scoreless.  The Bulls shot a solid 49 percent from the field, but the big story was their ability to get to the line.  They attacked the paint relentlessly and finished with 22 free-throw attempts, converting on 16 of them.  The big story was the return of Paris Kyles, who didn’t disappoint by dropping a cool 40 point, 11 rebound stat line in his first game back from an MCL injury.  Da’Jon McKnight also had a monster night, finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 steals. 

This game is definitely the one to watch tonight and could end being a preview to this season’s finals.  Both of these teams are stacked with talent.  FOB returned their entire squad from last season where they went undefeated until the championship.  The Bulls returned their core and added Ultimate Hoops Hall of Famer Paris Kyles.  Paris creates a matchup problem for any team and he’s going to give FOB fits all night.  However, FOB has the firepower to simply outrun and outscore the Bulls.  Watch for FOB to try to push the pace and get easy 3s in transition.  FOB took the last matchup by 9 points, but I think the Bulls will have their number this time.

PREDICTION:  Bulls -2.5


1. FOB Five ( ↑ 1 )

2. Bulls ( ↑ 1 )

3. The Originals ( ↑ 1 )

4. Jumpshot Hustlers ( ↑ 3 )

5. Bigsmash ( ↓ 4 )

6. Bakke’s Bombers

7. Run Like The Winded  ( ↓ 2 )

8. We Dem Boys

9. Omar Tires

10. Free Agents