Can the Jumpshot Hustlers Prove They Belong?
FRIDLEY REC+: Week 3 Predictions
By Jake Gave | Fridley League Coordinator
7 p.m. - No. 10 Omar Tires (0-0) vs. No. 1 FOB Five (2-0)
FOB Five heads into Week 3 in perfect position after convincingly beating down the Bulls last week by 15 points. It was an unusual path to victory for FOB, who did a lot of their damage at the free-throw line, finishing 16-19 in the game. Their defense was on point as well, holding the high-powered Bulls to a mere 57 points on 44 percent from the field. Brian Sames led the way for the squad with 26 points and 8 rebounds. Sean Smith pitched in 19 although he had a bit of a subpar shooting night. Jon Christenson was the third FOB member in double figures, knocking down three 3-pointers en route to 11 points.
Omar Tires joined the league in Week 2 but they were unable to make it last week, so this game will be their season debut. It is never easy to take down FOB Five and it becomes an even harder task for a team who hasn’t had any time on the court together yet. FOB has been off to a very fast start and currently leads the way in points per game (97.5), assists (24.0), and steals (10.0). Their pace of play and ball movement is unmatched in the league and will likely create problems all night for Omar Tires. I’m still excited to see what Omar is bringing to the table, but it is hard for me to pick against a FOB Five team who is on fire.
PREDICTION: FOB Five -10.5
7 p.m. - No. 7 Run Like The Winded (0-2) vs. No. 9 Free Agents (0-1)
Run Like The Winded dropped their second game in a row last week, falling to The Originals 85-63. It was a rough night overall for RLTW as they finished just 38 percent from the field and shot 4-28 from deep. This game was Brensley Haywood’s first crack at his old team and unfortunately for him, it wasn’t his night. He finished just 2-9 shooting for 6 points. Aaron Delaney, however, continued his solid start to the season by pouring in 22 points on 59 percent shooting to the lead the team in scoring. Dwayne Toatley was the only other guy in double figures, adding 16 points and 7 rebounds.
The Free Agents played their first game of the season in Week 2 and it went as expected. It is tough to have much success in the first outing with a bunch of guys who have never played together, but there were some positives to build on. Jacob Peterson had the most efficient night on the team, shooting 6-10 and finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Samuel Island was the leading scorer with 23 points, but it took him 23 shots to get there. Roy Curtis provided a good spark off the bench by adding 9 points on 50 percent shooting.
This matchup will see one of these winless teams get their first win on the season. For the Free Agents to be successful, they will need to learn how to play together and also how to manage substitutions better. They struggled in both those areas in Week 2 and they will need to figure out a solution quick if they want to hang in this league. Run Like The Winded will need to find a way to get better looks, as they have shot horrendous in the first two weeks. They are a combined 8-52 from deep and that simply won’t cut it. However, I think they will find their rhythm in this one and finally take home a W.
PREDICTION: Run Like The Winded -14.5
8 p.m. - No. 8 We Dem Ballers (0-2) vs. No. 4 Bulls (1-1)
We Dem Ballers fell to 0-2 on the season last week after suffering a 107-73 loss to the Jumpshot Hustlers. The Ballers only shot 40 percent from the field and they had no answer for Devin Stensrude on the other end. Devin went off for 40 points and knocked down nine shoots from beyond the arc. Even in a blowout loss, We Dem Ballers did get some positive play yet again from Parker Del Medico. He ended the game with 23 points and 6 assists and never stopped hustling and trying to bring his team back. Derek Ridings shot 80 percent off the bench and added 8 points and 5 rebounds. He could be earning a starting spot soon the way he has been playing.
The Bulls disappointed last week as they fell to FOB Five by 15 points, 72-57. The most surprising thing about that score is that the Bulls were only able to put up 57 against a team who is not known for their defensive prowess. They only got to the line for three free throw attempts, while on the other hand they allowed FOB to shoot 19 free throws. Paris Kyles had his usual productive game with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Da’Jon McKnight stood out as well with 21 points and 9 rebounds. However, the Bulls simply couldn’t get much going on the offensive end outside of those two.
We Dem Ballers have had a tough schedule to start the season, and this matchup is no different. They will have their hands full all night trying to slow down the dynamic duo of Paris and Da’Jon. They don’t exactly have any elite defenders on the team, so it will have to be a group effort on defense. For the Bulls to have success, I’m looking for them to share the ball a bit better than they have been. They are only averaging seven assists per game which is dead last and far below the league average. They need to get more guys involved than just Paris and Da’Jon if they are going to stay in the conversation of elite teams. However, in this one, I think the Bulls will take care of business comfortably.
PREDICTION: Bulls -16.5
8 p.m. - No. 3 Jumpshot Hustlers (2-0) vs. No. 2 The Originals (2-0)
The Jumpshot Hustlers remain unbeaten after making easy work of We Dem Ballers in Week 2. They led by 17 at the half and took home the 107-73 victory. The Hustlers really filled up the stat sheet in this one. They shot a whopping 44 3-pointers and converted on 41 percent. Half of those 22 3s were shot by Devin Stensrude, who knocked down nine of those 3’s on his way to a 40-point, 12-rebound monster performance. Devin Hemmerich had a great all-around game, finishing with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. This team has been the surprise so far this season but they face their first true test this week.
The Originals also remain undefeated after their Week 2 victory over Run Like The Winded. They got out to an extremely fast start and held a 28-point lead at the break. From that point on they were able to coast to an easy W. The Originals offense was unstoppable yet again as they finished at a 58 percent clip for the night. Josh Hoyle returned to form in Week 2 with a 9-11 shooting performance and his 24 points led the way for the squad. Max Wessel chipped in 20 points himself on 75 percent from the field. The Originals lead the league in field goal percentage (59 percent) by a wide margin and this machine is looking like it will be tough to stop.
This game is definitely the matchup to watch tonight. The Originals have been around for years now and have always been at the top of the league. The Jumpshot Hustlers have also been a staple of the league, but they never have been able to break into that elite status just yet. Tonight is their opportunity, and I could see them pulling off the upset. The Jumpshot Hustlers were always missing a true point guard and they may have found their’s in Devin Hemmerich. They also lacked the 3-point ability but Devin Stensrude has patched that hole up quickly. We’ll see tonight if they can match the offensive output of the league’s best, and I think that they will. However, I see them falling just short late as The Originals move to 3-0.
PREDICTION: The Originals -4.5
9 p.m. - No. 5 Bakke’s Bombers vs. No. 6 Bigsmash
Bakke’s Bombers picked up their first win on the season by taking care of the Free Agents squad, 91-68. They got off to a fast start in the first half and took a commanding 25-point lead into the break. They eased off a bit in the second and coasted to a comfortable victory. They assisted on 24 of their 40 makes from the field and shot a highly-efficient 53 percent overall. The catalyst for the offense in this game was definitely Lomumba Ismail, who poured in 25 points and 9 rebounds while only missing two shots. Mejoy Lawson had a dominating performance as well, nearly getting a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Bigsmash did not play in Week 2 as their game with Omar Tire’s had to be pushed off to Week 7. It will be interesting to see how Bigsmash performs after the week off and the departure of Omar Omar. They were able to add Abdi Mohamed, which will help them immensely when it comes to getting buckets. They currently only have five on the roster, but I expect them to add a few more for this game. The Bombers will want to keep feeding Lomumba who has a big presence in the paint and working the offense through their most talented wing, Mejoy Lawson. This game is another one that I thing will be a grinder, but I have to stick with my squad here to pull out the W.
PREDICTION: Bakke’s Bombers -3.5
1. FOB Five
2. The Originals ( ￪ 1 )
3. Jumpshot Hustlers ( ￪ 1 )
4. Bulls ( ￬ 2 )
5. Bakke’s Bombers ( ￪ 1 )
6. Bigsmash ( ￬ 1 )
7. Run Like The Winded
8. We Dem Ballers
9. Free Agents ( ￪ 1 )
10. Omar Tires ( ￬ 1 )