Welcome to the Open Division...I Mean the Rec Division
SUMMERLIN REC: Preseason Power Rankings and Season Preview
By L.C. Comine | Summerlin Media Associate
We are back for another season of rec in Summerlin and to be honest some of these teams look like they belong in the Summerlin Open League rather than the rec division. I will go out on a limb and say in this ten team league that only three teams have a chance to win the league and the three teams will dominate the lower tier teams by an insane margin. With that, let’s dive right into the preseason power rankings and make some predictions for the season.
1. Ball is Life
The defending champs are back and come in on an impressive undefeated season that saw them defeat the Chris’s Angels in the title game. The entire team is back and will be led by the reigning MVP Mihail Kocevski. Chris Ford, Bobby Mears and Allen McFarland will be just as important as Mihail this season if they want to repeat. As we get into the predictions for the season a bit later I will let everyone know if I think this team will win again. I am impressed that GM Streeter Hull kept this team intact and did not make any changes. I like the fact he kept it the same and he didn’t mess with the chemistry.
2. Chris’s Angels
Make no mistake about this team. They play harder than anyone else and they have the best chemistry in the league. They fell short in the title game last season and I believe they will come back ready to go this season. They bring back the same roster as last season and I can only imagine how much better Henry Nguyen, Chris Ward and Adam Schmitt will be this season. Also they should get Beni Roufs back from injury which makes this team much more lethal on defense and much more difficult for teams to score on. The Angels will be a major factor all season long.
Well all good things have to come to end. The Recspekt dynasty ended last season as their reign on the Rec league finally came to an end in the Final Four at the hands to the Angels. Let’s give Recspekt their respect, shall we? They went 36-7 the last four seasons, won three titles, and if you remember two of the losses were forfeits. GM Stefan Hanania has put together a new squad this season hoping this is the start of a new run for Recspekt. Gone is the father/daughter combo of Charles Vinson and Haley Vinson, Mike Stevens is gone, and Jacob McDonald is sitting this season out to get healthy. Stefan has added high flyer Devin Dunn, sharp shooting Tij Von Nieda, his Goodfellas teammate Sam Michelli, and green valley vet Daniel Bower. This team will still have Ed Vaughns and Charles DeJohnette as well. Look for Recspekt to play much faster than seasons past and I expect to see a lot more points scored too. Bower is the X factor. He is going to cause a lot of problems for teams.
4. Team Worldwide
A brand new team to the rec division but it is full of players that we are all familiar with. Thomas Reymond returns and he is bringing his former Sota 4 Life teammate Greg Murray with him. Murray is no doubt the early favorite for MVP in this league and you have to wonder who is going to be able to stop him in this league? Mr. Double-Double Grant Lewis is joining Thomas and Max Miller-Hooks IV as well. Also, don’t sleep on Matthew Steed, a career 38 percent 3-point shooter, as he will get a ton of open looks with this squad. I believe this team is ranked a little low to start the season but let's see how they come together and gel. The firepower and defensive presence this team has is impressive to say the least.
5. WTF JR?
The fighting Brad Coughlin’s are back for their third season and they will have a few new faces. Gone is the father son duo of Max Hooks and Max IV. JR welcomes Juan Carter, Marcus Milner, and myself to a roster that has caused a lot of problems in rec the last two seasons. If Breen, Cater, and Milner can co exist and the bigs of Anthony Khotsikian, Rick Grubbs and John Murillo can protect the paint, this team can contend. Breen will be the key. I have always said he is the best when he has the ball in his hands. This season he will handle it much more with Max gone and look for him to have a huge season. Milner will need to be that guy who attacks and gets to the rack and Carter will be that guy who can beat you from deep. This is going to be a team to watch especially if they come together.
Another new team to the rec league and if you look at the roster, it looks a little familiar. It has some members of the Las Vegas Bones, who won the draft title las season. Johnathan Mawhinney, Landon Cooper, and Nate Lurie are a trio that should have immediate chemistry from that team. Cooper should be the one to watch on this squad. He averaged 21.6 PPG in five games for the Bones in the draft league. Justin Stewart, Hunter Hollins, and Mawhinney will also be called on to lead this team. This roster has a few new guys on the roster as well so it will be very interesting to see how they come together. If it works as well as the Bones, then look out for THRYV.
7. HYR Life
Life really had a tough fall season going 1-9. They never seemed to really get in a groove or never found any type of chemistry. It looks like things could be different this season but we will see. Back is last season’s top newcomer Nathaniel Burgess, who burst on to the scene last season with a fantastic rookie season. Burgess averaged 26.2 PPG to lead HYR last season and look for him to have another big season this season. The Martin brothers have made some very nice improvements to their roster adding UH vet Kevin Kalua and also adding David Finn to the roster. For the first time HYR Life has a roster to start the season with and has a legit starting five to at least compete with. This is a team to watch.
He’s back! The return of NFZ Travis Scribner. The all time leader in UH history in shot blocks makes his long awaited return this season and BAR will be very happy to have him back. BAR had a miserable season in the Fall going 2-7 and they were off all season. They have all the key guys back once agin this season especially guys like Sean Margulis and JJ Buchanan. The key for this squad is Scribner. He is the energy, he is the defensive anchor, and the leader of this team. If he is indeed back BAR will be the most improved team in the league this season.
9. Hickory Huskers
Hickory is coming off their worst season yet in rec, a 1-9 season. Their only victory was in Week 1 if you remember in which they had to pick up players from other teams just to have a game. Kerry Knoll returns for another season but you have to wonder what his team will look like. It seems now every season this squad struggles getting guys to play. Kerry needs to get at least seven guys to commit to his team and develop some sort of chemistry. Until then I think it will be more of the same for the Huskers. Another long season for Hickory.
10. Free Agents
This team is made up of a lot of the guys who played for SP 101 last season. They are going to be nine deep so you know they will have enough guys every week. Guys like Robert Shore, Tal Minuskin and Roger Snow are some of the familiar names on this roster. I don’t think this team is going to have the success as SP 101 had last season but if they play has hard and as fast as they did they may be able to upset a few teams.
MVP Prediction: Greg Murray - Team Worldwide
Greg is on another level for this league. Look for him to put some monster stats up along side Grant Lewis. He will lead his team in points, blocks, field goal percentage, offensive rebounds and will lead the league in dunks.
GM of the Season: Stefan Hanania- Recspekt
I think Stefan make some bold moves in the off season and I think his team is going to be very good. Daniel Bower is going to cause a lot of problems and if they get Devin Dunn to play to his potential look out.
Defensive Player of the Season: Grant Lewis - Team Worldwide
Don’t count out Adam Schmitt for this one but I think Benji being back will hurt his stats just a bit. Lewis is going to get a lesser matchup each week playing next to Greg Murray and Lewis has dominated every single league he has played in. Lewis, like Murray, has a monster season.
Team that will surprise - HYR Life
For the first time HYR Life has a roster that can compete. If they can gel I think they can surprise a few teams and be this season’s SP 101
Team that will disappoint - Ball Is Life
I am sure the Ball is Life guys will love this but they have all the pressure. They are the undefeated champs and if they don’t repeat that is a disappointment especially after what they did last season. Remember they are the hunted this season, not the hunters.
So who wins it all? Well I believe there are 3-4 teams that can win it all. I think we will see a title game preview this week in Week 1. Recspekt and Team Worldwide. I believe these two teams will be the last two teams standing, and once the dusts settles it will be Recspekt once again on top of the Rec division. It is a long season and a lot can happen. Do not count out Chris’s Angels and Ball is Life as well. Those are the four teams I truly believe that can win this league. In the end Stefan gets his title back.
Best of luck to everyone this season! I look forward to seeing everyone this week.