Winter Is Here
GARDEN CITY: Preseason Power Rankings
By Anthony Leo | Garden City Co-League Coordinator
The Garden City Draft League is now entering its fifth season and this winter season is stacking up to be the most competitive one Garden City has ever had. Some of the best players have all entered the draft and all eight teams have a chance to win a championship this season.
1. Shore Shack | Chris Frey and Chris Pisciotta
Shore Shack enters the season as the number one ranked team after their fall championship. Chris Frey and Chris Pisciotta were undefeated during the fall season when they both were on the court together. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best and right now nobody is playing better than Frey and Pisciotta. Every team this season is going to be better than last season’s with so many talented players playing this winter. Shore Shack had the last pick in the first round and selected Dylan Harlem and Matt Gelsomino with back to back picks. Adding Harlem gives them a versatile point guard and scoring machine who can attack the basket. Gelsomino is one of the league’s best shooters and will help spread the floor for Harlem, Frey and Pisciotta to operate the offense.
2. Jeurys Familia | Michael Mastro and Jordan Oringer
Jeurys Familia is back and better than ever looking for revenge after a rough ending to their fall season. Mastro and Oringer are not happy with the way their fall season ended after losing in the first round of the playoffs. With the fifth pick in the draft Jeurys Familia selected arguably the league’s most dominant big man to pair up with Mastro. In a game time decision, Steven Medard was in the right place at the right time and took the last spot in the draft. A few minutes later he was a member of the Familia and ready to join forces with Mastro. Stopping that duo is going to be a problem for every team. Jeurys Familia has by far the biggest and strongest team in the league with Mike Frey also in the front court.
3. Threat Level Midnight | Donte Howell and Brandon Perez
Threat Level Midnight returns after a tough loss in the fall championship game to Shore Shack. Donte Howell is coming off a dominate fall season where he averaged nearly 35 points per game. Last season Howell didn’t get much scoring help, but this season he will have plenty of help with the additions of Steve Gurin and Kareem Daniel to the roster. Howell can now play off the ball with Gurin running the point and guys can fit into their roles to rebound and play defense. I expect this team to be one of the best in the league and challenge people defensively with their versatility and ability to switch everything if they want to play man to man.
4. Gale Force | Richie Byrd and Sky Khaleel
Gale Force is also back for the winter season after their disappointing loss last season in the semifinals to Shore Shack. Gale Force now is revamped and has one of the deepest rosters in the league with size to compete with any team. With the seventh pick in the draft Gale Force selected Kevin Milella to go right alongside Sky Khaleel. Mark Thomas and Jenna Halaby were added next bringing outside shooting to the team and perimeter defense. I expect Gale Force to be one of the best offensive teams in the league with Richie Byrd leading the way scoring the ball.
5. Winter’s Here | Will Hennep and Mason Horne
Will Hennep is coming off a fall season championship with Shore Shack but this season Hennep started his own team with Mason Horne. Hennep has been playing some of his best basketball since playing with Ultimate Hoops and pairing up with his college teammate Mason makes for a strong duo. In the draft Winter’s Here got lucky and a steal at the fourth pick taking Brandon Wilson who will be one of the league’s best players and makes his return to the league. Wilson hasn’t played since the summer of 2016 when he played in the Syosset Open League and averaged 20 PPG and 10 RPG. After adding Wilson, they filled out the roster with some toughness and size with Jeff Clermont and Carl Garcia who both will rebound and play strong defense for this team. If everything goes well for this team and they get the best out of Brandon Wilson they will be a tough team to play every week.
6. Ref Elites | Desmond Frazier and Jon Ager
Ref Elites is back and totally revamped with a new roster and a lot of talented players. Top to bottom on paper Ref Elites has one of the strongest teams in the league with two of the league’s best big men. Desmond Frazier and Matt Mehler will be a tough duo to handle especially for smaller teams. Ref Elites also has two strong guards in Jon Ager and RaShawn Church. All together this team has plenty of scoring to get the job done. The only issue this team will have to get over is finding a way to spread the ball around. They also have some underrated players like Shane Soltren who will fill out their starting five.
7. Big Ballers | Willis Cheatham and Calvin Brown
Big Ballers is one of the new teams to pair up this season. Willis Cheatham joins Calvin Brown to lead the Big Ballers this season. Brown is fresh out of Lavar Ball’s JBA League and ready to make his comeback to the league. Brown previously played with Richie Byrd and Mark Thomas on team Unshakable last spring. In his brief stint in the league, Brown averaged 21 PPG and 11 RPG. Big Ballers took a surprise pick with Kerin Soltren early in the draft passing over Brandon Wilson and other big men. Kerin is a versatile player who can defend, rebound and score the ball and they are hoping their game plan works out. To fill out their roster they added Marc Jean who is new to the league but is rumored to be a very good player and Sam Singh who can shoot as well as anyone in the league.
8. 1-877-Lessons 4 Kids | Jake and Maxx Rosenbloom
The Rosenbloom brothers are paired up once again after taking a few seasons off and playing on separate teams. Together they play very well but will need help from their first overall pick Quaron Blount. Blount lit up the league in his only season with the Basket Bros in the summer. Blount averaged 30 points per game and shot 53 percent from beyond the arc. He was picked number one overall for good reason and they will need him to be the leading scorer on this team. Haron Hargraves was their next pick and Hargraves brings more outside shooting and scoring ability. Hargraves averages 21 PPG for his UH career and shoots just under 40 percent from beyond the arc. The only question with this team is how they will matchup defensively with some of the top teams in the league.