By: Law Murray
June is here, and to kick it off, there will be an EIGHT-game schedule on Saturday. Week 1 was already light, and things became lighter due to a neighborhood blackout. But no excuses. Last year is over, and last month is over. Teams are who they are. Of course, things can go up and/or down from here. There’s plenty of time for improvements or regression, and it all starts now:
- Hank’s Bulldogs vs. Sky Ryse (Sat. June 6, 10am): The Bulldogs are 0-3, and despite their tough schedule, the fact remains that they have been unable to get it done in the fourth quarter, especially offensively. Captain Tyrone “50” Riley was at a loss for words after a 67-60 loss to Citi Team Blazers last week. Well, it doesn’t get easier for the pride of Watts, as Sky Ryse (3-0) is getting solid performances from a frontcourt that includes Mark Dawson, Brandon Davies, and Marcus Bell.
- Legacy vs. The Clozers (Sat. June 6, 11:15am): The hope is that Legacy grew up last month; their game against C.O.A. last week was particularly stressful after they nearly blew a 23-point lead. Legacy is an energetic team that will rely on Jason Johnson’s shooting and Dushone Brown’s versatility off the ball. But they’re small, which could be a problem against The Clozers’ athletic big men.
- Hard Times vs. Hank’s New Image (Sat. June 6, 12:30pm): Hard Times got to 2-1 after a thrilling, comeback victory against the Reapers led by Week 3’s Player of the Week, Jordin Mayes (35 points). Mayes can shoot the rock, but we’re going to need to see that again. New Image got 24 points from Larry Gordon last week, but their lack of size is a major reason why they’re on a two-game losing streak.
- LAUNFD vs. Salvatori’s Spirit (Sat. June 6, 2pm): Bobby Brown missed last week’s LAUNFD win, and he expects to return sometime this month. In the meantime, Dijon Thompson showed he’s capable of getting necessary buckets after dropping 27 points in Week 3. Salvatori’s Spirit has played three overtimes but haven’t won a game yet. Frank Robinson looks explosive, and he’s a few made shots from Spirit being 2-0.
- Salvatori’s Nova Stars vs. ICEO (Sat. June 6, 3:15pm): This is one of the Commissioner’s Games of the Week, and it features the team at the top of this week’s Power Rankings (Nova Stars) against an ICEO team that has multiple go-to guys. The question for ICEO: Did J.T. Terrell’s breakout debut (27 points in Week 3) throw off Charles Hinkle (6/17 FGs, seven turnovers in Week 3 loss to LAUNFD)? The Nova Stars were able to beat LAUNFD in Week 1 but haven’t been satisfied with their performance since, despite the 3-0 record and an establishment of elite defense.
- M.H.P. vs. Tradition (Sat. June 6, 4:30pm): M.H.P. scoring 95 points against Hank’s Panthers in Week 2 was impressive due to sheer volume. M.H.P. scoring 87 against the defending champs in Week 3 was impressive because they made it look easy at times. When Victor Rudd suits up, M.H.P. is a problem. Tradition has had some nice performances from Seth Curry, and Michael Ojo showed up to hit shots in Week 3. But they’re another undersized team that looks like they’ll have all kinds of problems stopping Rudd, D.J. Shelton, and the rest of M.H.P.
- C.A.B.C. vs. LA LOOP (Sat. June 6, 6pm): First of all – the 6pm games have arguably been the best games so far in this young season. Maybe it’s the weather. Second of all – C.A.B.C. seems to always find some new exciting talent. Will Davis didn’t play in Week 3, but Terrence Phillips is the latest teenage PG to use the Drew League to make a name for himself. LA LOOP does have one of the best offenses in the Drew, so this could be a relative shootout as the sun goes down.
- Hank’s United Ballers vs. C.O.A. (Sat. June 6, 7:15pm): These teams were blacked out in Week 1, and they haven’t won a game since. Neither team has played well at all thus far. United Ballers talked about running a system that relied heavily on ball movement, but they failed to break 60 points the last two weeks. C.O.A. needs Rhino back – their lack of size hasn’t made anyone forget about the team they used to have. That said – the winner of this game has a chance to get to .500 by the end of the weekend!
- Salvatori’s No Shnacks vs. #Juglife (Sun. June 7, 10am): It’s not a coincidence that the 0-3 teams are all playing at 10am this weekend. The Breakfast Club games offer the kind of urgency that really gets cooking in early June, and the reality is that one of these teams will have to answer for being 0-4. No Shnacks PG Sango Niang missed last week as a precaution, but he’ll be ready to go for a team that has played hard against tough teams. #Juglife has talent that belies their record, but their poise and consistency leaves a lot to be desired. No Shnacks has struggled mightily against big men, so maybe this will be the Darnell Shumpert breakout game.
- Reapers vs. I Can All-Stars (Sun. June 7, 11:15am): You’re probably not going to get two sideline leaders as different as Reapers coach David Hollaway and Rock Johnson of the I Can All-Stars. Rock taunted the Reapers squad while they held a comfortable lead over Hard Times. Ultimately, Reapers blew a 15-point halftime lead. It was as if this was pro wrestling, and Rock hit the Reapers with a steel chair. But the (much) quieter Hollaway is confident in his team, even though they have shown a willingness to blow leads. He better have a good plan for slowing down Vince “The Body Snatcher” Camper and 7’2” Jordan Bachynski (22 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks in comeback win last week).
- BB4L vs. Pandas (Sun. June 7, 12:30pm): It was nice to see Metta World Peace on the floor for his new Pandas team last week. It was not nice watching Pandas struggle to score (Drew League season-low 51 points vs. Nova Stars). Some of the individual matchups are going to be fun: World Peace is going to get a chance to check Baron Davis and Gucci-wearing scorer Demetrius Walker, while Daniel Artest and Tarron “Beast” Williams may cause an earthquake. But if the Ware brothers show up Sunday, then it may be another long afternoon for Pandas PG K.J. Smith.
- Hank’s Houdini’s All-Stars vs. Problems (Sun. June 7, 2pm): This matchup is the second of the Commissioner’s Games of the Week. If Problems has “Money” Mike Efevberha in the lineup, it will mark the first time the 2014 MVP sees the team that eliminated his Cheaters since the memorable 4-OT Division Final from last August. But Money Mike didn’t play last week, and Houdini’s All-Stars struggled defensively in their first game without Tim Johnson. Both teams are coming off losses last week, and Houdini’s All-Stars PG Antonio Biglow has already declared that he is, “Back to getting baskets.” Sik Wit It better be ready to go for Problems!
- Citi Team Blazers vs. Jaguars (Sun. June 7, 3:15pm): The Jaguars were on their way to a 3-0 record before PF Terrence Townsend picked up a technical foul and found himself on the bench down the stretch last week. The Jaguars blew a 4th quarter lead to LA LOOP, and now they draw a team that did get to 3-0 in the Blazers, led by double-double machine Malcolm Thomas. The Jaguars are one of the deeper teams in the Drew, but their offense gets funky when the game slows down. They need PG Jacques Streeter (1/14 FGs, six of 32 turnovers last week) to bounce back in a big way.
- Hank’s United Ballers vs. NWA (Sun. June 7, 4:30pm): Even though NWA offers up moments of head-scratching execution every week, they are 3-0. Ultimately, their opponents have been more frustrated than Coach Keion Kindred. United Ballers will be playing back-to-back games in Week 3.
- C.O.A. vs. Hank’s Panthers (Sun. June 7, 6pm): C.O.A.’s back-to-back doesn’t look as challenging on paper than Hank’s United Ballers, though the Panthers got a win against Problems last week. PG Kevin Houston is playing with a lot of confidence this season, averaging over 20 points per game for the 1-2 Panthers.
Law Murray is in his fifth year in Los Angeles via Philadelphia. He is in his second season at the Drew, and has made stops at the NFL Network, Fox Sports, and Marketplace, in addition to contributing to ESPN TrueHoop’s ClipperBlog since 2014. Law has also served two years in City Year and covered the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. He graduated from California University of PA in 2009 with a B.A. in communication studies, and from University of Southern California in 2014 with a M.A. in journalism. He specializes in breaking down teams and players on a variety of media platforms.