By: Law Murray
Last week’s schedule was shortened due to the LA Film Festival premiere of the fantastic documentary The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce. BB4L guard Baron Davis said when making the film that the Drew is “a father, protector and an opportunity providing an example for all of us.”
That leads us into Week 6: Father’s Day weekend. Father’s Day also happens to be the first day of summer. This weekend also marks the first weekend that Division I student-athletes may participate in the Drew League this season, and those players are limited to one team in one league. To top it all off, there are 16 games this weekend – two days of 8-game schedules, instead of the usual seven:
- Sky Ryse vs. Salvatori’s Nova Stars (Sat. June 20, 10am): You know the league is unpredictable and loaded when two teams with winning records are slotted into the Breakfast Club game. Sky Ryse is coming off their first loss of the season, losing a close one to BB4L, while the Nova Stars have dropped two straight after a 3-0 start. Sky Ryse guard Donovan Morris has been quiet the last few weeks, while the Nova Stars have been hurt by inconsistent guard play – especially defensively.
- Hard Times vs. Hank’s United Ballers (Sat. June 20, 11:15am): Hard Times is on a four-game winning streak, and they have scored at least 70 points every week. There isn’t one player on this team you can key on, and they push the pace to win. Ironically, that’s what Hank’s United Ballers wanted to do: less iso ball in half court, run when possible. But their offense has simply been bad, as they have been held under 65 points in all four of their losses. United Ballers have much more size than Hard Times, but United Ballers need to show that they can take advantage of it better than they have.
- Hank’s Houdini’s All-Stars vs. Tradition (Sat. June 20, 12:30pm): Houdini’s All-Stars added yet another guard to the lineup, taking advantage of Hank’s Bulldogs’ 0-4 start to acquire Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session. The previous week, they scooped Josh Greene. Greene didn’t play last week, but guard Corey Allen returned. It’s simple for Tradition: try not to turn the ball over 47 times like Houdini’s All-Stars forced the Clozers to do last week. There will be a lot of pressure on Tradition PG Zeon Gray.
- The Clozers vs. Hank’s Panthers (Sat. June 20, 2pm): Speaking of 47 turnovers – The Clozers have had point guard issues/ballhandling concerns all season. Last week was the worst case scenario, but if there’s a team that desperately needs a steady hand in the backcourt, it’s The Clozers. They have a wealth of skill and athleticism and size elsewhere. The Panthers are quickly establishing themselves as one of the more productively physical teams in the league – that is, they’re beating people up during their current three-game winning streak.
- C.A.B.C. vs. ICEO (Sat. June 20, 3:15pm): Both teams had Week 5 off. Let’s not speak on C.A.B.C.’s Week 4 debacle in which they scored a Drew League season-low 46 points. We have no idea who will show up this week for C.A.B.C. (C Mamadou Ndiaye may play next week), but Coach Harry Wilson probably will have a better roster. ICEO’s Charles Hinkle has dropped 30+ points in all three ICEO wins this season, so C.A.B.C. better have an answer for him.
- Citi Team Blazers vs. Pandas (Sat. June 20, 4:30pm): The Blazers are also coming off a bye week, while the Pandas didn’t play in Week 1. The Blazers are one of only two undefeated teams left, and they’ll look to take advantage of a Pandas team that is a miracle shot away from being 0-4.
- LAUNFD vs. #Juglife (Sat. June 20, 6pm): LAUNFD looked bad in their opener, but they’re one of the hottest teams in the league right now, winning four straight. F Scott Cutley is awesome to watch with this team, as his rugged, grounded versatility is a perfect complement to longtime running mates F Brandon Bowman and PG Bobby Brown. This is a tough spot for 0-4 #Juglife to get their first win, but maybe they come back with a different focus after having last week off.
- C.O.A. vs. NWA (Sat. June 20, 7:15pm): For the second time in three weeks, C.O.A. is playing at 7:15 on a Saturday night. They were unable to beat Hank’s United Ballers on that night – now they get 4-0 NWA. Both teams are coming off a bye, but that’s the only thing they have in common right now.
- Jaguars vs. Hank’s Bulldogs (Sun. June 21, 10am): This is a more traditional Breakfast Club game. The Jaguars are on a three-game losing streak, while the Bulldogs are 1-4. But these games have also been some of the best, most competitive matchups in the league. The Bulldogs finally got a win last week, and PG Speedy Blackmon seems to be better equipped to perform without Frank Nitty. But the scheduling here may be to the Jaguars’ advantage; they’re one of the deepest teams in the league, while the Bulldogs only had six players when they played at 10am two weeks ago.
- Hank’s New Image vs. I Can All-Stars (Sun. June 21, 11:15am): This matchup pits the Week 5 Player of the Week (Hank’s New Image F Larry Gordon) against the Week 4 Player of the Week (I Can All-Stars G Vince “Body Snatcher” Camper).
- M.H.P. vs. Reapers (Sun. June 21, 12:30pm): M.H.P. has lost back-to-back games after their impressive 2-0 start, while the Reapers are 1-4. M.H.P.’s inconsistent defense has allowed teams to outhustle them – they’d be better if they were motivated from start to finish. The Reapers’ problem isn’t talent – they can score in a variety of ways. If the games ended after three quarters, Reapers might be undefeated, but they get picked apart in the fourth quarter every week.
- LA LOOP vs. Salvatori’s No Shnacks (Sun. June 21, 2pm): No Shnacks head coach Gary Clark did well to get his team to 2-3, and now he gets an impact player in 6’8” F Adom Jacko. While PG Sango Niang was the head of No Shnacks’ attack last season, Jacko was the heart, and his energy and athleticism is sorely needed, especially defensively. LA LOOP lost a tough one last week, but G Justin Johnson dropped 32 points in a losing effort to Salvatori’s Spirit. No other player scored more than nine last week for LA LOOP, though – is Johnson this year’s version of LA LOOP’s Body Snatcher?
- BB4L vs. Salvatori’s Spirit (Sun. June 21, 3:15pm): BB4L needed size to complement veterans Keith Closs and Tarron “The Beast” Williams. They got it with F Eugene Phelps, a 6’7”, 225-pounder who has the ability to crash the boards and push the ball. Salvatori’s Spirit got their first win last week after three close losses, and they’ll be relying on Gs Frank Robinson and DeDe Prejean to handle the load offensively in what should be another close game.
- Problems vs. C.O.A. (Sun. June 21, 4:30pm): These two teams are probably the most disappointing in the entire league right now. Problems has lost three straight games, failing to score 70 points in those losses. C.O.A. will be playing on the second day of a back-to-back, which means they could be looking for a second straight win or coming into this game with an 0-5 record.
- NWA vs. Legacy (Sun. June 21, 6pm): This is one of the Commissioner’s Games of the Week, as NWA could have a 5-0 record against Legacy, aka Team Heartburn. While there are many teams that like to mess around and blow leads, Legacy’s young players like to play with fire and still come out with the win. The one-on-one matchup to watch is between the two sub 6’0” veteran point guards: NWA’s Horace “Gingerbread Man” Wormely vs. Legacy’s Mark “The Heart” Peters.
- ICEO vs. Citi Team Blazers (Sun. June 21, 7:15pm): They’re saving the best for last on Father’s Day, as this is the other Game of the Week. The Blazers could have a 5-0 record as well coming into this game, and both teams will have played back-to-back nights. This is also the only game of 16 that have both teams in the Power Rankings: While the Blazers have the top spot in the power rankings, ICEO is holding on to the fifth spot.