By: Law Murray
This weekend may be the calm before the storm. It’s the last weekend in June, and it may be the last good chance some players get to stake their claims as serious contributors this season.
That said, this week is notable just for the fact that the teams are packed in the middle. Citi Team Blazers stand alone at the top with a record of 6-0; they’re the only undefeated team left. But there are only ten other teams with winning records heading into a 15-game Week 7. #Juglife is the only team without a win, currently standing at 0-5. There are talented teams sitting at or below .500, but you know the slogan:
Tradition vs. Hank’s New Image (Sat. June 27, 10am)
Tradition is playing in the Breakfast Club game for the second time in three weeks. New Image has lost four of their last five games. It might not look pretty, but this will be another slobberknocker to start the day – that’s been the case with most of the Breakfast Club games this season.
ICEO vs. Pandas (Sat. June 27, 11:15am)
ICEO made quick work of C.A.B.C. last Saturday, but they couldn’t hold off the Blazers late Sunday. It’s clear that F Charles Hinkle has the league’s attention though. Folks in the stands and the Blazers’ bench kept asking the scorer’s table how many points he had throughout the game (he had 26, in a losing effort). It would be nice to see Metta World Peace suit up and try and defend Hinkle, but he has taken more of a sideline leadership role in recent weeks.
Jaguars vs. Sky Ryse (Sat. June 27, 12:30pm)
Sky Ryse might be feeling a bit snubbed this week. Donovan Morris was left out of Aaron’s MVP discussion, while Sky Ryse was the 5-1 team left out of the Power Rankings. Not saying I agree or not, but part of that might be due to Sky Ryse only playing one team that currently has a winning record to this point (and they lost that game to BB4L). If that’s the case, it seems doubtful that they can change people’s minds much this week – they catch the Jaguars while they’re on a four-game losing streak.
BB4L vs. Salvatori’s No Shnacks (Sat. June 27, 2pm)
This is the Commissioner’s Game of the Week for Saturday, as it matches up two of the best backcourts in the league. No Shnacks PG Sango Niang put on a show against Baron Davis’ Cheaters squad in last year’s playoffs, and while Davis has Demetrius “Gucci” Walker and the Wares complementing him, Niang has a solid backcourt made as well this year in Troy Leaf.
Hank’s Houdini’s All-Stars vs. Reapers (Sat. June 27, 3:15pm)
I don’t really care, but if I did, I’d feel so bad for the Reapers right now. They’re 1-5 despite going into the 4th quarter with a lead in every single game. For the fourth straight week they gave up a 4th quarter lead … and the Player of the Week has played against the Reapers in each of those four games! So which one of the Houdini’s All-Stars guards gets Player of the Week? Corey Allen? Swag Champ? Frank?
Citi Team Blazers vs. LA LOOP (Sat. June 27, 4:30pm)
The Blazers are deep. They’re really deep. They probably didn’t need Marcus Williams or Kenny “Action” Jackson, but they have them and they won with them. Don’t sleep on forward Billy White either, as he can rebound and complement Malcolm Thomas. LA LOOP gave up all kinds of easy looks last week to No Shnacks; they’re really starting to struggle defensively.
Hank’s Panthers vs. Hard Times (Sat. June 27, 6pm)
These are two of the hottest teams in the league. The Panthers have won four straight games, and they’re establishing themselves as one of the very best defensive teams in the league. They’re frustrating to play against. Hard Times has won five straight games, and they have a lot of scoring talent to go around. Hard Times also just added Darington Hobson and David Blu. The Panthers are going to have to shoot well to keep their streak alive.
C.A.B.C. vs. #Juglife (Sat. June 27, 7:15pm)
Both teams had Week 5 off, then came back to losses on Saturday. C.A.B.C. has won with exciting players like Terrence Phillips and Will Davis, but they’ve had a forgettable month so far. #Juglife has simply had a forgettable season. Hopefully these teams will not combine for a forgettable end to Saturday’s games.
Salvatori’s Nova Stars vs. Salvatori’s Spirit (Sun. June 28, 10am)
For the second week in a row, the Nova Stars are in the Breakfast Club game. This time, they get the Spirit, who followed up their first win of the season with a dreadful offensive performance last week vs. BB4L. They had more turnovers last week (28) than baskets (23). The Nova Stars have lost three straight, and suddenly, they don’t look so deep anymore.
Hank’s United Ballers vs. M.H.P. (Sun. June 28, 11:15am)
Look, the Drew League is better when Victor Rudd is playing. He’s had some ridiculous lines all season, but he’s just now getting a Player of the Week award to validate what he’s done nearly every time he has played. On the flip side, we’ve seen Hank’s United Ballers struggle to score all season. M.H.P. tends to let anyone score, as their priority is getting shots up as quickly as possible. Khalfani Williams should be attached to Rudd’s hip for the entire game.
I Can All-Stars vs. Legacy (Sun. June 28, 12:30pm)
Legacy has played with fire in just about every game this season, but they really blew it Sunday night when they lost to an NWA team suiting up five players. This is the Commissioner’s other Game of the Week, and it features a great shooting Legacy team against an I Can All-Stars team led by “The Body Snatcher”, PG Vince Camper. Team Heartburn vs. the Yo-Yo Squad – I Can All-Stars can blow big leads, but they’ve proven that they can come back from them too.
NWA vs. Problems (Sun. June 28, 2pm)
NWA may have dropped their first game of the season last week (to previously winless C.O.A.), but PG Horace Wormely (aka “The Gingerbread Man”) and head coach Keion Kindred give them a chance every game. A team with no one coming off the bench is always at a major disadvantage at the Drew, but Kindred dialed a game-winning play up, and The Gingerbread Man made a game-winning decision on Mike Martin’s game-winning three to beat Legacy last week. Problems is set to get 2014 MVP “Money” Mike Efevberha back after a four-game absence; Problems dropped every single game he missed.
The Clozers vs. C.O.A. (Sun. June 28, 3:15pm)
The Clozers followed up their embarrassing Week 5 performance (47 turnovers) by scoring a season-low 56 points in a loss to Hank’s Panthers last week. Besides shaky ballhandling, it’s clear that the young team’s confidence is extra shaky as well. They’re catching C.O.A. at a bad time, with PF Craig “Rhino” Smith even more motivated as usual to get C.O.A. back on track after they started 0-4. Rhino has expanded his range, making five threes in C.O.A.’s two wins last weekend.
C.A.B.C. vs. LAUNFD (Sun. June 28, 4:30pm)
C.A.B.C. will be playing on the second day of a back-to-back, and if they don’t have C Mamadou Ndiaye on Saturday, they’ll definitely want him on Sunday. LAUNFD has won five in a row, and they now have bigs Drew Gordon and Ekene Ibekwe to go along with Brandon Bowman and Scott Cutley up front.
Hank’s Bulldogs vs. #Juglife (Sun. June 28, 6pm)
There’s a possibility that #Juglife comes into this game at 0-6. The Bulldogs started this season 0-4, but have won back-to-back games in convincing fashion ever since Franklin Session left to join the defending champs. The PG battle between Speedy Blackmon of the Bulldogs and #Juglife’s Steven Pickens is going to be chippy, but Speedy has Tyrone “50” Riley with him. No one on #Juglife has emerged as a difference maker this season.