The first week of Drew League action in season 51 brought not only some great basketball but also a few eyebrow-raising changes. In addition to a new playoffs format (top seven teams, three rounds, division leaders get a week 1 bye), there were also new faces on some old teams. One of those players was our week 1 Player of the Week, Marcus Bell.

Formerly of last year’s champs, Tuff Fades, Bell jumped to another veteran team, Mecca Cheaters, in the off-season, and it already looks like the change is paying dividends for both sides. Bell turned in a 34-point, 15-rebound double-double in their week 1 game against Task Force, highlighting a new role as the center of Cheaters offense (no pun intended).

Meanwhile, the Cheaters took their first win of the season in decisive fashion after struggling early in past seasons, mainly due to a lack of size in the front court.

Before, the Cheaters would usually wait to make a push in the late season when bigger players like Charles Jackson and Demar DeRozan showed up, but now, they have an absolute cannon in the middle who can both score just about at will in the midrange and make opposing offenses miserable close to the basket.

Bell, meanwhile, feels good about the change, telling the Drew League social team he feels “back to my old self.” With the combination of two championship pedigrees (Bell won in 2017 with Birdie’s Revenge, the Cheaters core, as BB4L, won the year before), the Cheaters are looking dangerous out of the gate and Marcus Bell is a big reason why.