MOST VALUABLE PLAYER (pictured above)
CB Liu, Homecrest Cruisers
THE "VIC" MOST INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
Arif Ansari, Ghee Unit
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Stan Yeung, Homecrest Cruisers
FIRST TEAM ALL-DREAM LEAGUE
g CB Liu, Homecrest Cruisers
g Pete Prassos, Renegades
f Shawn De Los Reyes, Da Bien
f Tony Hu, Homecrest Cruisers
c Brandon Chock, Gen X
SECOND TEAM ALL-DREAM LEAGUE
g Mike Kim, Renegades
g David Wong, Tri-State InvAsian
f James Choi, Renegades
f Varun Bhartiya, Ghee Unit
c George Chan, Homecrest Cruisers
THIRD TEAM ALL-DREAM LEAGUE
g Danny Chin, Philosokicks
g Dennis Yang, Gen X
f Yoshi Kagitomi, Funkytown Ballers
f Brian Liang, M&A 101
c Jiang Yu, Run B&C
g Stan Yeung, Homecrest Cruisers
g Andy So, Philosokicks
f Shawn De Los Reyes, Da Bien
f Punit Menda, Ghee Unit
c Brandon Chock, Gen X
ROOKIE OF THE SEASON
Amir Chima, Ghee Unit
The vote for the MVP this season was the tightest it’s ever been, and it was between two players from the same team. In the end, one voter was swayed by the fact that Tony Hu already has been an MVP before and thus gave the nod to CB Liu to rock the vote. Liu is our Summer/Fall 2006 MVP and a worthy one at that. Hu came on extremely strong in the playoffs, but Liu had the best regular season he’s ever had before falling off the wagon a bit in the postseason. He averaged 20 plus points before the playoffs, but still finished with a career high 17.8 ppg average, shooting 41.9% from the arc, and recording 1.3 spg. Liu was the reason many of the games this season were blowouts as Homecrest often went on 10-0 or 15-4 runs built off of a flurry of 3-balls from him. He held the hot hand most of the season and while one could build a case as to why others – not just Hu – could be most valuable, this season Liu was the best player off the best team – by a hair.
This season's Vic Tai Cheng Most Inspirational Award goes to Arif Ansari. Based on the fact that he travels from so far and wide to make games week in and week out, Ansari is a candidate for this award every season. But this season, while Ghee suffered through a horrendous 2-8 campaign, after coming off a championship, Ansari showed intestinal fortitude on top of being a road warrior as he never gave into defeat. Each week, as the losses piled up, Ansari still felt his team could win. Even when they entered the playoffs as one of the worst teams in the division, talk of running the table to repeat was his choice of conversation. In short, Ansari never gave up on his guys. He even went so far as to break the barrier and extend contracts to several East Asian players in an effort to beef up his team. When things were at their lowest, this man never wavered. He tried to plug holes, it wasn’t nearly enough, but for it, he is recognized for his incredible spirit to the game.
For our money, Stan Yeung gets the nod as the Defensive Player of the Season. One of, if not the best, point guards in the League, Yeung is the instrumental cog in the Cruiser wheel who makes the team go. He may have shot 38% from the field and less than 50% at the line this season, but that matters none. He’s a great table setter, but possibly even better on defense. He led the NL in steals (3.5), and there is no better player who turns a turnover into two-points the other way on the break. He has quick hands, isn’t afraid to get on the floor, and despite an affinity for complaining a little too much, is vocally unafraid to yell out to teammates and to himself alike what spot to get to on the floor. A fierce competitor.
Joining CB on the 1st Team are: teammate Hu, Pete Prassos from the Renegades, Shawn De Los Reyes of Da Bien, and Brandon Chock of Gen X.
Hu could well be the MVP this season as well. A bit of a slow start, perhaps due to a lingering shoulder injury, may have cost him. He came on tremendously in the playoffs and if our MVP award was split into a regular season one and a playoff one as in some other leagues, Hu’d be the one for the post-season. He averaged 12.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, and 1.5 spg in, once again, destroying any team trying to find a way to guard him. No one in these parts has come up with an effective solution to contain him, particularly on the block. The scary thing is, he’s in his prime, so he’ll probably be beating on defenders down there for a long time to come…Prassos is an undeniably talented player who led the Renegades with 16.3 ppg, 2.4 apg, and 2.3 spg. He was too good to leave off this list. If he cooled his tone a bit and stopped trying to instigate fights, his game would be complete…De Los Reyes, Da Bien’s reigning MVP, had another stellar season in the midst of a transition period for the team. He posted 14.0 ppg (52.8% FG), 7.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 1.9 spg while doing it without his running made Kevin Park and learning new player’s game on the fly. Da Bien had their worst record in the history of the League, but SDR was a rock. He always will be. With the imminent demise of Da Bien, the SDR Lotto is officially underway…Chock was also a rock – and pretty much a lock to make this spot every season. He turned in another fine season in leading Gen X to the Finals. He tirelessly averaged 15.4 ppg (47.1% FG), 12.9 rpg, and 1.9 bpg while learning to adapt to playing with a new big man in the Gen X front-court. The best post-game dunker you’ll ever see, we want to see him throw it down big man, throw it down!
Here’s a dicey selection - Mike Kim of the Renegades. Or should it be formerly of the Renegades? Kim played in the minimum number of games it takes to qualify for All-League considerations before leaving the team for the Left Coast. Had he stayed all season, there is no doubt he would have been on the 1st Team. Kim was a fine player while present and we can’t diminish that fact. So he gets the spot here as he averaged 12.9 ppg (45.7% FG), 6.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, and 2.4 spg. Basketball players don’t do the 40 yard dash, but without a doubt, if we had a race, he’d finish first in the League…Kim’s teammate James Choi is on the 2nd Team with him thanks in part to a large season: 11.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, and 2.0 spg. Choi’s killer instinct allowed him to make several clutch baskets and he might be the best rebounding guard around…Tri-State’s Dave Wong has had better seasons. He still led the team in scoring with 13.4 ppg and picked up 2.3 spg. He’s had better seasons (did I say that already?), but as Tri had their finest campaign ever, one of the most talented players on this team deserves a nod here…In an otherwise terrible season, Varun Bhartiya performed solidly for the Ghee Unit and posted numbers of 10.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.4 bpg. The athletic swingman did it all – well, all but win. With a better supporting cast around him, Vic is the type of player who could be MVP…George Chan is always a shoe-in for either a 1st or 2nd Team nod. Chock had the bigger season statistically this time, but Chan will take championships over individual accolades any day. He had solid, if not spectacular season of: 11.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.6 spg, and 1.3 bpg. A double double a game? Any way to create six spots on the 1st Team?
The Philosokicks Danny Chin is just a young buck. He averaged 14.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, and 2.0 spg this season, but one could easily see him doubling those numbers in coming years as he learns more to play within a team. The sky’s the limit with this kid - and if he learns to score in the 1st half of games, forget it...Many – okay, everyone – questions the heart of Dennis Yang. He belongs on this list thanks to a 12.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 1.8 apg season, but expect those numbers to deflate to 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, and 0.0 apg next season as it’s believed he’ll be stepping away from the game for personal preferences. Surprise, surprise…a clog of big men round out this list with Yoshi Kagitomi of Funkytown, Brian Liang of M&A 101, and Jiang Yu sharing the honors. Like many others, Y2K had a fine season in an otherwise forgettable year for Funkytown. Their new line-up had no chemistry whatsoever. But there he was, steady as could be with 15.6 ppg (53.6% FG), 10.9 rpg, 1.4 spg, and 1.8 bpg. The 30-something big man is still playing like he’s 21. He’s an inspiration…Liang’s game came down a notch as he continued to struggle to get used to a new cast around him. He still put up worthy numbers of 11.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, and 1.7 bpg, but these are at just two-thirds of what he can average. Look for him to bounce back as he continues to adapt to the East Coast game (read: zone defenses)…Yu had some games for Tri-State this season in which he described himself as being “unstoppable.” He was right. He averaged 12.4 ppg, 12.9 rpg (2nd in the NL), and 1.7 bpg. He could stand to shoot free-throws better (45.1%) and that’s why he may never be the best big man ever, but then again Shaq can’t shoot worth a lick at the stripe and he may go down as the best there was.
Joining Super Stan on the Defensive Demons list are: Andy So of the Philosokicks, De Los Reyes, Punit Menda of Ghee Unit, and Chock.
So, the Kicks’ captain, and the maker of fine shirts all the All-League players received, played the entire season on one ankle basically. He hobbled through injury and earns a spot on this team based on his all-around hustle. A former All-Defensive Team member, So’s tenacity on defense is what got him 3.4 spg (2nd in the NL). He’s loves to play man-to-man and if the DL ever enforces a no-zone policy (which is being mulled over), he’ll be loving it…De Los Reyes had the rebounds and steals that earn him a spot on this team again, but it’s his all-around athleticism and fear he instills in offensive players that make him a perennial All-D guy….Menda the rim benda led the NL in blocked shots (2.0) this season. He’s impossible to play since he’s so long and will either swat your stuff or at least alter it. He’s the king of weak side whacks into the 4th row that embarrass a player. You can’t buy that kind of defensive help. Hard to get rebounds over too due to his length. An easy choice…Chock is a defensive dynamo who can’t be beat on the boards unless he’s double or tripled. Even then, he’ll find a way to clean 15 caroms. He’s right behind Menda in packs (1.9) and like SDR, forces players to go away from him for fear he’ll break you in half.
Rookie of the Season
Chima averaged 10.3 ppg and shot 42.1% from the arc, helping to keep Ghee in many games despite their poor record. The newcomer is just a one and done player though as it's understood he is moving out and taking his game to San Francisco for a better tomorrow. Surely, some team in Bay Area DL will welcome his pretty shot with open arms.