2006_Summer/Fall AAA (NYC)
And We're Off! A Sneak Peak at the New AAA Division
|Felipe Lopez Foundation Event!!! - This Saturday is the Felipe Lopez Foundation All-Star Celebrity Charity Basketball Game. Dream League is going and won't you join us? General admission is $20 and proceeds go to benefit the foundation which is aimed at assisting youth with improving educational resources and physical and social welfare. Felipe was on NY1 last night promoting the event and talking about his current whereabouts (including his upcoming shot at joining the Houston Rockets team with Yao) when Steve Nash called right in the middle and confirmed that he'll be in attendance at the game. If getting to see a bald NBA MVP doesn't spur you on to join us, you have no pulse. Game is at 5:00PM at St. John's University in Queens. If you have high school aged brothers, sisters, or cousins, ask us how they can go for free!|
Seoul Says...The Start of Something New
Hoo EEE! Seoul Shibuya here and I just got back from a summer trip to Wyoming. Wyo…where? Not Yao Ming. Wyoming. You know that great state over yonder on the other side of this country. Sits under Montana, above Colorado, and just two states over from California – birthplace of Dream League Nation.
I was out there bucking broncos, rafting rivers, and up to general no goodness for a full two weeks. After watching the DL Finals last season – a fantastic AL game and an unbelievable NL series (Did you miss it? Shame on you) – I had to get away. Far away. I had to go somewhere, be at one with nature, and just let my brain and body rot away.
They all look good. I don't know who wins.
Last season was as unreal as it got. The advent of the NL and AL divisions was brilliant as the way in which the entire season played out demonstrated that stratifications of divisions is not just a fancy sounding term, but a logical move as the DL grows and grows.
And so just as you and I probably knew not a whole lot about the state of Wyoming other than that they produced a basketball player formerly known as Fennis Dembo out of UW (no, not Washington), we know not a lot about the newly birthed AAA Division we are unrolling this season.
Let’s take a look at what we’re going to get. I reserve the right to be completely wrong. It’s kinda embarrassing actually. I pride myself on my inside knowledge usually, but since I jumped town after last season and didn’t hit the ground searching for stories and background on the new teams coming in, I’ve been caught with my pants down.
But because I must do what I must do…here’s my offering for a AAA Season Preview:
First, let’s start with what I do know.
The 16 Minute Men got it wrong last season. Thanks in part to the fact that captain John Wong just wanted the chance to play his protégé George Lai of Derelicte, Wong enrolled his men in the NL Division, not knowing what that meant.
Zero wins and thirteen losses later, he found out.
Actually, it only took a couple of losses to know he had entered the wrong level and that they were already looking forward to the next season when they could get it right.
That season is now and 16MM will find the pace a lot more to their liking in the AAA as Wong unveils a new team that – even were they still in the NL – would be considered an upgrade. Four new players whom are still a mystery will replace a hodge podge of what seemed like 25 part-time players.
With Wong and the hard-nosed, high-scoring Mun Ng at the helm, 16MM’s backcourt will be the heart and soul of this team. Center Ray Lieu can be counted on to be unreliable. Since the Fall means football season and his Pittsburgh Steelers are in it to win it again, you can be sure that if 16MM has a game on Sunday, they will have no center.
Mark my words. The 16 Minute Men will earn their first ever Dream League victory. And then several more after that.
The difference between the AL and the AAA is nil really. It’s really a matter of logistics and dividing up the divisions to have a little more fun. For Run B&C, a team formerly of the AL, they will feel no drop off in competition here. And that may not be a good thing.
B&C lost their captain Likai Gu last season to Taiwan (hi Likai, you reading this?) and then lost their leader Eden Chuang to summer vacation back in BC. This season, they lose their entire post as center and power forward Chris Milla and Ed Keung also head back to Asia.
These guys ought to be renamed Import/Export.
It's going to be a wild, wild shootout!
New Captain Rich Cheng promises new players to fill these missing pieces, but will they measure up to the blocking and rebound ways of Milla and Keung? Those two were heady players who knew the system and had a feel for the League. It’s going to be hard for rookies to come in and shine instantly.
If Chuang isn’t back for the start of the season yet since NYU isn’t in session yet, B&C might start this season how they ended last season – Broken & Cooked. They will have to rely on guard Milton Han early and often. While Han is capable for 20 points, he’s also liable to commit just as many turnovers. It’s time for All-Star Henry Young to take his game to the next level.
Jurassic Park is a new team, but full of old players. And when I say old, I mean old.
With an average age just shy of Yoda, JP is an eclectic collection of quite possibly the smartest group of guys in the League. On one hand you have captain Andre Liu who not only graduated from Princeton, but runs his own company, and has a writing style that is reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway. On another hand, you have Mike Owh, resident Dream League wise-crack, Cal alum, and attorney at law. (He also makes a mean taco.) On yet another hand, it’s Henry Park, University of Chicago grad and currently pursuing his MBA. (Is this starting to sound like a Mr. Asia contest?) Firmly on one more hand is Swishy Rassiwalla, the UPENN graduate who now travels the globe as an international man of mystery. It’s a mystery why he wears sweats only when he plays.
Throw these guys together, add some Felix Shen (who molds the minds of youth today), Victor Wu (who has a moldy Michigan shirt in his closet), and maybe even Arif Ansari (who brings with him an NL Championship ring now) and you have the makings of a very interesting, very comical, and very fraternal group of guys whose team name is indeed a nod to their average age of 47.5632.
And here is where what I do know ends.
I know a few players here and there in the upcoming teams, but overall – I know as much as I know that Ben Rothlisberger will be okay after busting his face in the off-season when he takes the field for the first time in an official game.
The Sea Slugs feature a couple of familiar faces who have left the AL to start a new team. Captain Ricky Auyeung leaves Got Skillz to launch his team that will hopefully not need water added to them in order to grow. (Remember those sea horse things you ordered in the mail?)
Power forward Jimmy Nguyen comes with him and already with these two guys, I know they will have solid cornerstones to build off of. The guard with the cool antics (high stepping, high socks), Jeph Dais, also comes over from Skillz and ought to provide this team theatrics and ball handling.
Allan Farjado and Chris Gamboa sound like a mean pair of outside linebackers, but how they hit in this League will remain to be seen. And Hanh Dang, if he has some dang good hang time, already has a beat for Best Name in the League.
NL runner-up Homecrest Cruisers’ point guard Stan Yeung enters the AAA fray and while no one is exactly sure why, it is a testament to the fact that this division is no joke. Some have called Yeung the NL’s MVP as he plays the game like an Asian Jason Kidd – dominating a game without scoring. If the potential NL MVP is leading a team called Picked Last in PE, you know this team is a frontrunner already. Even if he is playing his very unnatural position of Center on this team. Wow.
Throw in the fact that the man with the DLNY scoring record for most points in a game (49) - Quincy Tso - will be Yeung’s backcourt mate, and already this backcourt is the tops in the division without having played a single game.
The rest of Picked Last in PE (what a great name) is the great mystery. The fact that they have been enrolled in the AAA probably means they won’t be Tony Hu or George Chan, so what they wind up looking like, we will have to wait with baited breath.
Gary Chen (the man with the cool red shoes) rolls out an expansion team after leaving the AL’s 6 Feet Under (everyone left that team it seems). He has been eager to do so since week 5 of last season when he repeatedly asked how he could start his own team. Way to focus on the season at hand then, G-Chen!
If rumor holds true, we may see 6’5” center Frank Chiu on Rage’s team (he once played on the Retros.) G-Chen spoke of a front line that would measure up to that of a D3 school’s front line – in stature that is. Whether it be in skill, we can only hope. If memory serves correct, Chiu tore up the comp in a couple of games and the DL was about to go out and make his throw back jersey and start selling them. Maybe the skill will be good.
Last minute entrant Bonzai is led by captain Brent Morita who also two-times on the AL’s A Ball. Everyone always yells at B-Mo to shoot and shoot some more when he’s on A Ball. Whether he needs such goading on this team will be of interest to see. It seems that he’s not as gun shy on Bonzai and it’s possible it’s because he doesn’t have a Jae Ha Hwang giving him the quick yank for making a mistake over here.
Don’t know so much as a name of any of the other players on this team, so it couldn’t B-Mo unpredictable how they’ll do. (Though rumour has it that a couple heads who ran a long time ago in the DL will be on this team.)
Now to the teams I really know nothing about:
Sea Slugs: It doesn't exactly inspire fear.
Other than the fact that they are called HKT and LYSE Shot, these two new franchises are as mysterious as what was inside the hatch on Lost before they went and opened it in season two.
Tsi Yang Lung, otherwise known as Ethan, runs LYSE and he knows Tony Hu.
HKT is led by Johnny Leung. Johnny lives in Brooklyn.
Sorry the info on them is so sparse, but we’ll get to know them as the season moves on.
Since I’m such a terrible reporter (imagine the Sports Illustrated preview issue telling you “we don’t know what they’ll be like.”) and I can’t fairly determine how all these teams will be overall, I am going to fail to produce a list of how these teams will fare as this season plays on.
A champion pick?
I ain’t going there.
I could say a team led by Stan Yeung should do well. I could say a team with League vets and a combined GPA of 99.9 should win. But if Ethan knowing Tony means he’s half as good as Tone, or B-Mo’s boys have it together, or Milton reduces the t.o.’s in a big way, or Frank the Tank dominates again, or Johnny living in Brooklyn means he’s as good as some other Brooklyn products like Sebastian Telfair, or the Sea Slugs make like Seabiscuit and run away from the field, or Wong (who likes to drop coin on horse races) gambles and gets lucky now that he’s in the right field finally, anyone could win here.
It’s a wide wide open race for now. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’ll be.
I can’t wait to see how it goes. I’m sure Fennis would agree.
Da Pick Prognosticator
I, Seoul Shibuya, pick cause I must. The truth is, I really don't like to, but it's part of the job. If it were up to me, I'd pick everyone to be a winner. Cause the truth is, you all are.
Wed Aug 9
Sea Slugs vs. Rage: The very first AAA game ever! This is fantastic. Not much is known about these guys other than a few players from AL teams starting them. Ricky Auyeung and Gary Chen are the captains of Sea Slugs and Rage respectively. Because Auyeung personally went nuts towards the end of last season, I'm giving the edge to him and his team here. He is capable of leading a team single-handedly. But I really won't be able to start picking more appropriately till after a couple weeks. Remember, you all are winners!
Sun Aug 13
Bonzai vs. LYSE Shot: Another game where I don't know much about the teams. I do know Brent Morita, captain of Bonzai. And he carries on his roster names I am familiar with like Jabin Kim, Jack Run, and Chris Kim. But it's been so long since I've seen some of those guys, it's like I don't know them. However, I don't know a single LYSE player. What does LYSE stand for? Pronounce it as it looks - lice - and that's not good. I'll go with the little Japanese trees this time. Winners people, all you all!
Jurassic Park vs. 16 Minute Men: Wow. What a first week match up. I'm actually pretty familiar with both sides of the coin here. JP is made up of a bunch of old guys and few pretending to be old. 16MM is made up of a bunch of even older guys. This game ought to be great. A classic in our first week? Why not? I know 16MM will get their first ever DL win (and then some) this season, but it won't come on this day. But they, like all of you, are still winners in my book!