The snow fell, the snow melted. The overcast skies herald a storm. It's Week One of the Grand Army Basketball League: tie your shoes and hitch up your shorts.
8:15 - Team One vs. Team Two
Team One is a tall, rangy collection of basketball talent, with 5 of their 7 players surpassing the 6-foot mark. They're led by captain Whitney Warren, leading scorer on last year's championship squad, who is noted for his deadly foul line jumper. Katie Kinsey and Mark Lee will perform guard duty, while the team's backbone is a vertically-enhanced quartet that some controversial writers are calling 'The Fourth Reich' due to a profusion of Germanic surnames: Ben Heinzerling, Tom Fleischman, Katie Stokien, and Ben Weitmarschen.
They'll be taking on the more diverse Team Two, captained by Kyle Ervin. His speed, along with the variety of swingman David Saie, the post play of Zach Smith, the dead-eye shooting of Andrew Weiner, the quickness of guards Chris Bonastia and Dave Polen, and the as-yet-unseen-and-unscouted female tandem, Allison Cline and Trista Sordillo, make Team Two a veritable handful.
The year's opening game will come down to how effectively Ervin's troops can nullify the size advantage of Team One, particularly on the offensive boards, and whether Warren and company can score with enough frequency to keep pace with Team Two's high-powered offense.
9:00 - Team Three (The Cray's Nest, maybe) vs. Team Four
The Cray's Nest (unofficial name) will be missing its spiritual leader and captain, Jacob Craycroft, going into tonight's battle. They'll be led instead by league veterans Vance Tucker, Jane Rizzo, Shane Ryan, and Gene Walsh, while newcomers Lars Rasmussen and Jordan Glickson are expected to provide an immediate spark. Tucker's offensive prowess is well remembered from last season, while Ryan spearheaded the obsolete Duy Linh Banjos in their runner-up campaign. Walsh, one of the league's more reliable point guards, returns with steady backcourt mate Rizzo.
Jake Berkowitz, captain of Team 4, also leads a depleted squad into Week One. Steve Friedman and Kerry Brown will be missing in action, but a second duo will be more than willing to fill the void. Geoff Nelson and Nate Purinton, nicknamed "Fire & Ice" because of their hot-and-cold tendencies, are looking to pick up where they left off from last year's regular season, when they combined for over 50 points and 10 3s to make the playoffs in a must-win game. They'll also try to exorcise the ghosts from the ensuing postseason, when they struggled in a semi-final loss. But the triangle-and-two, previously an effective strategy against their torrid shooting, may no longer be viable. Pre-season All America center Robert Van Kolken is not to be taken lightly inside, and Jeremy Forsythe provides additional rebounding prowess from the 4. Newcomer Avi Kent will combine with Berkowitz to hold down the guard positions.
The Cray's Nest will be employing a fast-break offense, while Team 4 would prefer a slower game that exploits their rebounding advantage. This clash of styles should make for an interesting affair.
9:45 - Team Five vs. Team Six
Steve Krakauer, a journeyman last year, has sought greater stability in 2010 by recruiting a well-oiled team of co-workers and friends. Captained by Greg Wyrick, this new crew has size and skill in spades. Dan Abrams, Matt Brinkmann, Colby Hall, and Keith Gormley all had impressive preseason performances, and will bring a unique energy into the league. The front line will be anchored by Krakauer, Amy Hauck, a member of last year's championship team, and Steve Reiter, a newcomer recruited from the infamous Harlem leagues.
Rafael Rodriguez, captain of Team 6, leads the GABL's quickest unit. Teamed with his brother Ismael and friend Robin Luna, along with Kieran Valla and Brian Love, he will oversee the fittest, fastest squad on the courts. Patrick Waldo and Kyle Pilkington add size to the fearsome equation.
It will take a concerted effort for Team 5 to contend with the free-and-loose style we expect from Team 6, but their steadiness may prove to be an advantage. It's a classic flash vs. form match-up, and should be tight to the end.
(Before I get to the rules, a quick request for volunteers. The goal for the league is to keep accurate stats. I can keep book in the games I'm not playing, so for this week I need someone to cover the scoreboard in each game, and someone to keep stats- points only- in the second game. If you can help out, even for a game, give me a shout.
Grand Army Basketball League RULES
*Halves will be 18 minutes apiece, running time. The clock will stop at every whistle under the 2-minute mark of the second half only.
*There will be no shot clock. However, stalling is frowned upon. If a team is suspected of stalling, a 30-second shot clock may be instituted at the request of the opposing team, referee, or timekeeper.
*The 1-and-1 bonus and 2-shot double bonus rules will be in effect. After 7 team fouls, the opposing team will be awarded a 1-and-1 bonus free throw opportunity. After 10 fouls, the opposing team will be awarded a 2-shot double bonus.
*A player has 10 seconds to shoot a free throw. Stall tactics will result in a technical foul against the offender.
*In a foul shot situation, all players except the shooter (and any player outside the three-point line) may leave their position when the ball is released. The shooter (and any player outside the three-point line) may not leave until the ball makes contact with the basket.
*When a player commits his 6th personal foul, he will be ejected from the game. 2 technical fouls also results in an ejection, though the referee may eject a player one technical at his discretion. A single technical foul also counts as a personal foul, and counts toward the team foul total for bonus purposes.
EXCEPTION: If a team can field only 5 players, or has been reduced to 5 players as a result of previous ejections, a player cannot foul out. Therefore, a player’s 6th personal foul (and every foul thereafter) will result in a technical foul PLUS the result of the foul. That is, two technical shots plus a) possession, b) 2 foul shots, c) 1-and-1, or d) the double bonus, depending on the situation.
COROLLARY: If one team can field only five players, the opposing team may choose to abide by either set of rules. That is, a player committing his sixth personal foul may either be ejected, or he or she can stay in the game and the team will be assessed a technical foul.
*Each time will have 3 timeouts per game, to be used whenever they see fit.
*There will be no back court (over-and-back) violation. There will be no 10-second (or 8-second) violation.
*Other basketball violations, such as travelling, double dribble, palming, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, etc. will be assessed as usual. The referee may also call a flagrant or intentional foul at his discretion. The penalty for these infractions will be two foul shots plus possession. A flagrant foul will result in an automatic ejection, but an intentional foul will not.
*Any ball which hits the black support structures extending above the basket will be considered out-of-bounds.
*Any ball which hits the top of the backboard will be considered out-of-bounds.
*Any ball which hits the side of the backboard will be considered in play.
Overtime sessions will be 2 minutes long, with the clock stopping at every whistle. In the extremely unlikely event that a game is still tied after two overtime sessions, a regular season game will be declared a tie.
*Any player ejected from a game due to technical or flagrant fouls may be subject to further suspension at the discretion of the league. As someone who has been ejected from a game in the past due to bad behavior, I don’t anticipate that this will ever be necessary, even in the case of a single ejection. Things happen. In extreme cases, however, a player may be subject to a multi-game suspension or even be kicked out of the league. Be nice to the refs and each other, please.
*I’ve just written these from scratch. If I’ve forgotten anything, or if you have any questions, please contact me. As far as I’m concerned, they’re also open to debate. If you can present a compelling argument as to why there should be a 10-second violation, for example, I’m very willing to listen.
Please rise and give a warm hand to Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal!
"Hola! No hay jugadores de basquetbol en el mundo que juegan como el equipo numero cinco. Y no hay un jugador mejor que su capitan, el hombre con el corazon de oro y los ojos de hielo, mi amigo Greg Wyrick!"
CAPTAIN: Greg Wyrick
Steve Reiter Amy Hauck Steve Krakauer Dan Abrams Keith Gormley Colby Hall Matt Brinkmann
Team 3 will be introduced by Captain Ahab from the novel Moby Dick.
"I am beyond pleased to introduce to you the captain of Team 3, a gentleman known to all and sundry as a purveyor of good human kindness and an upholder of decency and virtue. On land or at sea, his hand is steady. He is Jacob Craycroft, and- HOLY SHIT A WHITE WHALE!"
CAPTAIN: Jacob Craycroft
Lars Rasmussen Jane Rizzo Vance Tucker Shane Ryan Gene Walsh Jordan Glickson
Introducing Team 2 is former President and Know-Nothing party member Millard Fillmore!
"Basket-ball, eh? I have not heard of this particular diversion. Nevertheless, I approve of recreation among young Americans, as long as the participants are of solid character, and not influenced by the dangerous ideas of these damned papists!
I am pleased to introduce Kyle Ervin as the captain of team 2. He is a good solid midwesterner without a single strain of Irish blood."
CAPTAIN: Kyle Ervin
Chris Bonastia Dave Polen Trista Sordillo Allison Cline Zach Smith Andrew Weiner David Saie
To introduce Team One, please welcome Irish celebrity Bono!
"Right, how's it going? It's my great pleasure to introduce the line-up for Team One, captained by a personal hero of mine, Whitney Warren. It seems to be a team with a lot of German-sounding last names. Here we go, then..."
CAPTAIN: Whitney Warren
Tom Fleischman Ben Weitmarschen Zach Heinzerling Katie Kinsey Katie Stokien Mark Lee