MBL 2017 Preview

Wow, after an uncertain future from the first few years of the Melrose Basketball League, we have somehow blossomed and doubled in size.  Take that anyone who doubted us (don’t think there’s anyone just sounds cool).  After four teams in our inaugural season, we moved to six in year two and somehow grew to 12 teams for 2017.

Although I will miss the double rims, slanted courts, terrible parking and a place where more people can hear Mat DiFronzo’s voice, we are moving on from The Common to the Horacemann/Hesseltine courts.  These courts are much better and the scoring will go way up unless you have Fred Gillis on your team (damn wait that’s my team).  Just please everyone (DiFronzo), remember these games will be near a Little League so we have to act like matur adultz.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  Twitter will have game and schedule updates, while Facebook has some cool Facebook Live videos if you have 45 minutes to kill.  Make sure that you are on our email list, so you can receive all of our information, rule book will be sent in the next few days.

Our league nights are as follows:

Dockside: May 18, 5:00-8:00

Fuddruckers: June 29, 5:00-8:00

Without further a due, I will preview each team this season:

Tee Shirt Guy:

Last season this team went 10-4 and won the championship after losing their first playoff game.  They have kept their roster completely in tack, the only returning to do this and they have faith that this will propel them to another championship.  They return All-League Second Team players Tyler O’Brien and Troy Tartarini while Derek Oates was the overwhelming choice for Finals MVP after a dominating playoffs.  Pre-season odds puts this team as a middle of the pack contender, but if they make the playoffs and play well they could easily repeat.

Traversy Dental:

This is a team that won the 2015 Championship but feel off last year and finished on a six-game losing streak.  They will lose Fran Hannon who was a big part of their championship, but 2X MVP Will Vigneron returns.  Vigneron has been the best player in league history to this point and is a double-double machine.  The addition of Nick Bona and return of Tommy Parsons will give Dan Hannon a chance to emerge as a star while his brother Kevin a chance to rack up rebounds.  This team has the opportunity to win big this year once again if everyone stays healthy.  Also s/o to James Traversy who will eventually be fixing our teeth.

Dockside:

The regular season champions (I have heard this 8000 times) from last season made the smart move to add more former Wakefield football captain Alex McKenna to compliment last season’s Rookie of the Year Mike McKenna.  The team will mostly stay intact besides the occasional absence from Tom Caron and CJ Cleary who will not be living in the area during the season.  The key to the team might be Bryan Butt, who was snubbed for All-League last season.  His defense and rebounding will be essential to go against the increased size across the league this season.  They will enter as a preseason favorite.

Brueggers & Jamba Juice

Last year’s season started out very strong but ended in disappointment.  A 5-0 start was derailed when Colin Demagistris hurt his ankle, and a blowout loss to the eventual champs left this team hungry.  They added Zach (Kevin Durant) McGuire in the off-season while keeping their entire core together.  McGuire will join fellow All-League First Team Connor Gilbert as well as Jack Sasso in the back court.  Front court will again be anchored by Trevor Riley.

Honey Dew

This is a team that recovered well after a rough start season and narrowly bowed out in overtime to the eventual champs.  The team loses Zach McGuire, Mike Crovo and Mike Casparriello while Matt Connolly will miss half of the season.  Their most notable off-season addition is Ryan Smith, while Quinn Healy returns and Dylan Bagley and Anthony Gill will also star for the team.  While they come in with low expectations, this team has historically improved as the season progresses.

Fuddruckers

This will debut with lots of question marks about the team overall.  Mike Casparriello pouched away Mike Crovo and recruited a lot of Crovo’s friends who are unknown to many in the league.  Other familiar faces include Pete Healey and Chris Burton, who will face off against his younger brother Alex on July 5.  We will find out a lot about this team in the first few weeks of the season but at this point we don’t know much.

JP Morgan & Company

This may be the youngest team in the league but they are likely one of the most talented teams in the league.  Justin Connolly is out for the near future with a leg injury, but three varsity players in Avery Davis, Sean Donovan, and Devondre Williams will still lead this team in a big way.  That talent with the size of Andrew Bounopane and sharp-shooting from Jack Brennan and Nick Carrillo makes this a dangerous team.  Don’t be surprised to see them at the top of the standings.

Perella Jewelers

A new team fully stocked with Wakefield players.  The Yasi twins are expected to make an immediate impact in the league while MJ Urbano is said to have been the teams best player.  They will be the only team to not play the first week of the season, citing academic reasons being more important than winning basketball games, which means they might not be in it to win it.

Tune Squad

This is a team that ran through MBA and racked up multiple championships in their high school days.  The team is stocked with former high school players led by four-year varsity player Julian Nyland.  A good mix of size (Cam Hickey, Vien Pham) and shooters (Drew Botto, Alex Burton) will make this team dangerous and almost a guaranteed playoff team.  They will bring one of the most athletic rosters in the league, but regardless it will the play of Nyland that separates this team from being elite.

You Can’t Guard Me

These guys will wear pink shirts and expect to win every game by 30 points.  The scary thing is that they might be correct.  Aaron Welch and Sam-Jean Gilles starred on some scary good Melrose High teams while Ryan Sherlock was a captain as a senior.  By far the most veteran team, while one of the league’s best defenders might be there youngest player in Charles Bonasoro.  They are the early favorite to win the championship for odds makers with an experienced team and lots of familiarity with the Horacemann

The Mailmen

Another early favorite to take the title, filled with “varsity studs” from the former Wakefield High teams that also included Bruce Brown.  Tighe Beck and Andrew Taliaferro are seen as early favorites to potentially win Rookie of the Year or even the MVP awards at season’s end.  The massive match-up in Week 1 against You Can’t Guard Me will tell us a lot about this team and whether or not the hype is real surrounding them.

Demons

One of the youngest and smallest rosters in the league will attempt to navigate their way.  They will begin the season with Quentin Harris out due to injury, but their best players T’Mahri Mercer and Cam Zahner will be with the team from the start of the season.  They will have to get through the beginning of the season with graduation activities but in June they will have the whole squad together.

The season begins this Monday.  Games are at 6:00 and 7:00 at the Horacemann, located at 40 Damon Avenue in Melrose, be sure to get there a few minutes early to each game.  Our league night at Dockside is Thursday night from 5:00-8:00.  We will be in the back room, you pay $10 to eat pizza and wings.  Hope to see everyone there, contact me with any questions.