MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Tony Hu, RL Cruisers
THE "VIC" MOST INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
Andre Liu, Tri-State InvAsian
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Danny Han, A Ball
FIRST TEAM ALL-DREAM LEAGUE
g Usama Nausrudeen, M&A 101
g Eddie Wang, Spartans
f Shawn De Los Reyes, New York Fury
f Tony Hu, RL Cruisers
c Brandon Chock, Gen X
SECOND TEAM ALL-DREAM LEAGUE
g Banglee Takenouchi, SuperSoul Sonics
g Danny Wang, Gen X
f Ian Clemente, Tri-State InvAsian*
f Christian Stevens, New York Fury
c Yoshi Kagitomi, Super Soul Sonics
THIRD TEAM ALL-DREAM LEAGUE
g Danny Han, A Ball
g Mark Lee, Spartans
f Gene Kim, X-Men
f Mo Ghumman, M&A 101
c George Chan, RL Cruisers
g Danny Han, A Ball
g Stan Yeung, RL Cruisers
f James Choi, Spartans
f Chris Youn, New York Fury
c Brandon Chock, Gen X
ROOKIE OF THE SEASON
James Park, A Ball
It’s a season long thing, but just to reiterate why Tony Hu is this season’s MVP, take a look at his 22 of 22 free throw performance in the Finals series. In each game against the Spartans, Hu hit 11 free throws in 11 tries – a key area in which the Cruisers were able to claim their second championship in three seasons. Hu started the season with a shoulder injury, but he quickly got back to his normal self to finish 3rd in the NL in scoring (17.4 ppg) and 6th in rebounds (8.3). Add in 4 double doubles and an 87% FT clip (2nd) with some defense to boot (1.8 spg), and you have Hu’s second MVP in his DL career. The guy is only getting better with each passing year. Scary.
We mean this in the best of ways: He is a plotter. A schemer. A master manipulator. He makes Sonny Vaccaro look like a sissy. A wheeler/dealer, this season's Vic Tai Cheng Most Inspirational Award goes to Andre Liu of the Tri-State InvAsian. Andre’s name is now synonymous with TSIV as he has personally spawned 14 and a half different teams under the organization’s umbrella that participate in leagues and tournaments far and wide. The thing that makes him the ultimate sportsman this season (and for all of eternity as far as we’re concerned), is that he keeps doing this all with heart and humanity. A far cry from the types of organizers who stop at nothing to get the best players to win games - and burns bridges whilst doing so - Liu leads TSIV like Richard Simmons does his aerobics classes: with infectious enthusiasm, kind words, and a big smile. He makes the trek from Princeton to NYC a few times a week for ball, he writes for the league, runs his own company, and raises a beagle named Mel. How does he do it????? Forget Mike (Jordan, not Owh), we wanna be like 'Dre.
It’s getting old, it really is. Danny Han wins the Defensive Player of the Season again. His tired act of stealing balls and changing the face of a game single-handedly can really wear a team down. This season, all of his defensive prowess didn’t lead to many wins for A Ball, but the fact that A Ball was even in most of these games was thanks in large part to their 1 in the 1-2-2 zone. He nabbed an obscene 4.9 spg to lead the NL and he undoubtedly led the division too in floorburns. To an opposing ball handler, Danny Han is not just a thorn in your side, he is a nail in your forehead.
With T-Hu on the 1st Team are: Usama Nausrudeen, Eddie Wang, Shawn De Los Reyes, and Brandon Chock. Electric U-Naus led the NL in scoring (19.4 ppg, teammate Wilson Wang doesn’t count due to too little games played) even as M&A 101 struggled through a disappointing season. Their fall from grace was not at all his fault as not only did he shoot a remarkable 47.8% from the floor, he also led the NL in 3’s (46%), and handed out 3.2 apg to prove he tried to get his teammates involved. If he weren’t so damn mysterious, we’d be making t-shirts of him…the Spartans’ Wang worked his way onto this team with a solid if not spectacular season. That’s just the way E-Dub is: Steady Eddie. He moves around at his own pace and just kills ya silently and slowly, much the way an old NBA Eddie used to do it – Eddie Johnson. 7th in the NL at 14.1 ppg, 2nd in 3’s (45.8%), 5th in FT (78.1%), we know one thing: Wang has a shot many NBA players would love to have…The Fury and SDR still haven’t totally jelled, but that’s probably got everything to do with the fact that the Fury’s roster changes faster than Liu Xiang on the hurdles. The former MVP did his part, as he always does, averaging 15.5 ppg (4th), 7.6 rpg (7th), 2.9 apg (9th), 50% FG, 32.1% 3-PT, 1.9 spg, 0.6 bpg. One man can only do so much (see KG in Minny), but knowing SDR, he wants to do more…Just as SDR is a perennial list-maker, so too is Gen X’s BC. Robot just keeps on motoring. 15.4 ppg (5th), 12.5 rpg (1st), 48% FG, 2.6 bpg (1st), and a league-leading 6 double doubles. Impressive. Did we mention that he’s from Hawaii (the best place on Earth), went to Stanford, and passes his days by being an attorney? Hello, single women! The DL’s dating lines are officially now open.
Holy pass, Banglee Takenouchi pulled a Stan Yeung this season, didn’t he? Bang averaged a career high 5.6 dimes a game for SSS as he passed the regular leader Yeung on the leader board in the NL. It helps to have Y2K finishing your passes, but Bang put ‘em there always at the right spot, the right time. He also did his share of scoring too with 10.6 ppg on 43.9% FG and 32.4% 3-PT. The fact that he did this all with a sense of flair made it so much the better. The NBA may never reward Jason Williams for his fanciness, but, man do we love it!…About as diametrically opposite from Bang’s game, we give Danny Wang the nod at the other guard spot. D-Dub is the prototype point man who can shoot (13.1 ppg), pass (4.0 apg), and defend (1.9 spg) with the most fundamental of skills. He’s no vanilla though, Dub is fearless with his drives and has a competitive drive that rivals that of Tiger Woods’. If we’re going to war, he’s in our bunker…’Tis a pity. We could be talking about TSIV’s Ian Clemente as MVP right now if he had stuck around. Alas, an injury and school came calling and IC left behind his ‘mates and in turn his ‘mates left behind their caviar dreams and champagne wishes. IC played only 6 games and showed us what he and his incredibly athletic self are capable of, but it was a gut-wrenching decision as to whether he could even be voted onto an all-league team. He’s certainly worthy of 1st (16.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 35.9% 3-PT, 2.8 spg), but he didn’t even stick around for playoffs! Resolution: put him on the 2nd team, stick an asterisk next to his name, and call it a day…We always knew that the Fury’s Christian Stevens was a good player. Last season, he didn’t get to show it as he played in one game before injury and then missed the rest of the campaign. This season, he proved his worth by amassing 13.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, and 1.0 bpg. Imagine what he could become if he played more with his back to the basket and got to the line more (only 16 FTA on the season). We shudder at the thought…Yoshi Kagitomi is truly the ageless wonder (more on Wilson Wang in due time). The guy who brings his son to games (you’ve seen Y3K on the sidelines in NBA attire) averaged 14.2 ppg (6th), 9.6 rpg (4th), shot 49.2%, and garnered 4 double doubles for the Super Soul Sonics. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon either. Who knew the 90 minutes of calisthenics he does before a game would be good for something? Now, you just might see more people doing it.
Han heads the 3rd team simply based on his heady defensive ways. How can he not be on this team? It’s not like he didn’t do things on offense either. His 3.3 apg were good for 6th in the NL…the Spartans have an adjustable line-up in which just about everyone can sub for everyone else. 85% of their players are of the same build and height and can do similar things. The one player this season who could sub for any guy on the floor and do whatever needed to be done (scoring, rebounds, defense) was Mark Lee. Lee finished with 9.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, and 0.9 spg – and while these stats don’t blow you away – remember that he did this all off the bench…In an otherwise miserable season, Gene Kim was the lone bright spot for the X-Men. He led them with 12.2 ppg, 45.7% FG, 7.6 rpg (8th), and 2.3 spg. He was a firebrand on a team that needed it. The main reason why the X-Men were in some games…When he came, he was game. Sleepless resident Mo Ghumman helped 101 stay together by anchoring the post to the tune of 12.0 ppg and 7.3 rpg (10th). We saw him working out more at Crunch than he was on the hardwood. ‘Sup with that?…In any other universe but our’s, George Chan would be a 1st teamer. But such is the life when a Hawaiian lawyer and a former semi-pro player in Japan play the same center position as you around here. Geo don’t care, however. His 13.1 ppg, 45.2% FG, 7.4 rpg, and 3 double doubles helped the Cruisers capture another chip, so take that to your universe and stick it, you other centers!
Filling out the defensive team with Han are: Stan Yeung of the RL Cruisers, James Choi of the Renegades, Chris Youn of the NY Fury, and Chock.
The Cruisers don’t really work without Stan. Ever since Yeung joined the franchise, they’ve become more uptempo and the chips have started falling into place. His defense is what starts the offense as he often picks clean (3.0 spg) his man and then gets T&G set up in the right spots right away…JC (the 1st) is to the Spartans what Stan is to the Cruisers. A fiery player, he often looks like he’s about to burst from passion when he’s on the court. He loves to play man to man (1.5 spg) because he prides himself on stopping his guy, taking the ball, and starting a Renegade break that even Nolan Richardson (he’s coaching the Mexico national team now?) would love…Youn may be the preeminent defender at his position in the league. With that wide body, a desire to dominate, and a mouth that won’t stop, CY has the make-up that of a D-Rod, who is just too legit to quit. Wide body: can’t go around him, desire: wants it more than you, mouth: gets into opponent’s head and tells his mates what’s going on…Chock again is a lock at this spot. Look at the rebounds, look at the blocks. Look at the way he affected players’ position in the paint and tell us this Hawaiian Stanfordite attorney doesn’t belong.
Rookie of the Season
This was the hardest pick to make. We wanted to give it to a slew of different guys who showed the promise, but none of them played enough games to give it a serious run. Wilson Wang of M&A 101 came in towards the end of the season too late (led the NL in scoring at 20.0 ppg), Ian Clemente, obviously, but he disappeared. Finally, we settled on the Big Nasty - James Park of A Ball, who missed a handful of games himself. It’s not like we’re disappointed we had to pick him. Having a fella this big and bulky (and affable) on your squad who averaged 9.7 ppg and 10.0 rpg (2nd) would be a luxury. We just want to see him get meaner.