|Last Updated: 12/15 9:00PM PST (James Love)|
Ready to Move Up Rankings
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- The city by the bay is honored to host the inaugural "Gold Rush" tournament for some of the top Asian Elite/ All-Star teams ranked in the nation. If the various tournament successes of West Coast teams are any indication of the strength of "recreational" Asian basketball, then this weekend should be a display of extraordinary talent. Since no one in the tourney is ranked #1, everybody has a chance to move up based on their performances this weekend.
Pools and Brackets
The field of ten is divided into 3 pools: X, Y, and Z. Notice that Pool X and Y have 3 teams each while Z has 4 teams. Teams were placed in each pool according to (1) scheduling issues, (2) matchups that have not recently occurred as much, and (3) national ranking. Each team will play 2 games in pool play. The 2nd game for the teams in Pool Z will be determined by how each team fared in the 1st (a mini-bracket of 4 teams for pool play purposes only). At the end of pool play but still on Saturday, one team will be eliminated as the 9th and 10th seeded teams will fight to stay alive. The 9th and 10th seeds (and 1st thru 8th for that matter) will be determined by the standard Dream League and NFL-adopted tiebreaker rules: (a) win-loss percentage, (b) head-to-head matchups, (c) record against common opponents, (d) strength-of-victory which is defined as point differential in games won, (e) point differential in all games won or lost, and (f) coin flip. Please note that tiebreakers (a) thru (c) will likely not provide any solutions due to the pool play separations. However, any team that forfeits will automatically be ranked lowest.
We have called the single-elimination playoff bracket on Sunday "Raffy's Nine", as this bracket was conceived by our very own Raffy Consing of the Bay Area HEADS. Seeds #1 thru #3 will receive an automatic bye and enter in the 2nd round. The remaining 6 seeds (#4 thru #9) will face off against each other, with the highest seed facing the lowest seed whenever possible. Dream League wants to avoid teams from the same pool playing each other immediately in the playoffs, so we will skip down to the next available seed as necessary in the matchups. Thus, #4 might not necessarily face #9 (or #10) if they are from the same pool. It follows that #1, #2, and #3 will be pre-bracketed against teams from the other two pools. Then the remaining three teams after Round 2 will be re-seeded again, with the top-ranked team, according to the tiebreaker rules above, receiving automatic advancement to the championship game. "Raffy's Nine" ensures that a minimum of teams get eliminated after pool play and therefore a maximum number of teams still have a chance on the last day. For a better understanding of how the weekend will unfold, check out our Road to the Gold Rush segment.
There's good and bad for any gym ranging from "rinky-dink" (good: cheap, bad: smaller than regulation size) to "world class arena" (good: playing where the pros play, bad: need to be a millionaire to afford it). Dream League prides itself on finding venues somewhere between "affordable" and "regulation size". So here's the good and bad of our venues. Scroll down to the Schedule Grid and click on the gym name for directions.
OCHS -- Good: Newest public high-school gym in SF, best scoreboard including shotclock among other SF gyms in tourney, ample parking when rear gate is open (should be open during tourney), Mexican food places 1-2 blocks away. Bad: New glass backboards won't have been installed yet by tourney time, nearby street parking necessary when gate is closed, not-so-great neighborhoods 3-5 blocks away. When parking in the lot, please enter from Harrison St and park PERPENDICULAR to the gates!
PHRC -- Good: Best floor in town, shotclocks on top of backboards, grocery store 2 blocks away. Bad: Very bad neighborhood only one block away opposite of grocery store (don't park there!), street parking necessary, only one antiquated minimal scoreboard (only shows time, points and quarter).
SSRC -- Good: Safe neighborhood, excellent food 5 minutes away. Bad: An old facility, somewhat out of the way, neighborhood street parking required, antiquated minimal scoreboard, no built-in shotclocks.
Why use separate gyms? First off, we'd rather be using separate gyms instead of one complex that has multiple (smaller) gyms right next to each other. This is for basketball "purists", because in multiplexes you'll be in situations where you can hear a ref's whistle or a buzzer even though it is coming from the other court. So that's why we use separate gyms. We usually give at least 1 hour to get from Point A to Point B.
Will your team be shuffling between gyms on the same day? On Sunday only, if you start out at either PHRC or SSRC and win those games, then you will need to get back to OCHS.
Directions from SSRC to OCHS (Sunday only)
Directions from PHRC to OCHS (Sunday only)
Road to the Gold Rush
FRIDAY NIGHT -- The tourney actually kicks off Friday night with local teams Kurruption vs Wildcatz and the Dream League All-Stars vs Setai Cossa. First off, Kurruption accepted the invitation to move up to the Elite division. Kudos to them, as the Competitive division seemed like a distinct cut below their talent level. However, they get a baptism by fire in being paired up against NL repeat champions the Wildcatz in the first game of the tourney. At the same time, the young Dream League All-Stars surprisingly have never faced fellow elite team Setai Cossa in either the Sacramento or Las Vegas Japanese tournaments, and so this matchup of the up-and-comings versus the been-there-done-thats could also be viewed as a baptism by fire for either team. But with our tourney format, it might actually be better to face a tough team off the bat and, assuming survival in the top 9 is imminent, a chance to get revenge if they meet again deep in the Sunday brackets. The team that wins the baptism by fire is naturally one step closer to obtaining the coveted byes in the bracket.
SATURDAY -- One good thing about being an invited Elite team is that you'll get preferential treatment. So not only are we playing a majority of games in the best overall gym among those available, but we also get to start off Saturday at 11:30am. The Assassins IndoPak conglomerate squares off against the Bay Area HEADS. Yet another baptism by fire. If the HEADS can play anywhere near what they are capable of (as the national rankings show, they've struggled in recent tourneys primarily due to missing key players), then the Assassins-Shootout- HEADS pool could indeed be the toughest of the 3. Skipping down to the 2:30pm game, the Mpls Lakers get the latest possible time slots due to their lengthy travel from the frigid Midwest. Further down at 5:30pm, we have the winner of DLAS vs Setai against the winner of Runnin' Rebels vs Driven (fka Freestyle). The losers game follows at 6:30pm and was inserted as the later game with a comfortable 1-hour rest period just in case one of the losers happens to be #9 or #10, which plays at 8:30pm. So at 7:30pm, the commish will know which teams are to play at 8:30pm. By the way, a 6-Foot division game will be played at OCHS at 7:30pm. If you are 0-2 after your 2nd pool game, you better stick around town, go grab a bite to eat a few hours earlier or something. If you are 1-1, you might still mathematically be ranked #9 or #10 especially if your point differentials are low in the game won and/or high in the game lost, depending on whether or not the other pools have teams that are 2-0, 1-1, and 0-2 or all 1-1. Check with the scorekeeper's table for the latest. Likewise, the commish will not know the matchups for Sunday until the 8:30pm game is overwith. The winner of #9 vs #10 should stay at the gym while the commish tallies up the matchups for Sunday (in which intra-pool matchups should be avoided). The remaining 8 teams should check their cellphone voicemails or call the commish directly at around 10:30pm.
SUNDAY -- The bottom 6 teams will start play at 9:30am. Unfortunately, we had no choice because we originally promised that all games would be finished by 4pm, according to the tourney registration page. This was when we thought we had our regular slew of rec centers available, but when our gym resources were cut short, we forgot to update the 4pm figure. Let this be a fair warning wake-up call for the teams that will drive more than 30 minutes (Shootout, HEADS, Kurruption, Assassins, Runnin' Rebels, and Driven, although we are not saying they will finish in the bottom 6, of course) -- our forfeit rules will be in full effect and we advise captains to tell their teammates their game is at 9:00am so they won't be late. Yeah, this sucks, but it's the only way to get the Raffy's Nine bracket overwith in time and this is the sacrifice you make for playing against top-notch comp and not being in the top 3, too. Anyways, Round 1 of the brackets will occur simultaneously at the 3 gyms noted in the Venues section. Winners of Round 1 will then face either #1, #2, or #3 at 11:30am after a 1-hour break, with the winners of the 9:30am games staying at the same gyms. With only an hour break and the winner of 9:30am staying at the same gym for the 11:30am tipoff, this means we had to pre-determine the matchups for #1, #2, and #3 on Saturday night, since there would be not enough time to tally things up at 10:30am Sunday and make the appropriate phone calls with enough time for the top 3 seeds to drive to their venues. And that is one of the reasons why #4 might not necessarily play against #9, as we don't want to pair up teams that have already faced each other in pool play unless absolutely necessary. Whether you play at OCHS, PHRC, or SSRC will be determined by (1) scorekeeper staffing availability/logistics and (2) the higher seeds get the better gym. Please try to understand that we all should be happy that we have adequate gyms to play in, so if you do get placed out in the boonies at SSRC at 9:30am, let us apologize in advance and say that there is no use complaining, thank you very much. The winners of the 1:30pm games will be required to report to OCHS -- admittedly a long trek for the team coming from SSRC, so do not dilly dally at SSRC after your game and get across town immediately to OCHS! -- to see if they are playing at 3:30pm at OCHS, which matches up the 2nd- and 3rd-ranked teams out of the remaining 3. The top-ranked team automatically gets a bye and advances to the championship at 3:30pm. Please note that if your team performed poorly in the pools but managed to traverse the bracket back to the Final Three, chances are you have a relatively poor W-L record (W-L is the first tiebreaker) and therefore you'll probably be playing in Round 3 prior to the chmapionship (the championship is essentially Round 4).
Assassins: This is a squad made up of IndoPak (and Dream League) veterans Rob Dhat and Manish Nandani. Dhat played on the runner-up California Shockwaves team at Vegas this past summer. Nandani was the coach, since he was sidelined by an injury. The roster includes an IndoPak all-star player, SF Bobby Bains and Shockwaves starter 6'3" SF Ripp Singh. Singh has a nasty outside touch and would probably be a PF for most other teams. Nandani has listed himself as PG, so we can probably guess that this is a taller team that is perhaps not as quick and might attack treetop-to-treetop style, but that is merely speculation. Bay Area HEADS: Point guard Sean Cariola was named MVP of the most recent upper-division Dream League (although this hasn't posted yet). Without 6'4" PF Lawrence Soriano and the Barkley-like 6'0" Glenn Perseveranda, they have to rely on an older frontline of 6'2" Eric Heidler and 6'3" Kaju Bhullar, although Bhullar is not expected to be at the tourney. Finally, there's 6'3" SF Francis Machica and 5'11" defensive and non-ppg-stat-stuffing specialist Julian Ramos. They should be in any game as long as Cariola is effectively directing traffic. Machica can hurt the team if he's missing his outside shots. Bench has been thin of late. Roster hasn't been submitted yet, so we don't know how different than the league roster they are. Dream League All-Stars: Primarily a collection of the young stars of NL's Pac Coast RE and Game Time. SG Karl Gusner and 6'2" PF Mike Kraus lead the offense while SFs Ross Lim and Jameel Uddeen lead the defense. The athletic 6'2" PF Al Yee will anchor the other big man spot. Without C Brian Liang who departed for NYC earlier last month, this team could actually be a little more nimble than before, albeit not as tall with no one over 6'2". PF BJ Kang is the only other big man, though. PGs Jimmy Luu and the newly acquired Johnny Liu will handle the rock. PG Barry Lee is playing for the 6-Foot Prodigies and C Jonny Corrao will go back to his original team, the Runnin' Rebels (see below). Driven: Formerly known as "Freestyle", this team is led primarily by veteran F Sunny Margate. He'll be flanked by SGs Jeremy Delacruz and Carlo Lacsamana, which means instant fireworks from downtown. We don't have a roster yet, so we don't know who's on the frontline, but you can probably count on a run-n-gun offense that could go on sudden bursts or fall into deep ruts. Therefore, halfcourt offense should give way to early offense, but ironically Margate is deadlier in the halfcourt set. Kurruption: Started to gel towards the end of the AL-Elite season and forced a repeat championship game against the mighty Five Ten team, which consisted of Kraus (see DLAS), Huy Nguyen (see Mpls) and Andrew Lee (East Bay Cardinals, not playing in this tourney). This is definitely more of a halfcourt team led by 6'2" C Andre Lockett, who posted big frontline numbers in the past season and won MVP. Then there's Mr. Fantastic, 6'3" PF Mark Scates who seems to have a reach of 6'6". His incredible blocked shots totals got him the AL-Elite Top Defensive Player Award by a landslide. However, with these two steady as a rock, the difference may be the play of SF Rod Campbell, who must keep the defense on its heels and penetrate or stop-and-pop as necessary. SF BJ Marshall needs to hit a couple more from outside along with supporting guards Anthony Santos, Adam Aquino, and Alvin Chua. They are an East Coast-style team that is looking to find a consistent groove. They have the pieces in place. Minneapolis Lakers: Always have been a little thin upfront with 6'2" captain PF Hank Huang carrying the load off the boards, but who cares when you've got April 2005 Vegas 3-Point Champion James McRoberts gunning from downtown, Huy Nguyen slashing and pulling up, and rock handlers Dan Simmer, Ben Jahnke, and Cesar Castillejos. Now they've added Doug Christie look-alike SF Joe Carlini from the Chicago Dragons and Dream Leaguer SG Mike Oberhaus from the aforementioned NL Game Time team (also a former Dragon?) -- could this be the definition of run-n-gun? An intriguing matchup would be the Lakers vs Driven. Runnin' Rebels: They struggled in their first foray into the NL, but (like other seasons) they never really had a full squad from which to develop long-term chemistry. 6'4" PF Tom Patrinos is definitely the X-factor, with his Rasheed-like threes that can either make or break the team. 6'1" C Jonny Corrao is a mainstay down low, but often times he gets his numbers without assists from other people. This young team is somewhat erratic but has the utmost potential. All PG Ben Wang and SF Parkson Shih really need is more experience against top comp and this is the place to get it. They've added to their roster, but we don't know whom yet. Setai Cossa: When you've got three guys who have mastered the lost art of the midrange shot, there's only one word to describe it: efficiency. Even at average ages well over 30, Setai has managed to morph the team to be led by all-can-do Jeremy Lee, with former Jedi masters Michi Langfeldt and Conant Chi as wingmen. Now add 6'2" PF Ryan Dunn and 6'3" PF Dennis Yuen, and you have the most highly skilled starting five in the tourney. They lack width, but they might not need it if they've got two mini-KGs. The supporting cast knows its roles better than any other team, so these long-time Japanese League champions have no intention of riding into the sunset anytime soon. South Bay Shootout: Won Dream League's Summer Vegas tourney and faces even stiffer competition, at least in the early rounds, here. It is unknown whether or not the same roster is intact for the Gold Rush, but you have to assume they're bringing the goods. SG Jojo Pierce won the Vegas MVP, but it also could have very well been won by SG Ryan Mateo, who won Dream League's MVP but in a lower division. Big man Hawkins also played well in Vegas. Shootout didn't really have to go far into their bench beyond F Dennis Jiminez and the third guard Bobby Hernandez. Aside from captain and solid guard Seve Nocon, who teamed up with Mateo in a lower division Dream League championship one month ago, we'll see who's on their roster shortly. Wildcatz: After thoroughly dismantling Dream League's top division last season, with a 12-1 overall record including a convincing repeat championship win against frontline-void Setai, the non-oft-traveled Wildcatz are eagerly anticipating a step up in comp against the Elite Invitational field coming to its hometown. The team has gradually become SF 6'3" Mike Reding's team, whose height advantage from beyond the arc serves him well. But the Wildcatz also have solid, versatile, and unselfish big men such as 6'4" C Will Wagner and 6'2" PF Teraz Lee, who can both light it up or collect dimes on any given night. 6'0" guard Jeremy Brady has been hitting his stride the past few seasons and he uses his strong upper body to his advantage to get past defenders. Then there's PG James Chuong who's playing like Mike Bibby, hitting timely threes and dishing when appropriate. Captain SG Dave Hiroshima and his brother Ross now come off the bench in supporting roles, whereas in previous iterations they were the core of the team. 6'1" SF Gary Chern sneaks around the key and gets some amazing tip-ins. Even 6'3" juggernaut C Dae Hee Kim, who would be a Shaq in most rec leagues, finds limited playing time with this lineup.
Schedule Grid (scroll down as necessary)