|Schedule for Phoenix 2/14, 2/15 set!
THU 2/12 (11:30AM) -- Great news: WE WILL HAVE MOST GAMES AT A BETTER GYM!!! Check the schedule below. Gyms marked SRCM mean we are in ASU's Student Rec Center (SRC) in the Maroon Gym. Gyms marked PE-E means we are across the intramural field from the SRC at the older PE East facility. Here's a map and select "SRC" as your building on this webpage...
The ASU and USC men's basketball teams are practicing in the Maroon Gym at certain times, so that's why we will need to make the 2-minute walk over to PE East on Saturday. We have Maroon all day for us on Sunday.
On Saturday, if you arrive early, just ask around for where you can shoot around. Adhere to whatever instructions any ASU facility director gives you. Again, the dreamleague rule is, due to gym time and our NBA format, we only allow 2-minute warmups. You may shoot around during timeouts of a previous game.
TUE 2/10 (11:30PM) -- Please see the schedule for this weekend below. Scroll down past that for explanations. And I would like to thank Larry Dong for all his efforts in securing our facility. Truly a pleasure to work with and we hardly know each other. If you see an elder Chinese gentleman nearby me at the scorekeeper's table, shake this man's hand. He really went out of his way to help us!
|Sat 2/14||10:30am||SRCM||Robin||Arizona Desert Jade at Oklahoma Bombers|
|Sat 2/14||11:30am||SRCM||Robin||Minneapolis Lakers at The Yay|
|Sat 2/14||12:30pm||PE-E||Robin||Oklahoma Bombers at Stockton Ballers||(>12p)|
|Sat 2/14||1:30pm||PE-E||Robin||Arizona Desert Jade at Minneapolis Lakers|
|Sat 2/14||2:30pm||PE-E||Robin||The Yay at Stockton Ballers||(>12p)|
|Sat 2/14||3:30pm||SRCM||Robin||Minneapolis Lakers at Oklahoma Bombers|
|Sat 2/14||4:30pm||PE-E||Robin||The Yay at Arizona Desert Jade|
|Sun 2/15||10:30am||SRCM||Robin||Stockton Ballers at Minneapolis Lakers|
|Sun 2/15||11:30am||SRCM||Robin||Oklahoma Bombers at The Yay|
|Sun 2/15||12:30pm||SRCM||Robin||Stockton Ballers at Arizona Desert Jade|
|Sun 2/15||1:30pm||SRCM||3-POINT SHOOTOUT|
|Sun 2/15||2:00pm||SRCM||Champ||CHAMPIONSHIP: #2 at #1|
Who's playing this weekend
- SRCM = Student Rec Center Maroon Gym
- PE-E = ASU PE East gym (exact directions to be determined and texted to all 5 captains within 24-48 hours)
UPDATE 2/12 (11:30AM): Yee of AZDJ says that Minneapolis and Washington CYC are actually combining teams, not AZDJ with WCYC. AZDJ has Clarke and Woodward (no Chang), but also Niko Nunogawa and Minh Van (no Brooks). However, Yee says that Nunogawa (6'6" I think) is equal if not better than Brooks!
So here are the teams participating this weekend, in alphabetical order. I've also written a little bit about each team, as much as I know. You may also scroll down past this list to read how I created the schedule above...
Format and scheduling: Olympic style round-robin (yea!)
- Arizona Desert Jade -- I'm not sure who captain and Phoenix native Edward Yee has coming this weekend, but my guess is some of the guys who are based out of Washington DC on the storied Chinese Nationals franchise, Washington CYC, as I heard that Chinese National tourney coordinator Michael Mon is on his way out to Phoenix. The centerpiece of the Desert Jade franchise is 6'3" do-it-all Jamal "Fruity" Brooks. Then a bevy of athletic, capable, and "clone war" (as in it's like they just put these guys in a petri dish and voila) 2-guard shooters such as Dave Clarke, Bennet Woodward, and Steve Chang. Let's not forget the Lee brothers who handle the rock and are a lot deadlier than they appear. But quite honestly I haven't had the time to follow up with Yee as to who will be present this weekend.
- Minneapolis Lakers -- New Phoenix import Hank Huang, who I've always said is the Karl Malone of Asian rec ball due to his physical presence inside yet uncanny ability to shoot the rock, brings back his old Minneapolis boy wonder Huy Nguyen, who is kinda like Monta Ellis in that he keeps on ticking without missing a beat. I dunno, maybe with his midrange jumper, Nguyen is more like a full-court up-and-down version of Richard Hamilton. In any case, they bring some of Nguyen's Bay Area compadres like undersized center Andrew Lee and maybe even the versatile combo guard Dennis Garcia.
- Oklahoma Bombers -- Quite honestly, other than the fact that captain Daven Vo happens to be Phoenix area's Grand Canyon University's head coach (Division II), I have absolutely no clue what this team will be like.
- Stockton Ballers -- Outside of the Oklahoma Bombers in which I have no information, I'd have to say this team is the probable favorite coming in, just because of their legacy from Filipino rec ball. They have a very well-rounded group of five, but I hesitate to say that it's a starting five because I'm not sure who the point guard will be. In any case, Bobby Hernandez is one of the deadliest outside shooters in Filipino ball, big 2-guard Lee Bethea is kinda like Desert Jade's Brooks in that he's tall and athletic and can score from anywhere, JoJo Pierce is the Charles Barkley of Asian ball, Sunny Margate at power forward has an extremely versatile post-up game that is very difficult to defend, and TJ Hawkins, a look-alike of James Edwards, at the 5 is an inside force who's got magnet hands with that ball and quite plain and simple finishes plays.
- The Yay -- The Yay tends to live and die by the three, but they also tend to live more than they die by it. Nearly everyone can shoot and the bigger they are, the quicker the release! Case in point: Jerry Sims at the 5, and next biggest Erick Velez at the 4 lead the team in three-point shooting. Then they've got Deandre Smith handling the ball at the point and up-and-comers like Jordan DeGuzman who can explode for points. This team has no fear, no conscience. Mike D'Antoni would be drooling to coach these guys.
You know what, I kinda like the fact that not every Tom and Jerry signed up for this tournament because (and I must remind you that I have no clue about the Oklahoma team) with 5 teams, we get to try our first-ever Olympic style round-robin. Now, it is not a TRUE Olympic style round-robin, otherwise this tourney would be played over 2 weeks and we'd have a 2nd round of round-robins followed by at least an Elite Eight or Final Four single-elimination bracket, but close enough! Basically, until this weekend I have not witnessed a tournament with a round-robin consisting of more than 4 teams.
Before I go on about our format, let me also say that double-elimination is just simply not an option. Even if we had enough gym time and logistical resources to do a double-elimination, I've done a double-elimination before and even with only five teams, it's just too grueling for one weekend. The fact that the survivor of the Losers Bracket has to beat the winner of the Winners Bracket TWICE IN A ROW is just insane in a quick weekend format. You go through all that struggle to upset the top team, then you gotta do it all over again? Crazy. I'm just not a fan of double-elimination in tournaments. If you've played in my leagues, you know that dreamleague ONLY does league playoffs in double-elimination format. I love double-elimination for LEAGUES that can stretch out week after week, but not 2-day tournaments, no way.
The other good thing about 5 teams is that I'll probably get all the stats up in a reasonable timeframe. Well, unless some guy who got a technical yells at me at the table and gets me all down about the tourney (yup, it's happened and nope, no stats followed!). And if you know me, you know that my saying stats are probable is quite profound. The bigger the tournament, the bigger the stack of paper, the more likely I'll be intimidated by that stack and skip it altogether. If you play in my 131-team Bay Area league and have ever tried to email me, you'll notice the same thing. That's just how I am. So my character flaw is your gain!
First off, while I would've liked to have had a Final Four, there's just not enough time in the day, either Saturday for the round robins or Sunday court time, to have that Final Four. This is because a Final Four would incur at least two AND A HALF extra hours: one hour each for each side of the Final Four bracket and another minimum half-hour of a break in between the last semifinal and the championship.
Sure, I could run two games simultaneously on, say, courts #1 and #3, but I really don't feel good about that scenario. Here's why. First, I can only be in one place at one time, so we'd have to get a couple new scorekeepers for that other game. Second, who knows what kind of condition the portable scoreboards at ASU are in. I've played plenty of intramurals at RSF, which resembles ASU's setup, and I can tell you that the scoreboard I'm bringing with me is most likely gonna be better than what they got. Third, we would require a separate ref crew that I could not supervise under my watch. And fourth, you might hear a whistle on the far court and think it's on your court. Again, there are no partitions at ASU's 3-court setup. So you see, we're truly better off with one court and one court only, scorekept and watched over by me. Maintaining that integrity allows us only one championship playoff.
Now, there's a small chance that there might be a main court that runs perpendicular to the 3 courts. If that's the case, then of course we would go with the main court! Again, I've reserved the entire facility so if I need the main court which wipes out the 3 side courts, which I've been told are all 94-feet regulation, then so be it. Close it off from the students!
And in retrospect, I would've gotten us a facility with only one court, but I couldn't take that chance in case we got more than 8 teams.
Again, it's just gonna be a round-robin that yields 4 games for each of the 5 teams, then a 1-game championship that pits the top 2 teams together. Again, there's no time to do anything more than a 1-game championship.
So you've got to treat your 4 round-robin games with care. Theoretically each one counts towards 25% of your road to the championship game. There's no bracket here to give you that sense of urgency from single-game eliminations, but each of these 4 games is oh-so important.
At the end of the round-robin, after 7 games of round-robin all day on Saturday, then 3 more in the morning on Sunday, we will take the top 2 teams based on standings. We will figure out tiebreakers just like how the NFL figures theirs out for wild-cards and playoffs. That means win-loss percentage, of course, is the most important. The next tiebreaker is head-to-head. The next tiebreaker after that is head-to-head against common opponents, which may yield the same result. After that, we just gotta go with overall point differential. After that, point differential against common opponents starting with the strongest common opponent. If after that we are still deadlocked, then I'm gonna go buy me a lottery ticket cuz there's no way that's happening (do they have lotto in Arizona?). Seriously though if we truly got that far, I'm afraid there'd be no choice but to resort to some kind of coin flip or shoot free throws. If it comes down to that, we'll come to a mutual agreement on the ultimate tiebreaker, but we simply do not have the time to play another full game. After all, we do wanna watch the NBA All-Star Game, right?
How the schedule was constructed and other gym logistics
So here's how the schedule came about...
So anyway, for better or for worse, that's how I chose to place the teams in their mathematical designations. So you can see, I didn't even care who played who to start out with. Whether or not that was a "good game" or a "potential blowout". Who cares? I got bigger fish to fry, like making sure Stockton plays later on (with the consequence that they're the one team to play 2 round-robin games on Sunday), and so on and so forth as explained above.
- Come up with a 5-game round-robin. This was easy. We do this all the time in our leagues back in the Bay, anytime we have 5 teams in one conference.
- Make sure there's no consecutive games where a team will play back-to-back. A quick shuffling of the 5-game round-robin template gave me a structure where no team plays back-to-back.
- So now I've got a 5-team round-robin schedule with no back-to-backs for any one team. On my template are team codes 1 thru 5. These are just mathematical codes that end up with each of the 5 teams having played 4 games, once against each of the other 4 teams. Once I see all these matchups of team codes, it's time to determine which real teams get plugged into which codes.
- I put Stockton as the team that doesn't play until 12:30pm Saturday, as they have guys arriving in the morning. As luck would have it, they would be the one team that needs to play 2 round-robin games on Saturday and 2 round-robin games on Sunday, due to that later game on Saturday. Since everybody else has told me they want 3 games on Saturday and 1 on Sunday followed by a possible Championship appearance, I've just found the team that gets stuck with 2 games Saturday then 2 or 3 games Sunday. I've killed two birds with one stone. That was easy.
- Next, the Oklahoma Bombers needed to get out earlier, so they had to be one of the teams playing at 3:30pm Sat. Again, easy pick there. The other team that plays the latest at 3:30pm also has the best schedule with only one hour in between each game -- more on this two bullet points down from here. Suffice it to say, I decided that team with the best schedule would NOT be Oklahoma (again, see below).
- Next, I saw that one team has the first, middle, and last game on Saturday (2 hours in between each game). I usually make such teams the home team, theoretically because they are more familiar with the area and can deal with the lag time in between games more-so than visiting teams. So I designated this team to be Arizona Desert Jade (even though they do have some guys coming in from out of town). At least they didn't have to play two games on Sunday, which I needed to guarantee to them because they helped us find the gym.
- Finally, it was a choice between the Minneapolis Lakers and The Yay to take the spot of the team that has the best schedule: 3 games on Saturday separated by an hour each in between. I gave this team spot to the Minneapolis Lakers since they paid earlier than The Yay. In fact, the Lakers were the 2nd team to pay the deposit (Stockton was 1st). Plus, a few years back in the SF Gold Rush tourney I ended up unintentionally screwing their team, so I feel good about giving the Lakers the best Saturday schedule out of the five.
The last thing I wanted to say has to do with the gym. First off, I do not even know the exact whereabouts of PE West gym on the ASU campus. I have to figure that out in the next 24-48 hours and report that to the 5 captains, so don't worry.
Second, the facility is a 3-court setup. It's kind of like Cal Berkeley's RSF gymnasium, if you've ever been there. There are no installed scoreboards or partitions between the courts. However, ASU only reserves by the entire facility, so we have the whole facility to ourselves. That means you can go shoot around on an adjacent court as it should be completely empty at that time. However, I honestly don't care if ASU decides to open another court up to their students because why waste a court when people wanna play?
Btw, I said there's no installed scoreboards, but I'll be bringing our trusty dreamleague portable scoreboard and our laptop shotclock as well. The NBA format that we are so proud of will live on! And I will personally scorekeep and supervise each and every game.
Speaking of which, the refs that we have ref the local Fil-Asian league. They are not familiar with our NBA rules, but I'll be there to guide them through. So if you have any questions about our format, have your captain ask me during a dead-ball situation. And expect some rough waters when we start out Saturday morning. By Sunday I hope the refs will have fully adapted.
Incidentally, I've scheduled a 30-minute break before the championship, just one of the teams is either (or both!) the Stockton Ballers and/or Arizona Desert Jade, the last round-robin game of the tournament. If either team feels like they need more than a 30-minute break, I'm happy to give them up to an hour.
I'd like to have a 3-Point Shootout, but if there's not enough interest, so be it. I'll bring an extra dreamleague t-shirt as a little prize for that. The championship prize is our standard team trophy plus 10 individual trophies, but I'm throwing in 10 championship t-shirts as well. Being somewhat low-budget, these are our only prizes. As a former hardcore Asian baller, my philosophy was always that I didn't want anything to remind me of a tournament that I sucked at or otherwise didn't win the championship. I know this may go against the grain. Sorry, but I'm just not in the "participation" camp. I live for championships. It's all or nothing in my book. So every dreamleague tourney will continue to be that way including this one. But don't worry, I'm pretty sure every other tournament organizer (except PacRim) does not share my philosophy, so I'm a weirdo in the minority and you do have plenty of opportunities to play in other tournaments that have their own way of doing things.
Because the facility is not exactly an ideal situation for a dreamleague tourney, where I'd rather have an entire dedicated one court in one facility (for example, in most Japanese tournaments), I decided to give you guys more games to make up for that shortcoming. I mean, I could've easily stuck with a 2-game or 3-game pool, but I purposely wanted to max out the time that we do have, including all the surrounding NBA All-Star festivities.
And I could've probably scrounged for a 6th team from the local Phoenix Fil-Asian league. Btw, I'm very disappointed they weren't able to come through with even one team. Honestly, I have no idea why nor do I have the time to probe and found out. I guess I'm just too old to worry about it or to kill myself trying to find a 6th team (you know, the first tournament I ever ran was six teams down in San Jose back in like 1997) and I'm too happy with the five teams that we do have.
Seriously, I'm really appreciative and excited with our family atmosphere of 5 teams. I hope you and your players all get the chance to introduce yourselves to the other teams and players.
So I think everyone getting a guaranteed 4 games is actually pretty cool. I hope you'll agree. If it doesn't turn out that way, well, live and learn. We'll know for next time. It's not like this is the last tournament I'll ever run nor the last one you'll ever play in.
All captains have my cellphone number, so if there's anything urgent, please text me. And if you got some cool stuff to do during Phoenix All-Star Weekend, lemme know. Cuz I've been to other all-star weekends and Jam Sessions and, well, I been there done that (Jam Session's mostly a kids event and an opportunity for the NBA to gouge local vendors for event booth space -- sorry to those of you working for the NBA who read this, but that's the God's honest truth from my eyes).
Now, the outdoor thingie they got right outside US Airways Arena where OJ Mayo, Kevin Durant, and I forgot who else will play H-O-R-S-E sounds like something to go check out, but like Jam Session, I won't be surprised if it turns out to be more style than substance. Or if the Gatorades are five bucks and the popcorn eight bucks.
Quite frankly, the allure of All-Star Weekend is the celeb glitz and glamour and which clubs or parties you're able to sneak into. And I have no doubt the local "talent" will be in full force at ALL clubs. I'm just hoping my NBA contacts can get me into some cool event, but if not, I'll lay low with my family friends who I haven't seen since my wedding. I've never been to Phoenix so I'm excited just to see a new place, as well as ASU which is supposed to be the biggest university in North America! And of course to see some good comp. See you soon and thanks for reading!