News Report

JUSTIN MARVILLE

News Report

PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS

04/07/10

Justin Marville predictions for the 2010 BABA season. Articles extracted from the Nation News during he month of March 2010

TEAM: Nicholls Baking Company Cougars

Head coach: Eugene Hutson

Last year?s position: twelfth (last)

Average points per game: 66.9 (eleventh)

Average points against: 78.2 (last)

Key additions: Ricardo ?Howard? Jemmott, Godfrey Leacock

Key losses: none

COUGARS? PRODIGAL SON has returned to Hothersal.

And Ricardo Jemmott?s homecoming means last year?s cellar dwellers could look forward to an instant improvement on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor, where they ranked a dreaded second last and last respectively a season ago.

After averaging a double-double in his rookie Premier League campaign, the rangy 6?9? forward should pair with Shawn Gaskin to provide Cougars with a very solid frontcourt, allowing some freedom for Antonio Yearwood, Ricardo ?Fly? Bartlett and Mark Gittens to operate on the outside.

But a lot of their success along the perimeter might very well depend on how quickly rookie swingman Godfrey Leacock ? a prolific Third Division scorer ? adapts to both the speed and defensive intensity of top flight basketball.

That, and the willingness of Antonio Yearwood to become more of a distributor than the ineffective, shoot-first point guard he proved to be all 2009.

Seasoned coach Eugene Hutson?s return to the bench will also bring some much needed veteran leadership to a side that was sorely lacking in proper instruction during last season?s 3-13 debacle.

Prediction: tenth

Even though Jemmott?s ability to score from the high post gives them another legitimate option down-low, Coguars still don?t have enough quality perimeter players to score with the good teams.

They won?t be coming last this time around but without a solid bench they won?t be coming much higher either, considering this almost the same team they competed in Intermediate with.

TEAM: Act II Popcorn Clapham Bulls

Head coach: Barry Rock

Last year?s position: losing semi-finalists

Average points per game: 76.1 (second)

Average points against: 66.6 (first)

Key additions: Alvin Padmore, Stefan Yarde

Key losses: Kurtis ?Gypsy? Elias, Ryan Leacock, Neil Leacock

BASKETBALL?S BEST DEFENSIVE unit propped up by the sport?s most destructive offensive force.

It?s the juxtaposition that defines Clapham?s odd but recent blueprint to success as prolific combo guard Jeremy Gill yet again heads the Bulls? charge towards another hopeful run at the postseason.

Leading the league in scoring once more last season, the uber-talented Gill proved to be the backbone of Clapham?s offence as both a deadly scorer (23.9 points per game) and an equally gifted playmaker on a squad that had few weapons to speak of.

And that won?t change much this season until athletic swingman Halley Franklyn finally becomes the consistent scorer that the Bulls? brain trust first envisioned a decade ago, or unless Stefan Yarde turns out to be Gill?s much needed second-banana.

If not, Franklyn will have his work cut out for him this season in trying to up last year?s underachieving scoring average (12.3 ppg) to fill the huge void left by veteran shooting guard Ryan Leacock.

Clapham will also miss the hard-nosed play (read: dirty) of Kurtis Elias in the paint, but the return of 6?7? forward Alvin Padmore should more than make up for his absence at the other end as the Bulls look for more production out of their frontcourt.

Prediction: losing semi-finalists

To project this team as a postseason contender is a huge leap of faith in a Bulls squad that has proved anaemic in any half court set that doesn?t involve Gill.

But nothing creates havoc, or turnovers, quite like Clapham?s defence, which more than often leads to numerous points in the open floor for the league?s fastest unit.

TEAM: Roll-A-Way Storm & Security Shutters St John?s Sonics

Head coach: Terry Inniss

Last year?s position: fifth

Average points per game: 73.7 (sixth)

Average points against: 73.3 (seventh)

Key additions: Shane Whittaker

Key losses: Kenrick Haynes, Javon Lashley

THIS WAS SUPPOSED to be the season they were assembling the final pieces of a Premier League championship team.

But the Sonics are just rebuilding altogether ? without any new building blocks to work with.

Last year?s anticipated finals run never materialised, far less a third successive trip to the postseason, as injuries (Jefferson Trotman, Akeem Marsh), new adjustments (Marsh, Stefan Clarke, Kenrick Haynes) and absences (Bernard Howell, Philip Harewood) derailed the progress of a promising two-year playoff stretch.

By now St John?s should have grown accustomed playing with a true post option in the finesse Akeem Marsh, who has proved himself as a legit franchise-type player after a great all-round season that saw him finish the league eighth in scoring (17.3) while coming fourth in both rebounds (12.3) and steals (3.2).

And their failed experiments (Terrance Roach, Haynes) at point guard ought to put more emphasis on star combo guard as the primary ball handler and playmaker, making Marsh the primary scoring option.

But a lot of Sonics? success will also depend on Stefan Clarke?s growth as a complete scorer and a reliable third option to ease Trotman and Marsh?s load considering the dearth of scorers on the bench.

Prediction: fifth

A return to the post-season is realistic once everyone remains healthy and they don?t have to endure too many missed games due to classes (Marsh, Clarke) or working hours (Trotman, Philip Harewood).

But the lack of size on their frontcourt and bench is a serious concern, especially on the defensive glass and marking the paint against the physically superior Cavs, Warriors, Pinelands and Cougars.

TEAM: Sagicor Tridents

Head coach: Cosmo Edwards

Last year?s position: ninth

Average points per game: 67.5 (ninth)

Average points against: 71.9 (sixth)

Key additions: Aamir Morris, Justin Maloney, Dario Cumberbatch

Key losses: Keefe Birkett, Stefan Yarde, Kregg Jones, Raphael Sealy

THE ONE CONSTANT for this side is change.

This rebuilding process won?t be as bad as last season when the schoolboys had to replace six key players from a playoff side, but to lose leading scorer Keefe Birkett (20.4 ppg) from a team that didn?t average 70 points per contest will hurt all the same.

A much improved shooter, athletic swingman Daniel Lovell is expected to pick up most of the slack in Birkett?s departure while Manuel Alleng?s continued development as a consistent and reliable scorer will go a long way in transforming Tridents? offensive fortunes.

Nicholai Williams shoulders the burden of being this team?s number one option in the paint for a very thin and inexperienced frontcourt, which needs Premier League rookie Aamir Morris to adapt extremely quickly if the schoolboys are to compete down in the trenches.

However, the schoolboys will go only as far as floor general Akeem ?Supa? Williams can take them, considering their absence of genuine playmakers and the lack of a seasoned ball handler behind the second-year point guard.

Prediction: ninth

Defence will have to be this team?s calling card as it finds ways to improve on a squad that struggled to score consistently last season. But their inexperienced bench and thin frontcourt prevents Tridents from being a serious contender this season.

TEAM: Pinelands

Head coach: Renaldo Maughn

Last year?s position: losing league finalists

Average points per game: 74.2 (fifth)

Average points against: 70.5 (fifth)

Key additions: Decarlo Skeete, Andrew Edwards

Key losses: Gary Miller, Francois Badenock, Ryan Maynard

THEY WERE JUST one step away from a Premier League championship.

Now Pinelands could be taking one step back after a pretty dismal off-season that has seen them lose three vital veterans. And question marks are still surrounding the absence a fourth.

The return of star guard Kirk Patrick has been rumoured from anywhere to the end of March to beginning to May and that could be the difference between an encouraging 4-2 start to the season and a 2-4 speed wobble.

Patrick?s absence, combined with the loss of sturdy combo guard Francois Badenock, currently leaves starting point guard Steve Sealy as the lone, competent ball handler with uncertainties in his backups Dayo Barker and Dave Pooler.

It should take the early part of the season for Decarlo Skeete to reacclimatise himself as a viable option on the wings with Ramon Simmons, but considering Ryan Maynard?s woeful 2009 then he will prove an instant upgrade over the retired veteran.

But it?s the play of Charles Vanderpool which is going to come under the most scrutiny as the 6?7? power forward continues his development as a consistent scorer in the same vein that Gary Miller was before his suspension.

Prediction: losing semi-finalists.

This forecast is based on the timely return of Patrick because of what he means to this team and Pinelands? lack of a true playmaker without him.

Ordinarily, the loss of a double-double machine (Miller) would usually raise red flags but the Pine proved they could do without him for the second half of last year, closing out the regular season with a 4-2 mark before making a stunning finals run. This year should be no different as Vanderpool continues his rise into the elite status of forwards.

TEAM: Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers

Head coach: Adrian Craigwell

Last year?s position: league & KO champions

Average points per game: 78.2 (first)

Average points against: 68.2 (third)

Key additions: Darren Hunte, Corey Howard

Key losses: none

WHAT DO THEY do for an encore?

After winning everything imaginable during last year?s storybook season, culminating with their third league title in six years, there isn?t much left for basketball?s most talented outfit to do.

Except, of course, to win it all again.

And that shouldn?t be too much of a stretch for a double-crowned champ that has kept the entire title-winning squad intact, including the imposing frontcourt tandem of Andrew Alleyne and Kelvin Patterson.

Those two veterans probably won?t be needed to feature prominently during the regular season, similar to last season?s championship run where the Cavs? top ranked offence had four players average double digits with none scoring more than 14 points per game.

However, Alleyne and Patterson might possibly be taking even more reduced roles, which could also mean appearing in less regular season games, leaving a lot of the frontcourt responsibilities with Junior Moore, Andre Jean-Pierre and Jamai Puckerin.

Their diminished tasks also increases the role of point guard Corey Williams as a scorer and playmaker as Station Hill ups the tempo bit more while incorporating young swingmen Corey Howard and rookie Darren Hunte.

Prediction: champions

It?s a bit difficult to bet against a defending champion that has kept the nucleus of a championship-winning squad intact and has now added two bon a fide perimeter threats.

Their only concern is motivation to repeat as champions as their sole inspiration last season was to dethrone the rival Lakers, who probably won?t even make the playoffs this season.

However, a possible postseason matchup with long-time adversaries Clapham should get them riled up to the task of winning again.

TEAM: Patriots

Head coach: Roger Walker

Last year?s position: eleventh

Average points per game (ppg): 65.6 (last)

Average points against: 73.6 (eighth)

Key additions: Justin Gaskin, Julian Walcott, Dyson Gill, Seon Hilliman

Key losses: Rawle Conway (injury), George Haynes (possible), George Farrell

JUSTIN GASKIN will finally get another chance to prove that he?s a starting point guard in this league.

But when the acquisition of a career reserve is the highlight of a team?s offseason, which included the addition of a couple Premier League rookies, then it?s obvious that team is willing to flirt with demotion.

Gaskin does represent an improvement over last year?s duo of Jeremy Hoyte and Everton Branch as a more than capable ball handler who has good court vision.

But he isn?t at his best forcing the issue in transition and that doesn?t help the standing of a Patriots squad that should be upping the tempo offensively after ranking dead last in scoring a season ago.

And the expected absence of George Haynes, the team?s leading scorer (18.6) and rebounder (12.6), for the first 11 of Patriots 16 regular season games due to a scheduled late arrival from overseas won?t help matters any.

Especially considering that their primary perimeter option, Rawle Conway (13.7 ppg), could be on the shelf for just as long after the unheralded shooting guard broke his shooting hand in the offseason.

That leaves much of the scoring load on the shoulders of undersized power forward Anthony ?Bill? White as head coach Roger Walker tries to incorporate at least six new faces into the line-up.

Prediction: eleventh

With no real offensive threats to speak of for at least the season?s first month, Patriots have to find ways to create turnovers and extra possessions.

But with a frontcourt featuring undersized forwards, White, Dyson Gill and Damien Gaskin, they probably will struggle defensively as well.

TEAM: Warriors

Head coach: Frederick Bynoe

Last year?s position: eighth

Average points per game: 67.5 (tenth)

Average points against: 68.9 (fourth)

Key additions: Corey McDonald, Oran Skeete, Terrance Roach, David Smith, Damian Simpson

Key losses: Shawn Grovesnor, Matthew Harding

THE OLD BOYS are back.

And a subsequent return to prominence is the intended outcome for a past champion whose recent fortunes have left it without a postseason appearance in four years.

But just the presence of the multitalented Corey McDonald alone should end the Dayrells Road playoff drought, as his ability to score from anywhere on the court instantly improves a Warriors offence that ranked near the bottom of the table last season.

McDonald?s return also takes a lot of pressure off Kareem Farrell as a perimeter scorer, but more so off sophomore point guard Tremaine Shaw, who can now focus solely on being the team?s floor general instead of worrying about being a primary option as well.

The frontcourt gets an immediate upgrade as well with veteran forward Oran Skeete?s leadership, toughness and reliable midrange jumper, giving the Warriors an extremely deep forward rotation of Kevin John, Trevor Simmons, Anthony Bynoe and Jermaine Reynolds.

And that can only spell trouble for opposing offences that rely heavily on scoring in the paint as this group?s length, hustle and physical play are unmatched by any in the league.

Prediction: losing finalists

Outside of age and inconsistent perimeter shooting, this Warriors squad has no visible weaknesses and is basically a mirror image of the 2003 championship-winning team.

Motivation definitely won?t be a factor for a veteran side that hasn?t won a major trophy in seven years, but a possible tirade from the temperamental Terrance Roach could be, and that?s worth watching in a team where he isn?t guaranteed minutes.

TEAM: Lumber Company Lakers

Head coach: Francis Williams

Last year?s position: losing semi-finalists

Average points per game (ppg): 75.8 (third)

Average points against: 68 (second)

Key additions: Keefe Birkett, Omari Corbin (possible), Kregg Jones (possible)

Key losses: Ricardo ?Howard? Jemmott, Adrian Stewart, Zahir Motara, Justin Gaskin

OH HOW THE MIGHTY have fallen.

It might be fool?s gold to discredit a two-time league champ who only just surrendered the title last season, but it might be even more foolhardy to believe that the Husbands side can motor along considering the talent that left through the front door.

It?s true that the Lakers have never depended on one or two players dominating the ball, but in Ricardo Jemmott (14.8 ppg), Zahir Motara (11.6) and Adrian Stewart (11) they?ve just lost three of their top four scorers from last year. And those numbers represented off-years for the latter two.

The addition of prolific shooting guard Keefe Birkett (20.4 ppg) should be a direct swap for Motara while veteran forwards Andre Boadu, Matthew Moore and Omari Corbin will have to makeup Jemmott?s scoring, rebounding (10.8) and shot-blocking (3.7) until the youthful Kregg Jones returns from overseas.

But just as crippling as those high-profiled departures is Justin Gaskin?s exodus, which leaves the former champs without a veteran ball handler to backup the ageing Derek Browne at point guard.

Unless, of course, national floor general Andre Lockhart has a sudden change of heart over playing an entire Premier League season outdoors on the YMCA?s hardcourt.

Prediction: sixth

All Lakers? playoff hopes hinge on Lockhart?s decision, plus the timely arrival of key young players Kregg Jones and Ian Alexander.

While this squad will always be able to defend with the best of them, as it stands without the overseas-based players Lakers lack serious firepower outside of Birkett and Adrian Allman and will be forced to get too much out of seniors who are past their best like Browne, Moore and Boadu.

TEAM: DC United

Head coach: Pearson Griffith

Last year?s position: seventh

Average points per game: 72.2 (seventh)

Average points against: 74.4 (tenth)

Key additions: Zahir Motara, Dexter Gill, Adrian Stewart (probable)

Key losses: Dale Clarke, Andre Pierre

CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS or prized pretenders?

The season?s first month could provide an early indication as the revamped DC United try out their new toys against the league?s most brutal three-game opening stretch (Sonics, Cavs, Bulls).

No team faced as much hype entering this year after word quickly got out about the prized acquisitions of former Lakers Adrian Stewart, Zahir Motara and Dexter Gill to add to a line-up that already includes Sydney ?Bouncer? Rowe and Selwyn Brooks.

But now they face more question marks than passing marks after Stewart has since failed to commit to playing for the Deacons based squad, leaving DC United with a severe guard-loaded roster for the time being.

At least they can take solace in owning the league?s best perimeter shooting tandem as Motara joins the underrated Brooks to give the squad more than enough ammunition on the wings to keep defences honest.

Opposing teams will now be forced to pick their poison by either giving up the long ball or risk single-covering the physically imposing Rowe, who still proves to be the league?s most dominant force at the age of 37 after averaging 17.6 points and 14.5 boards a year ago.

And now he has more cover behind him as Gill?s addition should sure up a frontcourt hampered too often by the continual absence of Tyrone Alexander.

Prediction: seventh

This roster is a cohesion disaster waiting to happen considering there are so many players on this squad who want to shoot the ball but aren?t willing to defend it.

And Stewart?s awaited arrival might only make things worse, as it will force DC United to play a lot of ?small ball? and leave the players who are willing to play defence (Gill, Richard Layne) on the bench for long stretches.

TEAM: British American Insurance Jackson

Head coach: Ianthum Alleyne

Last year?s position: sixth

Average points per game: 74.3 (fourth)

Average points against: 74.5 (eleventh)

Key additions: Kevin Austin, Neil Harewood

Key losses: Ricardo Boyce, Rommel Cutting

ONE OF BASKETBALL?S most explosive units just added even more firepower.

After a three year absence, rangy combo forward Kevin Austin is back plying his trade in the Premier League for a Jackson team that needs his services after losing two key frontcourt players in the offseason.

At his best in transition, Austin is a definite upgrade over Ricardo Boyce, and his unique ability to handle and finish in the open floor at 6?6? only makes talented playmaker Peter Alleyne so much more dangerous when Jackson get up and down the court.

But the side?s better off-season pickup might prove to be Neil Harewood, who gives Jackson a true scoring option in the low post and a viable threat in the paint should opposing defences decide to load up on Alleyne, Austin and shooting guard Javid Beckles out on the perimeter.

And his addition will only strengthen a backline which will have to rely too heavily on minutes from Julian Grant, Bernard Riley and possibly head coach Ianthum Alleyne.

Prediction: eighth

I?m not too sold on having this team in the bottom half of the table with the matchup problems they can present by having Austin, Alleyne and Beckles playing together on the perimeter.

But their issues have never been with scoring the basketball, it?s the other end of the court that presents the real issues, and neither acquisition addresses last season?s second last defensive ranking.

If Alleyne and company are more committed to playing defence then Jackson could make a serious run at the postseason, but that?s a big if considering the type of players on that roster.

TEAM: Colombian Emeralds International Senators

Head coach: Andrew Collymore

Last year's position: tenth

Key additions: George Farrell, Raphael Sealy

Key losses: Alwyn Lovell, Andre Holder (possible)

NO OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS. No franchise-type players. No hope at all. It's the daunting reality that will be the Rockley boys' 2010 Premier League season, unless of course, the intention of Senators' brain trust is to dominate Intermediate with this outfit next year.

In both the figurative sense of lacking quality stars or the literal meaning of playing undersized players (see: Daniel Clement, Anthony Forde, Corey Alleyne, Bertrum Maynard) at basically every position, Senators are simply short on talent.

But what will be long is their list of on-court issues, starting with the early Premier League retirement of swingman Alwyn Lovell and the possible absence of talented national forward Andre Holder, who might not return from college in time to compete this season. Lovell only appeared in just three games last season due to a left ankle sprain but his absence will be doubly by a squad that must again depend on most of their offence from two players on the wrong side of 40 in Brian Yarde and Nicholas King.

Prediction: twelfth (demotion)

In time their future will look bright when juniors Holder, Sealy, Nicholai Williams, Dadrian Browne and Andre Freeman grow together to become the nucleus of the team. But for now there simply aren?t enough talented players on this current roster for the team to compete.

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