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Draft Day Grades For The 2024 BBAL Season

Fun fact: Andy Williams' "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is actually not a Christmas song, but actually, it is a ballad honoring the Besecker Basketball American League.

Obviously I'm fibbing; however, a case could be made. Hearts do be glowing, parties are hosting, it's filled with children's cheers, and the season is during the most wonderful time of the year. Just a thought.

Anyways, back on track. On Sunday, March 24, the league redrafted for the 2024 season after yet another expansion. We have a lot of the same faces, but a whole lot of new guys that I have never seen ball once before in my life. By Round 4, I maybe knew two or three of the names per round. Maybe not a good look as the league "journalist," but honestly, I think it'll make for better content down the line. I expect to get roasted for over/under valuing some of these guys, but in the long run, I just hope this new wave of players makes my Sunday's even more enjoyable.

For the rest of the post, I am going to give my personal DRAFT grades for each of the ten teams. I don't know whether our fans just absorb hate more or just can't read, but the recent Instagram post of my grades ruffled some feathers. It is paramount that people understand that this is NOT a power rankings post, rather just how the draft selections went. I will provide my preseason power rankings sometime in the near future.

Until then, let's send some Prime Report Cards to the league captains.

8Balls, Ross Conway: B

Ross elected to keep no one from last year's 8Balls squad (finals appearance, btw) and went into the draft with an empty roster. He picked Jason Kuntzelman with the first overall pick, and to be honest, I am not familiar with his game. However, I am not questing Mr. Conway's ball knowledge, and since he had the whole pool to work with, I have to trust that Ross picked him for a reason.

His brother, Grant, was brought right back with the second pick and finished off the keeper draft with Michael Hester and Julian Collazo. In the regular draft, Ross added Cole Portz, Dwayne Caine, Dan Engle, Joe Stengel, Daniel Myers, Malkam Lawrence, and Talan Knaub. A couple of the same faces, a few new one, but a fairly balanced draft.

I am sure 8Balls are going to have another successful season (especially with the offseason drama fueling them... eye ball emoji coming soon...), but I am going to give them a B. Solid B.

Bullies, Liam Besecker: A

Bullies, Bullies, Bullies. I know I haven't been the kindest man to this organization, but I may be turning a new leaf this season.

Liam, I love this team man. You kept Erik and Qel. You picked Kobe Gantz with your first pick, who even though I've only seen him hoop twice for McCaskey, I know he's cold because some random SoundCloud rapper got a hit using his name on the title. Then you added Izaiah "Top Floor." Dude has to be a baller with a nickname like that. You have some solid bench players, too, like Deshaun McFadden, Javon Mitchell, and David Morton. Plus to top it all off, you got the man, the myth, the legend: Bubba Dubs. I love it.

Liam had the second best draft. There's just a team I thought had just a tad bit better draft, but I'll get to them down the post.

Cherrypickers, KJ Myers: B

The defending champs went into the offseason with some drama. Star forward and Finals MVP, Devonne Pinkard demanded a trade from the organization. After KJ was unable to complete his request, Devonne retired from the league. The news shocked everyone and honestly, it's going to be really upsetting not watching that man bless our court these BBAL Sundays.

KJ swiftly made a move for Denzel Kabasele during the Devonne saga. The Cherrypickers then kept Denzel, KJ Brownlee, John John, BellyFam, and joined the Tropics and Titans as the only three teams to max out their keepers.

In the regular draft, the Cherrys picked Jhiaire Felton (aka @mjm.bills , shoutout MJM), Elijah Bynum, Joe Chupick, Elie Basenga, Charlie Skehan, and Uncle Kevin. An alright draft, but what intrguied me the most was not who KJ drafted, but who he traded for. In the second round, the first official live trade happened during the draft as KJ acquired Noah Thomas from the Gremlins. I love Big Noah, and the Cherrys needed a big man.

We will see how the season shapes out, but for now, I'm giving KJ a B on his draft.

Dragons, Alex Cruz: D

It was the Sheriff's first draft and you could tell.

I joined the draft over Zoom, and I don't mean to expose any conversations that were had during the draft, but I'm going to do it anyways. Alex really asked about Jon Ware and his retirement, but ended up saying "f&*# it, I'll take the risk" and drafted him in the second round. I'm not roasting the Clumsy Janitor's skills one bit, but from a logistical stance, it made zero sense. I understand a flyer in the late rounds, but the second?! Crazy. I always say that the best ability in this league is availability, and this man's second pick was someone who's been retired from the league for a few years. Not very available. I hope this sparks Jon to come back, but it may come back to bite the Sheriff in the butt.

I am interested to see how the season plays out for the new captain, but my grade is solely off of that decision.

Gremlins, Tony Cruz: B-

Tony had a solid draft. Nevin Roman was a big get. Mike Myers has been to the finals every single season. I loved the Curtis Cannon pick late in sixth round. It's definitely a new look Gremlins, but I don't know how I feel about it yet. Feel like part of the lure of the Gremlins last year was the swagger, the jawing, the energy. That seems to be missing. Will it be good? Will it be bad? That's the reason for my B- because I can't tell.

Also, there were some players selected that I know for a fact have a distain for the Gremlins. I'm sure it's nothing against Tony and probably the jerseys (which I like), but another reason for the deducted score.

Huskies, Justin Baker: C

The Huskies, and specifically Justin, seem to be the most upset at my draft rankings. Respectfully Justin, I figured you wouldn't care about the draft since Eli Washinton, Timmy Edwards, and Jordan Tyson are going to play every single minute in the playoffs (as they should, they are dirty). You could throw me as your fifth and I don't think it would matter. You were also looking for players who didn't have the much availability towards the end. It's just draft grades. Power rankings coming soon.

Now as far as the rest of Justin's draft, I am truly unfamiliar with anyone's game. I know Chase Marquette and David Ka... Unknown Player (which is he going to play? At least it was a 4th round pick and not a 2nd), but outside of them, I am a casual. I am excited for Justin and company to prove me wrong though.

Lanc Show, Engle Bros: A+

The Engle bros knocked it out of the park. I mean, this team was the bottom of the barrel and borderline a laughing stock last season. There was a point in the season where a blind, albino kid suited up for the Lanc Show because only three players showed up. It was that bad.

The Engle's cleaned house and only kept Chris Richards and Tate. With their one and only keeper selection, they snagged Ajani Simmons which I absolutely love. I was surprised when I found out that Tony didn't keep him, but the fit with the Lanc Show is going to be spectacular. I raved about his energy and skill in blogs last year, and I'm looking forward to seeing him alongside Jack and Connor.

However, the boys weren't done. The Lanc Show's next four picks were Luke Pierson (DPOY runner up), Drew Groft, Jaxon Weyforth (maybe one of the most slept on players in the league), and Andrew Williams! The Lanc Show's first five picks in the draft is a strong starting five. Not saying that starting five would win the championship, but catch the right team sleeping and they could give them a run for their money.

The rest of their roster is filled with a bunch of glue and culture guys, highlighted by none other than Skylar Bender, who is just a Lanc Show legend. Hang his jersey in the rafters when it's all said and done. Udonis Haslem type.

Titans, Johnny Besecker: C+

Titans were one of the other teams that kept the max amount of keepers which limited them to just the regular draft. Johnny was stunned when Tony selected Noah Thomas with the pick before his, and I think it left him star struck for a bit. He took awhile, but he ultimately went with Chase Yarberough. However, constantly through the draft, teams were selecting other ex-Titans (i.e. Bubba, Chupick) which left him a little flustered. I also don't know many of the players, but I know the Commish knows way more ball than I do. The low-ish grade is solely because I believe Johnny had a different vision for how the draft went than what actually happened. He'll figure it out though.

Also, this will be the first time, at least in my tenure, that two Besecker's will be teammates. That's right, Jebbie and Johnny are together. Could be scary in a really good or really bad way, but I am super excited for it.

Tropics, Brad Atkinson: B+

It's unfair to judge the Tropics supporting cast because, in my overly exaggerated mind, Tyler Crespo and Brad Atkinson are just like LeBron James and Luka Dončić. Tropics by far had the worst looking team (if the full Lanc Show team showed up) last year, but so many games they were able to keep it close, and it was in large part due to our league's versions of LeBron James and Luka Dončić.

With that being said, I also thought about, well...what is the missing piece for the Tropics? What would make them better? Probably a dominating big man? So, Brad reads my thoughts and snipes Jah Greaves in the 2nd round. Unbelievable. Tyrell is also a solid addition, and we'll see how the Kurt Goldbach experience goes in the Tropics. Overall, I love it. Tropics may be back...

Woodpeckers, Devin Atkinson: A-

Devin falls in the same line with Ross. His top guy, I am not familiar, but I trust that I am going to have a fun time getting familiar this summer. However, the Danny Bomberger pick is really what sold me. Some forget that Danny led the 8Balls on their playoff surge, and didn't play in the championship game against the Cherrypickers. The league was robbed of a Danny vs Devonne finals. However, now he's teamed up with Elijah Eberly and Devin, man oh man.

Aleer was another guy Devin poached from the 8Balls, and I honestly really started to love watching him play towards the end of the season and esepcially during the playoffs. He balled out at Catholic against the Titans.

I will definitely miss Nevin Roman and Devin trading clutch buckets on the same team, but I look even more forward to them doing it against each other.

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