The 2008 Hemcher Cup Preview Guide
By Anthony Lampazzi
Assistant to the Commissioner
Before we begin the 2008 Hemcher Cup preview, we need to spend a few minutes looking back at last year’s classic contest that culminated with Team Tonsmeire hoisting his 2nd Hemcher Cup. This was arguably the greatest finish in Cup history outside of the Wayne Turner Co-Champion year. First of all to celebrate the first fifteen years of The Hemcher Cup, Draft Night XV was held in person in the Rainman Suite at the MGM Grand. Five of the six teams were represented in person with only Team Zucker having to be remote. The draft even had an audience as well, which was comprised of such out of town celebrities as Tim and Pat Gannon. There were local Vegas celebrities on hand as well, such as Randall Cunningham, Danny Gans and even Monticore making a rare public appearance. It was a night of both celebrity and history.
Let’s briefly look back at how it all went down last year.
Team Gannon was the early clubhouse leader after the first two rounds but lost the lead to Team Knight in the Sweet Sixteen thanks to Team Knight’s record setting 173pt performance in the round. As all fans of The Hemcher Cup know, Champions aren’t crowned after the first few rounds and this is the usual time in the tournament when contenders begin to emerge from the pretenders. As ESPN8 The Ocho, broadcaster Cotton McKnight would say, “It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian”.
It was at this point that Team Tonsmeire began his push to the cup. After the Sweet Sixteen he trailed Knight by 77pts, then by 46pts after the Elite 8, and then down to 23pts after the Final Four. Team Knight entered the Championship game with a 23pt lead but would have to go up against Team Tons’ four players with just one of his own, Greg Oden. It turned out to be an epic battle that went all the way down to the 1:14 mark before Team Tons took over the lead. As Merrill Reese would say, “It just couldn’t have been any more dramatic”.
What a way to close out the first fifteen years of the league. We can only hope that the next fifteen years will be as amazing. And with that we give you the 2008 Preivew Guide with the city of Las Vegas as it’s cinematic backdrop…..in the immortal words of Cotton McKnight: “Las Vegas. A city built of hot sand, broken dreams and $5 lobster. A city where you can get a happy ending, if you pay a little extra. A city home to a sporting event greater than the World Cup, World Series and World War II combined…(The Hemcher Cup!)”
Without further adieu, the predictions for 2008:
“Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey… Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now. Save yourself the embarrassment of losing with these losers in Las Vegas, La Fleur.
Alliteration aside, I’ll take my chances in the tournament.
Yeah, you will take your chances.
I know. I just said that.
I know you just said that.
Okay, I’m not sure where you’re going with this.
Well, I’m not sure where *you’re* going with this.
That’s what I said.
That’s what I’m saying to *you*.
6th Place: Team Lampazzi 500pts.
Maybe Team Lampazzi should spend their afternoons reading books with White Goodman to come up with some knowledge about real players like Blade, Laser, and Blazer. Beginning with 2002, this team has had the following finishes: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 5th. It isn’t hard to see the problem with this team either, very simply they draft poorly early on. Let’s take a look at some of their recent top picks; 2007 Alando Tucker, 2 games 40pts, 2005 Gerry McNamara, 1 game 11pts. Luckily for them in 2006, Villanova Hero Randy Foye was there and was an absolute no brainer. For crying out loud they drafted some guy named Zabian Dowdell last year along with two guys from Arizona!!! Those 3 guys contributed 41pts and got knocked out in the 1st round. Even Isiah Thomas laughs at them and thinks that they don’t know how to put together a basketball team. Having the 3rd overall pick hasn’t worked out well historically for Team Lampazzi, having finished in 4th and 5th place the two other times they were in the same starting position. Better luck next year. Team Lampazzi’s eight year championship drought is only surpassed by one other team in the league.
“I’m telling you, baby, you always double down on an eleven.
Yeah? Well obviously not always!
I’m just saying, not in this particular case.
But I lost! How can you say always?!?”
5th Place: Team Tonsmeire 598pts
If there’s one franchise that believes in always doubling down, it’s Team Tonsmeire. Since 1995 Team Tonsmeire has doubled down on players from the same team every year except for 1996 and 2000. Team Tons doesn’t limit itself to just one set of teammates either, in many years he drafts as many as 3 sets of teammates and some years takes as many as 3 players from the same team. Last year’s title team had teammates from Florida, Oregon and The Ohio State University. Any financial advisor will tell you to diversify your portfolio to mitigate risk, but it seems that Team Tons believes in finding a hot stock and riding it as far as it can go. It hasn’t been a bad strategy for him as he is arguably the 3rd most successful franchise in the league based on having won two titles, setting the single season record for most points scored (746pts), and being #3 on the all time running points scored list. So based on this success and being the defending champion, why a projection for 5th place? Well, when Team Tons drafts in a spot lower than 3rd he has never finished above 3rd and the last two times he picked 4th overall, he finished in 5th place (both Team Tons Titles came from him picking 3rd overall). Given his 4th spot in this year’s draft we are going to assume that past performance is an indicator of future returns and lock in on those 5th place options.
“There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know. We did our first work together, worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During Prohibition, we ran molasses into Canada… made a fortune, your father, too. As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI’s on the way to the West Coast. That kid’s name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen; I didn’t ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business”
Team Knight: 4th Place 640pts
Team Knight picked 4th? Is this a misprint? Why is it that year in and year out this publication refuses to pick Team Knight 1st? At least the last two years they picked him to finish 2nd, which as a matter of fact is where he finished both years. He has to feel like Moe Greene sometimes, he gets absolutely no respect for what he has built over these last 15 years; Six Titles, Three 2nd place finishes, all time running points scored leader with 8,036 (almost 500pts more than 2nd place) and an average finishing position of 2.2. And of the 14 documented “best” records in the Hemcher Cup record book, he holds 7 of them outright and shares 5 others. The only difference between him and Moe Greene is that although Moe Greene never got his name on a plaque, Team Knight has its name on The Hemcher Cup 6 times. Would it surprise us if Team Knight breaks his championship drought this year? Not really, considering that he’s never gone more than two years without winning a title before. Much like last year’s preview article we can’t pick Team Knight to win, especially in an article highlighting Las Vegas. No one likes to root for the house to win and we have to stick by that philosophy. We also think that last year’s dramatic ending may have taken a toll on Team Knight, it may not be as easy to bounce back from a tournament where he lost the title with less than 2 minutes to go in the championship game.
“I’m sorry to bother you, sir .May I see some ID?
Thank you. Welcome to the Mirage, Mr. Pappagiorgio.
It’s great. My wife and kids are back in Yuma, where I work in software…
In the software business.
No glasses tonight?
No, I do not require them.
So I says to him, I said, “Get your own monkey.”
Oh, my Lord! Rusty!
You must be lost. This is Mr. Pappagiorgio.
His name is not Pappagiorgio, He’s Rusty Griswold!
He’s a “C plus” student. Now, out of the pool!
Let’s go, young man!
3rd Place: Team Poli 641pts
In a lot of ways, we aren’t sure what the true identify of Team Poli is. Is he more likely to be the high rolling Nick Pappagiorgio style 2006 Champion or the unfortunate C+ student Rusty Griswald with his four last place finishes since 1995. Some of this may just be bad luck, since 1995 his average draft position is 2nd lowest at 3.7 (only Team Lampazzi is lower at 4.1) while his average finish position is 2nd worst at 3.9 (only Team Zucker is lower at 4.3). The ping pong ball gods didn’t do Team Poli any favors again this year, giving him the 6th drafting position. Team Poli has held this draft spot 3 other times, the 1st two times he finished right where he started, 6th but as we all know the last time he was in the 6th spot he finished 1st. So again we don’t know where to go here, will it be Nick? Will it be Rusty? We tend to think that with the lack of monster teams this year, drafting late is not as much of a handicap as it may have been in previous years. If he maximizes his back to back picks at #6 and #7 he could be in nice position to make a run. Also, it might not hurt to revisit that 2006 drafting strategy…..I mean after all, Knight does pick right in front of him…….
You have 17, sir.
I like to live dangerously.
21. Very good, sir.
I suggest you hit, sir.
I also like to live dangerously.
20 beat your 5 sir. I’m sorry, sir.
Well I must admit, cards aren’t my bag, baby. Allow myself to introduce… myself, my name is Richie Cunningham and this is my wife Oprah.
My name is Number 2. This is my Italian confidential secretary. Her name is Alotta, Alotta Faginia.
I’m sorry, I’m just not getting it, I thought you said your name was A lot of, um, never mind.
What is it exactly that you do Mr. Number 2?
That’s my business”
Team Gannon 690pts.
Without a doubt the “Number 2” of the Hemcher Cup is Team Gannon. In case you’ve forgotten lets look at the resume: Four Hemcher Cup titles, he also ranks 2nd in all time points scored, has the most members of the Top 25 club (7 Team Gannon Alumni) and also has the 2nd highest finishing position in the league with a 3.0 average. Team Gannon also tends to make the most of drafting high, since 1995 Team Gannon has drafted #2 or better 5 times, he has won the cup 3 of those times. He isn’t a one trick pony however, in 2004 he won his 4th cup from the back of the pack in the 5th hole. Since that last championship, Team Gannon seems to have lost its way a little bit, finishing 3rd, 5th, and 3rd in the last three years. We tend to think that last year’s down to the wire battle between Team Knight and Team Tons had to rekindle the bittersweet memories of 1998, when Team Gannon had to share it’s title with Team Knight. Rumor has it that Team Gannon still has an open contract for anyone that takes out Wayne Turner to this day. We think the fire has been reignited in Team Gannon to make a big run this year and possibly could return to the top spot being led by one of two 2007 Team Gannon Alumni, Chris Douglas Roberts or Tyler Hansbrough. Looking at the Team Gannon roster for last year, it’s worth noting that he finished strong at 636pts, and where he probably cost himself a shot at the title, was drafting two Fighting Irish who contributed just 26pts in 2 total games played. The sour taste of ND probably pushes Team Gannon away from ultimate goober Luke “Big Country” Harangody this year……
We like Team Gannon a lot this year but come on, this isn’t the 1st time you’ve read this article, you know where we are going……just like last year’s article, it’s going to be déjà vu all over again……
“Do you believe in unlikelihoods? Average Joe’s shocking the dodgeball world and upsetting Globo Gym in the championship match!
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to the Great Wall of China, I have seen the Pyramids of Egypt, I’ve even witnessed a grown man satisfy a camel. But never in all my years as a sportscaster have I witnessed something as improbable, as impossible, as what we’ve witnessed here today!”
1st Place: Team Zucker 701pts
The last time Team Zucker possessed The Hemcher Cup dates back to before the turn of the 21st century and the new millennium, (ok, is was only 1999 but in Hemcher Cup years that’s an eternity, just ask Team Poli). It hasn’t been an easy stretch for Team Zucker since that title. In the eight years since then, he has six last place finishes. We picked him to win last year and for a few hours he had a shot. Team Zucker had a solid early draft; his top 3 picks played in a combined 16 games while accumulating 237pts, only eventual Champion Team Tons got more points from his top 3 picks than Team Zucker. It was Team Zucker’s next 4 picks that cost him, they gave him just 95 total points over 9 combined games. Team Zucker managed to score a respectable 522 total points but unfortunately last year that was only good enough for a 6th place finish. Historically drafting from the #2 hole hasn’t been good to Team Zucker, the two other times he had this position, in 1998 and 2006, he finished 5th and 6th respectively. I know what you are saying, this team has no shot to win, but since this is a preview article with Vegas as a backdrop, why not bet on the long shot, it’s always more fun to do that anyway, isn’t it?
As usual, this guide is for entertainment purposes, please no wagering. Good luck to all!