2009 Hemcher Cup Preview Guide
By Anthony Lampazzi
Assistant to the Commissioner
“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller.
That’s pretty much how you could sum up the year 2008 for the Hemcher Cup.
2008 was an unprecedented year in the long and hallowed tradition of The Hemcher Cup. Perhaps only the improbable Team Poli championship or the Wayne Turner Co-Championship year, could rival what took place last year. History was made both on and off the court in 2008.
Off the court we saw not one but two Hemcher Cup Franchises enter into marriage. Both Team Zucker and Team Lampazzi hosted wonderful wedding events which allowed for all of the Franchise Owners to be present for late summer and early fall meetings. It’s a rare occurrence these days to have all six owners present together which tends to bring out the press and paparazzi and for both of these events, that was the case.
By no means less important, we also witnessed history on the court as Team Zucker joined the ranks of the franchises with multiple championships. Team Zucker became the fourth fastest franchise to achieve this mark by picking up its second title just nine years after it’s first. Although Team Zucker claims to be equally excited about both the marriage and the championship, sources close to the owner have told “THCPG” (The Hemcher Cup Preview Guide) that a picture of he and the cup are actually the 1st photo in the newlywed’s wedding album. That last item has yet to be confirmed.
It is clear to see that 2008 was an eventful year and we have no reason to think that 2009 won’t be great as well.
And with that we close the book on 2008 and look forward to the upcoming season.
In keeping with the recent style of this annual guide, we have once again turned to Hollywood to kickoff this year’s preview. So with that we ask you to sit back, relax, turn off your cell phones and please no talking during the preview……….
“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte… just delivered the Cup. The Hemcher Cup.
Six men went into the draft room. Some owners couldn’t remember their usernames and passwords, so it took a little while to get it going. The Draft started late as usual. Didn’t see the first pick for about a half an hour. Tyler Hansbrough. 7-footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the draft room, Chief? You tell by looking from the bad haircut to the tail.
What we didn’t know, was our Cup mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, the upsets come cruisin’, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named “The Battle of Waterloo” and the idea was: the upset comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the upset go away… but sometimes it wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that upset he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about an upset… it’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes.
When it comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until your top pick goes out in the 1st round with 3pts, and those black eyes roll over white and then… and then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. Your draft tracker turns red, and despite all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip your team to pieces.
You know by the end of that first round, I lost a third of my team. I don’t know how many upsets, maybe four or five. I know how many men, they averaged six knocked out a day. On Sunday evening after the 2nd round, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Dave Tonsmeire from Long Island. Marathon Runner. Boatswain’s mate. I thought his team was still alive. I reached over to see his score. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d lost half his team.
Noon, of the sweet sixteen weekend, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us… he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened…waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put an Arizona player on my team again.
So, six men went in the draft room; 1 man come out and the upsets took the rest, April the 7th, 2008. Anyway, we delivered The Cup.”
Your projected order of finish…………
6th Place: Team Tonsmeire 475pts
Two years ago Team Tonsmeire became the 4th franchise to win multiple cups by winning their 2nd title. Unfortunately they followed that up with a last place finish in 2008. First to Worst is not the year over year change that anybody wants. Last year was not a good year for them. What does appear to be good for Team Tons is the number seven. The number seven appears to be kind to Team Tons as years ending in the number seven are dominated by Team Tonsmeire as he has won the cup in 1997 and 2007. He has also had the #3 pick in each of those years. He has had that drafting spot four times previously and has finished 1st twice and 4th twice. But when he drafts just one spot lower at #4, as he will do this year, he has finished 3rd (1998), 5th (2002), 5th (2003) and 6th (2008). Basically the #4 spot has not been favorable to Team Tons. Drafting 4th has not been good to most teams for that matter, as that is the one spot that has failed to produce a champion in Hemcher Cup history. Based on this historical performance we can’t see Team Tons having a successful draft this year. It has also been noted in previous articles that Team Tons loves doubling down on teams, it’s interesting to note that last year they avoided this strategy and finished last, but in 1997 and 2007 they had three sets of teammates and won the title each year…..
5th Place: Team Poli: 503pts
More than any other franchise, Team Poli has finished in the same spot in which they draft. This has happened for Team Poli four times in the history of the cup. They’ve done this twice each when picking 2nd and 6th and that’s where we are predicting them to finish this year, right where they started at #5. This is not to say that they can’t make a run. Along with Team Knight they are the only two teams to win a cup from the 6th drafting position. Unfortunately for Team Poli since they made history by winning that 1st title back in 2006, they have struggled, by having two 4th place finishes while drafting at opposite ends of the draft, 1st in 2007 and 6th in 2008. Basically Team Poli is like that proverbial box of chocolates, you just never know what you are going to get from this franchise. They have had the #5 drafting position two previous years and struggled each of those years with a 6th place finish in 1998 and a 4th place finish in 2000. A disappointing 5th place finish is the projection for 2009.
4th Place: Team Gannon: 563pts
According to Hemchercup.com Team Gannon has been projected as the odds on favorite to win the cup but we here at “THCPG” have a different opinion. Team Gannon had a strong 2008 as they finished runner up to Team Zucker. It was their first finish in the top two since 2004 when they won their 4th cup. Based on historical trending last year would have appeared to be their year to win a title. In 1996 they won their first title, then their second two years later in 1998, then four years later they won their third title in 2002, then the fourth title in 2004. History seemed to indicate that in 2008 they would have begun their third cycle of winning two titles but history did not repeat itself and so we are not sure what the new pattern is for Team Gannon. We do know that they have had the #6 drafting spot just two times in their history and finished 5th in 2000 and 3rd in 2007. Based on that small sample we don’t see them having a great year. The 6th drafting spot is very tricky. It seems like the draft hinges on that 2nd pick for those drafting in the 6th spot as there are just too many players taken before you get a chance to make your 3rd pick. But I think that’s more perception than reality. It’s a spot that definitely requires some extra thought though. Does Team Gannon try to double down? Does he go for safe plays? In 2000 he took Marcus Fizer and Mark Karcher; in 2007 he took Tyler Hansbrough and Corey Brewer. Those 2007 picks were great but it was their later picks of two Fighting Irish that probably cost them. So that would seem to indicate that there’s no reason to go crazy with some off the wall strategy for those bookend picks but nonetheless a Corey Double Down of Stokes and Fisher might be nice…….
3rd Place: Team Knight 599pts
In the recorded history of the Hemcher Cup, Team Knight has only failed to finish in the Top Three, two times; with finishes of 5th in 1997 and 4th in 2002. That is quite an impressive feat. Team Knight and Team Gannon are the only two franchises who have never finished in last place. When you’ve won six titles and rarely finish out of the top three, the pressure by the local media and fan base can be excruciating. We think that perhaps this pressure has gotten to Team Knight as their current three year championship drought is the longest in franchise history. It’s not like they have been far off though, with two 2nd place finishes and a 3rd place finish last year during this stretch. Team Knight has only drafted in the 3rd spot twice in their history with a 1st and 3rd place finish in 1998 and 2000 respectively. You can never count out Team Knight but we still don’t think 2009 will be their year. Look for a strong finish in the top three, good for most other franchises but one that will be met with disappointment by the fan base in New England. The expectations are set high for Team Knight but the recent lack of championships indicates to us that their one time stranglehold on the league is fading…
2nd Place: Team Lampazzi 605pts
It’s been a long time since Team Lampazzi has been projected this high and it’s probably been even longer since they actually finished this high. Since 1995 Team Lampazzi has finished 3rd or better just four times with two 3rd place finishes and basically their glory period of 2000 – 2001 where they finished 1st and 2nd respectively. For as much as this publication likes to paint other teams as perennial losers, they really need to look no further than this franchise. Since the “Post Thomas Ave Era” this Team has just one championship. Their current drought is eight years and counting and they’ve finished poorly the last two years with consecutive 5th place finishes. Though this publication generally relies on historical trends and patterns for its projections, sometimes we go with our gut like the last few years where we have picked Team Poli and Team Zucker to win titles based on nothing but a hunch. Our gut isn’t telling us that Team Lampazzi can finally break thru and pick up cup #3 but we think they’ll play it safe with a solid #1 overall selection and avoid mistakes of the past and coast into a not so spectacular 2nd place finish but for this franchise, a 2nd place finish will be more than welcome. Here’s a not so fun fact for you, this franchise has only had the overall #1 pick once before in it’s history, for those that don’t remember that year, it was 1995 and Kerry Kittles was taken #1 and then we went to Albany…………….
1st Place: Team Zucker 689pts
Team Zucker was definitely the bell of the ball last year. He managed to pick up his 2nd title and his 1st wife along the way. In 2008 Team Zucker took his usual gambling/unorthodox style to the draft, but unlike many previous years, this year, everything he touched turned to gold. He got great performances from his top two picks, an all time performance from his #8 pick in Stephen Curry and even did nicely with Villanova teammates. Usually the mandatory Villanova selections by Team Zucker causes him to forgo points elsewhere but he got nice production from Scottie Reynolds and even Dwayne Anderson threw in 20pts from Zucker’s 14th draft selection. We haven’t even mentioned the performance from “Chaka Chan, Sasha Kaun, All I wanna do is rock you, Chaka Chan”. Did Team Zucker finally find the right mix of risk and safety in his picks last year? Did everything just break right? We aren’t really sure but we think Team Zucker will defend his cup this year with the possibility of the first three-peat in cup history in 2010. By the way, Team Zucker has had the #2 pick four times before, finishing 3rd, 5th, 6th and 1st. Another fun fact is that the #2 drafting position has produced the most champions since 1995 with four and we think this year Team Zucker makes it a handful with five.
That’s it for this year. Good luck to everyone, and let’s be safe out there!