Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4.5 Preview

With over a day until the start of the season, there are sure to be several late roster additions and a surprise or two, but below are my initial impressions of how things will shake out in 4.5 this year.  

Division I
This division looks lopsided to me.  

I can't see anyone truly challenging Ssshhhwings at this point. Peter Rothe has assembled his best singles duo in quite some time with the addition of Neil Carpenter and Rene Ramirez to his roster.  Carpenter's results have gone a bit downhill in the last few years, but he's still more than capable of beating anyone in the league.  Ramirez will be a solid number two guy.  Assuming Justin Benoit signs up, a doubles lineup of Rothe/Hall, Kim/Lindloff and Judson/Benoit will be solid.  

The Jedi Knights are not nearly the power they once were, but they still should have enough to contend with Copperfield for the second spot in this division.  New addition Lan Nguyen may be a key (is this the same Lan Nguyen who was playing in the 16's three or four years ago?).  Will Samuel Holmes be on the team???...if not, the lineup will have a few holes.   Dan Courson, Lawton Park, Tim Sebesta and Mike Moss are solid doubles guys, and perhaps Tom Caine will also be joining them.  

Copperfield's team looks like a much weaker version of last year's bunch.  Any team losing a John Kudrick will be in trouble, but at this point there's no Alex Bergmann or Dave McMullan on the roster...losing even two of those three will be crippling.  Mike Salinas will scrape out a few wins, and Letan and Robins have been successful in recent years, but right now they need more firepower.  

Karl's team is interesting, but I don't see them contending.   The roster is loaded with current high school coaches (Burford is at Katy High, and Trip Norkus, Nile Gross, Aaron Layman and James Weaver are all current or former coaches...some of the others may be coaches as well).  Scott Kaiser was once the Chronicle's tennis writer.   Unfortunately this team may be stronger in the strategy department than it is on the court.  Layman and Weaver will be troublesome, but I don't see the rest of the group being that dangerous.  

The Ballbusters have changed their home court, but unfortunately the only major roster upgrade that I know of was the addition of Jochen Moser.  Mark Ashley and Ian McKeithen will be a tough out in doubles, but the quality depth is lacking here.  

Division II

Kingwood has been the dominant player in this division for years, and figures to battle neck and neck with Westside for the division title.  The loss of the Dibuas is huge, and despite a recent win over one of the twins in the North Suburban league, Don Rios' addition is not enough to offset even one Dibua.  Rumor has it that Kingwood still has some additions to be made to the roster, but right now they have solid veterans Huynh, Vu, and Pekar.  I'm going on a hunch here, as the roster is not currently all that strong, but I think Kingwood may nudge ahead of Westside for the title.

I might have picked Westside had they not removed Rodolfo Benitez from their roster, perhaps in fear of forfeiting lines should he be found ineligible.  Still, the cupboard is far from bare.  Ted Bradley, Humberto Alzate and Sean Lacy are solid.  Stale Berge is not yet on the roster, but he will help.  

Unfortunately the other three teams don't merit much mention.  Plus, I'm getting tired of typing.  :)   All three are below average 4.5 league teams.  

Division III

This division will be owned by the heavy favorite Hurricanes.   The team as currently constructed will run into some trouble up in Dallas, but is far too strong for any local competition.  The only question at this point is how to find the best lineup.  Omon and Odion can hang with any singles players in the city (and mostly anyone across the state), but are also valuable in doubles.  Ted Phoummarath can play singles if you leave the Dibuas in doubles, but who else will play, and how strong will the singles be with the Dibuas in doubles?   The Hurricanes have picked and chosen some of the top players from Kingwood, Sugar Creek and the Mob Squad in addition to some intriguing newcomers.   I'll be shocked if they are beaten locally.

The Deucebags are clearly the next strongest team in the Division.  With the addition of Aadrian Hasker and the return of Rich Ryu, the singles is very capable.  A doubles lineup of Dugas/Dugas,  Tran/Morales and Bui/Diep (or any other variation) will be solid, but not spectacular.  

Sienna will be solid at line one singles with Juan Trevino.  There are a lot of 4.0 bumpups who are talented (Bird, Schlensker, et al) and a couple of solid veterans (Lane, Jacobs), but overall not enough talent to hang with the big boys.  Still, they're capable of scaring some people or pulling off the occasional upset.  

Sugar Creek's team lost a lot when Burrmann and Day defected to the Hurricanes.  They've added Sydney Jim's brother Simon, and last year added Samir Chiali, who showed some promise, but overall the team will probably struggle this season.  

Anyway, that's a somewhat quick look at things as they stand right now.  I'm sure things will change.   If I have time I'll try to look at 4.0 and 5.0 before tomorrow less depth probably.  


  1. Pretty good summary as far as I can tell...

  2. Good summary. Now get on the court and play.

    Those poor 3.5 guys can't get no love....

  3. Thanks. I need to get out there...haven't played a match in over 2 months. Not to hijack this thread, but if there's anyone in Summerwood/Fall Creek/Lakeshore/Walden area who wants to hit after work, let me know. Or, if there's someone who wants to hit at the Met in the afternoon sometime...I need the practice.

  4. By the way, I knew Kingwood had some surprises in store, but I sure didn't see this one coming. Steve Phan has signed up for them. He's been working a tremendous number of hours, but if he can sharpen up just a bit he is a force and at one time was pretty much unbeatable in 4.5. If his brother joins him, then things will definitely be getting interesting around here!

  5. Phan and brother could makes things interesting in league tennis.

    Although with Chantz and Vu running the team the only thing that is for sure is that they will have beer for refreshments during their matches.

  6. if you like to have a cold one, then just sign up with kingwood.

  7. Kingwood-Crush should change its name to Kingwood-ColdOne

  8. LOL Kingwood Cold One sounds good. If you can't win then Drink a Cold One.

  9. What a story it would be if Kingwood won after there stars and captain leaving. Chantz is doing a great job. He deserves a beer for that.

  10. Chantz is a great guy and formidable opponent but the fact of the matter is League is Competitive and Kingwood has lost their top players the Dibuas,Hurlbert,Armstrong,Wright,Valentine. Without these players they have no guarantee wins.

    Crush added a self rate today so things could be heating up.

  11. As long as Chantz keep himself out of the lineup they should be OK.

  12. Chantz is a good player and a great drinker. He can play doubles and singles. He has beaten his ringer/friend Don Rios in league matches.

  13. Rios is far from a ringer