2011 Results: 5-5 Regular Season, 1-1 Playoffs, 4th place
Key Losses: Jim Andorko, Mike Schaeffer, Vince Rota (to Evergreens), Sean London (to Evergreens)
Key Additions: Mike Quintans, Don McCall (from Work Horses), Ryan Skinner (from Night Owls)
Florida Gulf Coast stole the hearts and imaginations of the American public in this year’s NCAA tournament, pulling off two huge upsets before falling to Florida in the sweet sixteen. Featuring a care-free attitude and a penchant for tossing alley-oop dunks to grace the Sportscenter top 10 lists, ‘Dunk City’ became the newest craze in the world of sports. But before anyone had ever heard of Andy Enfield’s high-flying bunch from Fort Myers, FL, the Jet Sets were creating their own ‘Dunk City’ culture in the world of Kronum.
Finishing last year’s regular season 3rd in points per game at 119.2 (just behind the leading 122.3 mark by the Nimble Jacks), the Jet Sets undoubtedly scored in a variety of ways. The most unique and defining way, though, was through their commitment to scoring from the goal zone area, as they recorded far and away the most dunks in the league at 6.8 dunks per game. 5 of the top 10 dunks leaders all wore the bright blue and white, with departing wedgeback Jim Andorko leading the league, and Nick DeLuca and Vinny Greco finishing third and fourth, respectively. Not only can dunking on the opponent provide a psychological edge, but goal zone scoring stretches out the defense and opens things up for your fellow attackers in the open field.
Those fellow attackers certainly took advantage as Jeff Regensburg, Matt Parsons, and rookie of the year Stephen Vandenberg finished among the top 8 scorers in the league. All of them were more than capable of hitting the big shot, as the three leading scorers for the Jet Sets ranked in the top 11 scorers from the cross zone area. The entire team as a whole shot the ball exceptionally well, as the Jet Sets were the most efficient shooting team in the league at 45.9%, and the best cross zone shooting team at 30.6%.
In particular, the man they look toward is Jeff Regensburg, who led the league in scoring for the third straight season. With a cannon for an arm, Regensburg is as dangerous as anyone in Kronum for the flex zone, leading the league in points from that area, while sporting the 9th-best flex zone shooting percentage at 52.0% (min. 4 attempts per game). Additionally, Regensburg shot 50.0% on penalty shots to lead the league in penalty shot points.
Stephen Vandenberg will enter his second season in 2013, looking to build upon an excellent rookie campaign that saw him record some tremendous point totals while maintaining his efficiency as the 9th-best shooter in the league at 48.4% (min. 4 attempts per game), including the 4th-best mark from the flex zone at 56.7%.
Besides the Jet Sets’ big three, ranger Nick DeLuca makes his impact known as perhaps the most versatile player in the league. Alongside his goal zone prowess, DeLuca led the league in wedge zone points while shooting a solid 42.9% from that area; he also finished fourth in the league in assists. Another ranger, Mike Quintans, is the early favorite for rookie of the year, and should provide another arm to add to the Jet Sets’ deep arsenal.
The biggest X-factor in 2013, however, will be captain Matt Parsons. Parsons missed half of last season due to a broken collarbone suffered in the pre-season. Upon his return, Parsons did not miss a beat, leading the league in assists per game in addition to finishing 6th in ppg. He excelled in the middle of the field on both sides of the ball, leading the league in cross zone shooting percentage at 56.3% (min. 10 attempts), while also leading the league in steals per game at 1.6. Having Parsons available from week one on will be a huge boost for an already potent Jet Sets attack.
With all of these profilic scoring numbers, you might assume the Jet Sets to be among the favorites for the 2013 title. Unfortunately for Jet Sets supporters, the team has never proven an ability to shut down an opposing team or get key stops when needed, as they are perennially among the worst teams in the league in opposing points per game. The Sets allowed over 100 points in half of last season’s regular season games, including permitting opposing totals of 165 and 153 points. Defensive prospects do not look to have improved for 2013, either. Vinny Greco does return to head the wedgeback unit after finishing sixth in the league in saves per game. However, the team’s second-leading wedgeback, Jim Andorko, will not be returning, nor will Mike Schaeffer, who was regarded as the team’s best defensive field player.
With all of the team’s offensive talent at their disposal, the Jets Sets certainly have enough pieces to contend in the league. The team will drop some of the highest single-game point totals and be featured on plenty of top 10 plays during the upcoming season. The biggest question remains whether Parsons can institute a defensive system and garner his team’s commitment to play hard both ways.
Regular Season Prediction: 3-7 (7th Place)
The Jet Sets are practically a lock to finish in the top half of the league in scoring. With captain Matt Parsons at the controls for a full season, their offensive attack should be more dangerous than ever. However, there are two sides to the game and Kronum titles are not won like a fantasy sports league. Until they can feature a staunch defense to complement their powerful offense, the Jets will remain a team known more for highlight-reel plays than victories.