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Re-Grading the Cap City League Rosters

With the regular season and first round of the playoffs complete, how do the Cap City rosters stack up?

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season, we sat down and graded each YMCA Capital City League team, and with the first leg of the playoffs complete, it’s time for a re-evaluation. Sparta and Hinterland have already advanced to the semi-finals, with match ups of Sparta v. Lions Club and Hinterland v. Doerrfeld set for Thursday night. How did the teams stack up to their preseason expectations?

6. JayTees Apparel:

Pre-season grade: B
New Grade: F+

On the list of things that could go wrong for a Cap City team, JayTees’ season might’ve checked every box. The #1 overall pick Nick Weiler-Babb was absent for two-thirds of the season, and when he was there, was a little passive and didn’t quite live up to the first pick. TJ Thomas (Drake) went home to Georgia and never came back, leaving school and basketball all together, and Casey Schlatter (Drake) and some key reserves like Terrance Bush called it quits on the winless team and stopped coming. The plus on the F, however, denotes the awesome effort the depleted roster gave in their playoff game before ultimately falling to Sparta in a double overtime thriller. Weiler-Babb finally looked like the first pick with 36 points, 17 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 steals, and Kyle Juhl (Nebraska-Kearney), as the only big left on the roster, looked like a budget Kevin Love, raining 7 threes. Still, 0-8 is 0-8.

5. Hannah Homes

Pre-season grade: C-
New grade: C-

We mentioned in our pre-season write up that taking Jakolby Long over Terrence Lewis and Matt Tiby would either be the league’s sneaky best draft pick or fall flat. With Long sitting out the entire season with a shoulder injury, and Lewis up for league MVP, it’s safe to say it’s the latter. Michael Jacobsen has looked like a man amongst boys on the glass, and Ore Arugandade (Drake) was the same Ore that made him a fan favorite in the league the last four years. Antowine Locke and Shammond Ivory (DMACC) were also solid starters that would have been even better if the roster had fleshed out to allow them to be bench scoring. The league’s regular season ended up with one team breaking away in the standings, one falling way back, and a cluster of 3-4 or 4-3 teams in the middle, and Hannah Homes fell on the back side of the back without a ton of fire power.

4. Hinterland Music Festival

Pre-season grade: B+
New grade: B

Despite finishing 3-4, it seemed like every one of Hinterland’s games came down to the wire, with the other team pulling away in the last minute. Donovan Jackson’s first couple nights were rough (he commented after a game, “I think I might’ve missed 35 shots”) and Matt Tiby missed a couple games early with an ankle injury, causing the team to fall behind the curve. Lee Higgins from DMACC was a fresh face that has been great as a spot up shooter, and should be right up there for small college MVP. Yet between spotty attendance from Drake’s Graham Woodward and Kory Kuentsling (Kuentsling has actually been better than expected when he’s there) and a bench that fell a little short in its construction, Hinterland proved it could shoot with anyone and win if they got hot, but doesn’t quite have the depth to keep it rolling.

3. Des Moines Outreach Lions Club

Pre-season grade: A+
New grade: A-

How head coach Derek Hannah has coaxed this team to the 2 seed and a bye is beyond me, and is just another example of the commissioner’s Popovich-esque magic. Lindell Wigginton is yet to play a game (who knows if he’ll play in Thursday’s playoff game), as has Jeff Beverly, who is nursing an injured ankle (he seems less likely for a playoff appearance), and Drake’s Reed Timmer has made it to about half the games. The recipe for a team implosion was there, but great team ball and shooting allowed this team to punch well above their weight class. Wali Parks (DMACC) seems like a lock for Small College MVP, Galat Toang has been the same Galat who, despite his 6’2 frame, will block shots and rebound in the Cap City league until the heat death of the universe. If either of Wigginton or Beverly are there for the playoffs, go ahead and slide the Lions Club up to the 2 spot.

2. Sparta Waste Services

Pre-season grade: C+
New grade: A-

If you haven’t gathered from highlights or box scores from the league yet, Marial Shayok is the real deal. And, uh, so is Cameron Lard. Like 46 points, 19 rebound for Lard and 43 points and 15 rebounds for Shayok in their double overtime win over JayTees on Sunday. And while he’s not a huge scoring threat (he doesn’t necessarily have to be) CJ Rivers (Drake) has panned out as a consistent triple double threat. A short bench may seem like it would hold back a physical, up and down team, but between Bayo Babalola (ex-Morningside), Colton Kolowski (State Fair CC) and Malachi Canada (SWCC) all in the mix, there’s no drop off between the last starters and the bench. Canada and Nysir Marshburn (DMACC) are two of the best defenders/instigators in the league and don’t really hunt their own shot, which allows Lard and Shayok to do their thing. I wanted to take this recap to note that these DMACC guys are the best I can remember. I’m not familiar with the league they play in competition wise, but as opposed to years past where you could count on them sending maybe one local kid who was small and an alright shooter, their Cap City representatives look like D1 athletes and are some of the best non-ISU players in the league.

1. Doerrfeld Promotions

Pre-season grade: A+
New grade: A++

I had a feeling Doerrfeld would be right up there contending for a repeat title for coach Jason Swanson, but they’ve been dominant. They were a Michael Jacobsen tip-in at the buzzer from completing a perfect 7-0 regular season on Sunday, and the lineup that night was missing key big men Solomon Young and Jordan Stotts (ex-Sioux Falls), with Stotts playing for the TBT Hilton Magic Legends team. Solomon has basically done whatever he wants in the post all season, and has stepped out and knocked down jumpers as well, and Terrence Lewis is downright silky smooth. Lewis is more of a spot up scorer in the half court, but is a lot to handle in transition, forcing teams to get back and basically concede rebounds. Even with Young and Lewis on the roster, you could argue Detae McMurray (Drake) is the team’s go to scorer, as he can create for others and breaks down defenders regularly for his own shot. Landing Quinton Curry (Valley HS) in the 2nd round of the Open Draft and Teyontae Jenkins (NC Missouri) in the 4th have to be about the steals of the draft, as Curry has anchored the bench from the post and Jenkins has lead the team in assists as the starting point guard. While Hinterland and Sparta are getting hot at the right time, the preseason favorite is still the favorite in the semi-finals to go back-to-back.


Who’s your pick to win the Cap City championship on Sunday night? (official seeds included)

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    1. Doerrfeld Promotions
    (81 votes)
  • 12%
    2. Des Moines Outreach Lions Club
    (18 votes)
  • 25%
    3. Sparta Waste Services
    (36 votes)
  • 6%
    4. Hinterland Music Festival
    (9 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now