Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Assalamu Alaikum brothers! Welcome back to another year of YOU Basketball. Brotherhood, competitive basketball, competition for good in Mu’mineen system, and working together to better ourselves. 8 teams, 64 players, 1 goal; brotherhood through seeking the pleasure of God.
7 games down and 5 to go for regular season. We are in the middle of the season with plenty of separation in ranking. What more could you ask for from a league full of competitive teams. We have a team with no L’s and a team with no W’s, a team that won 4 in a row and team that won 5 in a row. You see, excitement is just a word, until the rollercoaster of wins and losses starts to pile up. When you are winning, the five days of weekdays are like being at Little Caesars arena every night, watching the Pistons play from the sidelines; when you have the losses piling up, the weekdays are long and it feels as if you were hungry for days and Conant Cafe is closed for business. But, let’s not get carried away here and take a look at where we stand just past the mid-season. With 2020 here, with a blink of an eye we will be wrapping up the regular season.
Before we dive into our mid-season analysis, let us also refer to the beautiful team names we have set this year, ma shaa Allah. Each of our team names are ways Allah SWT refers to us in the Qur’an. Therefore, it’s important for us to learn about these names. As part of the analysis, we will summarize what each means in shaa Allah. Here we go..
First up, are our boys in purple. Almuhsineen, are the ones who does good. Allah SWT refers to the doers of the goods as Almuhsineen and asks us to do the good deeds, because surely, Allah loves the doers of the good. Opportunities to do good are all around us, we just have to open our eyes and utilize those opportunities. All of you involved in running this league are doers of good, all of you who are helping every day with small to large tasks are doers of good, all of you who are helping your families, your friends, your neighbors, the guy on the side of the street whom you don’t even know and yet give a dollar to, you are all doers of good. May Allah SWT allow us all do be doers of good, and be doers of good in ways He SWT asks us to be. Ameen. Let’s keep this in mind and learn more about the doers of the good in the Qur’an, and indulge our entire life in doing more and more good in shaa Allah.
Now the purple boys, youngest team in the league led by the youngest captain Kibria in this years’ YOU Basketball league. Young age, 10, athleticism, 10, talent, 10, player height, 11, offense, 8, defense, 5, basketball IQ, 2, team basketball, 1. Let’s be real, on paper, they are built to take this league by storm. The sizes of Kibria, Masum, Suhal and Khyzar, and yet they get outrebounded. The offense of talented Adeeb, sharp shooter Latif Joy and Big Baby Aldin downlow, and yet, they struggle to keep the scoreboard ticking. Ossama’s energy, Kibria’s hard work on either end of the court, but something is just not right. Something, is, just not right. They’re young, talented, energetic, can really shoot the ball with the best of them, and yet they find themselves in the bottom of the league standing. What really went wrong? Don’t worry, we broke this down. Almuhsineen lead the league with worst defensive rating of 70.29 points per game, not to mention their inability to move the ball on offense as they are tied for the worst team in assists per game category; don’t be smiling, you were once young too and you used to think you can beat an entire team by yourself. Let them run their course. Absence of veteran leadership has left a huge void in Almuhsineen’s team dynamic, with no one to help them understand the importance of communication and playing basketball as a team, this team finds itself in a dire situation. Every game we watched them play, there were snippets of a minute or 2 of great basketball, and then again, they showed their youth. Stepping in to take the game on, individuals, trying to display their talents and prove their worth. But, our favorite young lads, when will you learn? It has been 7 games, when will you get it that this is a game of 5. The future of this league is in your hands, and we wait, we wait for the day when these young boys will click together, learn to play collective basketball and muscle their way into the books and earn their spots in YOU league history. Irrespective of their current standings, their current performance and their display of amateur decision making, this is the team to watch for years to come. These boys in purple are the future of our league, the talents of the future, Kobe after Jordan and Lebron after Kobe. Their time will come, just be patient. In the meantime, keep your heads high Almuhsineen and share that ball, talk on that defense and start to play 5 on 5. All hope is not lost, as road for playoffs kicks off, there is still time to turn this season around. Question is will you, Almuhsineen, take on the challenge of playing collectively basketball and turn things around before it’s too late. Can their young captain lead this young group to a memorable 2nd half of season? Can they really be ready? Can they really age that quick in understanding? Can they really come back, can they, can they? The ball is in your court Almuhsineen.
Alsaadiqeen are the truthful ones. Allah SWT refers to the truthful ones as Alsaadiqeen, but they are not only the truth tellers, they are truthful in the words and in their deeds/actions. They are true to their words, and follows through with what they say. They are not afraid to speak out against falsehood and mischief, they are not afraid to speak out even when everyone else have accepted a small oppression done against another player, another team, they speak up. Their deeds and actions are also true, they tell the refs the ball went off of me, they raise their hands to acknowledge the foul they have committed. When you are around them, you just sense the truthfulness, and it is hard for you to accept they may have said something wrong or have done something wrong. May Allah SWT make us of the truthful ones, the ones who follows in the footsteps of the Prophet SAW, the one who was known as Al-Amin, the Truthful one. Ameen.
After covering the youngest team in the league, we move onto possibly the oldest team in the league, the elders in Navy. We can debate all day about average age between this team and brothers in Grey, but let’s just settle it saying they are both old, wise and experienced and call the brothers in Navy the older team. The average age of this team is up there, and that makes them one very dangerously experienced team. Iqbal bhai, still ranked as a top 5 player in this league and tons of basketball under his belt, he is still out there teaching the youngsters how to get buckets. Marash, let’s be real, one of the most versatile players in the league, and have been doing it for years. Those deep 3’s he hits are often jaw dropping; on multiple occasions we have seen him just throw the ball up within a split of a second and find the bottom of the net. Solid scoring options in Rahat and Salman, Zubair’s energy and smarts on the court and the energy from Milk man Shubo. Add to that Gulzar and Shuab bhai’s presence, this team as a solid competitor in this league. However, the struggles continued from the beginning. Loss of Shuab bhai early in the season to injury, may Allah SWT give him full recovery, followed by players missing here and there have made this a more difficult journey thus far. Take our advice, irrespective of the record, the struggles they have gone through, do not write this team off. Playoff basketball requires playing under pressure situations, they have the experienced brothers needed to deliver. Iqbal bhai, Marash, Salman, Rahat, all these players are made to hit big shots. We have seen them do this year after year, and this team has 4 of them stacked up. Watch them as the second half of the season unfolds, we expect a sharp bounce back here. Can they recover from a 2-5 start? Can Salman keep these guys motivated for a late push into this long season? How much longer are those knees going to hold Iqbal bhai, Marash; Gulzar’s knees we no longer count. Can the Milkman keep his cool, playoff basketball brings even more stake to the table. We will wait and see, but brothers in Navy, don’t wait too long to get things together. It’s already 2020, retirements are in the near future, this is the time to get those rings.
Almuttaqeen, the ones who fears Allah SWT. They are aware and fearful of the punishments of wrongdoings. In life, we have to wonder about the consequences of the wrongdoing just as much as the reward of doing good. Without being aware of the laws we need to follow, and understanding the consequences of breaking the law, it becomes difficult to obey the laws. We see this every day around us, hence people stop at the red traffic signals, they try to drive on the correct side of the road. Similarly, we have to try to be the people of Almuttaqeen, the ones who are fearful of Allah SWT, they focus on fulfilling their commitments and fear Allah while doing so, remembering Allah is always watching them. Surely, Allah SWT loves those who fear Him.
Almuttaqeen, led by a veteran captain Ali Reza, got off to a good start to the season, winning the first two games; However, since then Almuttaqeen finds themselves with a sub 500 record of 3-4, losing four of the last five games. It is no surprise they have second best offensive rating in the league (60.43 points per game) with the best shooter in the league on board in Khaled, all rounded players in Raihan and Humayun; Raju bhai’s energy and smarts; Rajon, Raju and Ahmo’s hustles and critical scoring abilities makes them a great offensive threat. However, Almuttaqeen cannot seem to win games more consistently. Having the league’s third worst defensive rating of 62.71 probably has something to do with their team performance thus far or perhaps, it’s their lack of ball movement on offense as Almuttaqeens are tied for the league’s worst 10.2 assists per game. Don’t worry, we are not picking these numbers from thin air. Refer below to see the numbers for all teams thus far:
Absence of their big man Imran has not help, with lack of interior presence, teams are scoring at the rim with minimal resistance. With the second half of the season underway and expected return of their big man, expectation is this team will figure things out and will contend for the top four seeds. We also anticipate a better second half of the season from this team. They must figure out how to stop the other teams defensively, there has to be better defense and more ball movement for better success. But, with veteran starters and veteran leadership, it shouldn’t be a problem at all to implement these changes. The real questions are, how much longer is Raju bhai going to keep picking young players in his team? How much longer will he deny the age? Can Raihan and Humayun work together and sync, similar type of players both needing the ball, both playing at the same team at the same time? Can they move the ball enough and find Khaled open looks; Because we know what he does when he gets an open look. Often, our scorers will usually just count it as the ball leaves his hand. Let’s get things together brothers, Imran is coming back and he is hungry too. Game on.
Almutawakkileen, the ones who rely upon Allah SWT. The ones who have Tawakkul in Allah, their trust in Allah. They trust His plan, they know that after they have done their best, Allah will give them what is best for them. Even when it does not seem to be the best solution for them, they know that it is His plan, and He SWT knows what is best for us. May Allah SWT include us among Almutawakkileen, the ones who put their trust in Him. Ameen.
Men in Black, led by Kabir was one of the best teams on paper at the start of the season. There is no way this team’s record should be at 3-4, but here we are. Losing many close games and struggling through scoring down the stretch, they are at a record below 500. Having arguably the best player in the league in Sadiq, who sits atop the player rankings with no surprise, Almutawakkileen still looks to find consistency. Loss of Khalil early in the season have hurt them significantly. A team full of similar type of streaky players; Shaker a shooter, driver, with energy. Kabir, possibly one of the best at hitting unexpected big shots over and over throughout the game. Always gets you a 3 when you most need it. Not to mention his leadership as a captain, the calm, cool demeanor. Energy of Omar, chasing down that tough rebound; the ability to play multiple positions from Ragib, the smarts of Sayed who continues to get more involved game after game in his first season at YOU. Not to mention, Abdullah Kusari, the man who puts a smile and anger in your face at the same time. Dismissing his entire team as trash only to declare himself as the GOAT is just one of the many things he brings to this league. But, we love him nonetheless, and we love these Men in Black. We know they are not a 3-4 team, and we know they won’t be in the bottom half of the rankings after the second part of the regular season. Look for some great basketball from these brothers, as we look forward to Sadiq seeking redemption this season, Kabir looking to take a team deep into the playoffs, and a bunch of young talented players looking to put their marks in YOU leagues. Can Sadiq get things together late in 4th quarter? Can Kabir lead his boys to work together when it really matters? When will we see Sayed play in thobes? When will Abdullah take things serious? Ever? Is that even possible? Can they really go deep into the playoffs? Will they catch-up to the boys in sky blue for Mu’mineen? The two teams that look to finish at the top of the Mu’mineen are at it consistently. Don’t forget, the best advantage in the playoffs is given to the highest Mu’mineen ranking team, what really matters in YOU leagues. Keep it up brothers, second half is on.
Alsaaliheen are the ones we all strive to be at all times, they are the righteous. The ones who are constantly doing what is right, and righteousness is not only following the rituals of Islam, but it is a set of beliefs and actions that will bring peace to your life and keep your life balanced and safe. A kindness and providing a helping hand towards our fellow human beings, giving to those in need from the wealth you love, fulfilling your prayers and obligations, and abiding by contracts you entered into and fulfilling your promises are all signs of the righteous people. May Allah SWT make us all among the righteous and allow us all to enter Jannah together. Ameen.
Let’s talk about the Alsaaliheen in our league, the team in sky blue, the team leading the Mu’mineen race right from the beginning. The team that entered the league in a storm mode and has since cooled off. We are still trying to add up what has happened since the beginning, only obvious thing seems to be the haircut of Juned, things seems to change everytime he grows his hair long and then cuts them off. Nonetheless, this team has made its mark early on. They are going to make noise this year, and no other teams have taken them lightly since then. A first time captain in Juned, and many more years of leading teams, leagues, programs to come in shaa Allah. He is showing his leadership on and off the court, keeping his cool and working with his boys. Loss of Alen hurt them badly in size and energy. But, this is one team that is full of heart. Arguably the smallest man with the biggest heart in Sipu is here, and you see the impact every single game. The cool and composed Austin Kim, who hardly says anything and lets his numbers do the talking. Besides, he is too busy keeping those glasses on. Sana, an underdog year after year. Even these days people focus on stopping Austin and Juned as Sana makes them pay. We really need to start focusing on Sana, as he keeps his opponents on their toes and can be seen in all parts of the court. Speaking of hearts, who can argue about the heart of Br Sambo! Just seeing this brother on the court brings a smile to our faces. Sambo is a great symbol of what hard work looks like, what many of our youth these days do not seem to thrive in, and how patience and good character can bring joy among others. Omi, another brother spreading joy among others and now showing his improved skills on the court, and the energetic and experienced Saleh, who seems to always make a play when you least expect it. Will Alen be back soon enough in the roster? What will be his impact upon return? Can they turn things around and start being a threat late into the season? Austin is one of the best on the court, no doubt, but is this his year to drive deep into the playoffs? Can Sipu and Sana combo keep this train on track? When will Juned start taking charge with numbers, we know what a scorer he can be. So much excitement in this team, so much to still figure out, so much energy, a team full of hearts, let’s ride this out. Good times ahead, just believe in it and keep working hard.
Love this one, Almukhliseen are the ones who have Ikhlas. They are the ones who are sincere in their actions. We talked about being doers of good, being helpful to others, having fear of God’s punishment, being aware of God’s mercy, and now, we talk about being sincere in all your actions. You see, it is those who are truly sincere in their actions and seek it’s reward from Allah will be the winners. Because, they do not perform their actions seeking reward from others, even the good words from others, they do not focus their attention on what people would think about them, how people would look up to them, instead, they keep it sincere. They remain humble in their actions and focus on it’s reward from God. May Allah SWT make us all sincere in all our actions, the ones we do for our families, the ones we do for our community members, because without sincerity, our hard work may just go in vain. Let’s be of the Mukhliseen in shaa Allah.
Remember how we talked about the great start from sky blue, the great start from green, and how things started to fall apart for them; well, here we are discussing the opposites. The ones that are holding the higher rankings at this point of the season are the ones who lost early, but turned things around. Here is a great example in Almukhliseen. After dropping the first 3 games of the season, they are sitting on a 4 game winning streak with a 4-3 record. Talk about turning things around, ma shaa Allah! Ajdin is a returning captain, he has looked good leading his team thus far, congrats brother! Keep it up, your team looks very poised for a successful remaining of the season. A team full of great brothers, very humble and hardworking. However, here is an even more interesting fact, they are where they are without Mohammed Islam, a key piece for this team. Mohammed continues to be out with his injury and we shall see where this team goes to with his contributions soon enough. Most lethal scorer in the league in Devon is leading this team from the front. While some of us struggle to get a 20 point game, Devon scores 25 during a bad game. There is no better player to hand over the ball to when you are in dire need of a bucket. The big man right at the center with the ability to shoot the ball from any part of the court in Shumon. A great encouraging leader in Ajdin, versatile Rabiul on either end of the court, and the brains of operations in Ahasan and Akmam. Not to mention the consistent support provided by Ahasan and Akmam on and off the court for this team. Ahasan’s injury will keep him off the court for a while, and we hope for a speedy recovery and return soon in shaa Allah. A great brother Ohid with that great looking lefty shot is playing in his first season at YOU. This team has all the right pieces. So many great brothers, so much great talent and the right pieces in the right areas of the court, this team is definitely one to keep your eyes on. The 4 game winning streak, Mohammed’s return soon, the excellent ball movement, the collective hard work on the court, makes this team an exciting team to look forward to. Can Ajdin keep them motivated? Their poise will be tested if they drop a game, how will they recover? Can Devon continue to deliver in key moments, we have already seen him force an overtime and win the game in OT. Can Akmam and Ahasan keep working together to make sure that ball moves, and everyone stays involved? Can they continue to climb the rankings and steal that second seed? We shall see, but one thing is for sure, this team is having fun playing as much as we are enjoying watching them. Keep it up brothers.
Attawwabeen are the ones who repents to Allah, do they not only repent to Allah, but the ones who constantly turns to Him in repentance. You see, we are humans, and we were created by Allah knowing we would be sinful. We are not angels, and none among us are sin free. But, the best of us are the ones who turns back to Allah in repentance. Therefore, no matter what state of knowing God you are at my brothers, it is never too late to turn to Allah. Allah SWT loves those who turn to Him in repentance, because He SWT loves to forgive. Hence, always seek forgiveness for all your shortcomings and do it consistently. May Allah SWT make us all of those who constantly repents. Ameen.
Attawwabeen, the team to watch from day 1. Yes, this was arguably the best team on paper since teams were announced. But, then again, you know what they say about papers, it’s just writings with little meanings until you get to prove it on the court. This team dropped the first 2 games, losing each by 1 point. The team struggled to find any flow in both of the first 2 games. But, since then, let’s just say the tide has really turned. They have found consistency and they have started to really play well together. We have already seen monster numbers from captain Fahmi and Br Ali. Ali averaging over 18 PPG and 17 RPG in the month of December, some ridiculous numbers. But, this does not even highlight the abilities of this team. The sharp scorer Antoine is on board, sharp shooter Juwan and the big man at the center who keeps everyone on their toes in LaDon. This team is loaded with options, and just like it said on the papers, they are starting to show what they can really do when the team clicks together. The energy and experience of Bassam, Omi and Tushar are just cherries on top. This is a team to check your skills against, and speaking of winning streaks, they have piled up a 5 game streak. At 5-2, with 2 game losses by 1 point each, this is still one of the teams to watch going into the second half of the season. Keep handing out those dishes captain cool, keep hitting those shots brothers and keep that energy up as you all collectively work through the W’s. An interesting second half of the season ahead of them, and if they continue to roll in this manner, try to avoid having to face them in playoffs early. Can Fahmi keep this team together and working collectively? Can Antoine keep his cool and let his game do the talking? Can Ali really keep up this level of energy on both ends of the court? Can LaDon, Tushar, Omi, Bassam all really keep complimenting this team the way they have? How is it possible that even after a shoulder injury Juwan hits shots so effortlessly? There is just so much to see with them, and trust us, this is a team that has their eyes set deep into the playoffs. Keep the train moving brothers.
No, you didn’t read those numbers wrong. Yes, they are 7 and 0. But, before we start talking about this team, let’s take a look at the name once again. Alsaabireen, subhan Allah, what a name for what a team, and we have saved this for last. I don’t think we need much of explanation as to who the Alsaabireen are, the ones with Sabr, patience. They are the ones who remain steadfast, and stay committed to their work. They have the patience no matter what comes their way.
This is a great team for this name, how many times have we seen them keep their cool and deliver. Besides, let’s be real, the captain in Amar is a perfect leader for brothers with Sabr/Patience. We haven’t seen many others showing patience like this brother. Remember, that shot, yes, that shot from last year, the final game, the final shot, and the ball lands in the hands of the brother who never, ever, gives up on a play. Amar picks it up and fires it. As the clock runs out he banks it in, with full control over the shot and sending a shockwave through the entire gym. Trust us, we have watched that video over, and over, and over, it never gets old. Amar, welcome back to the league brother, and what better way to dive back into the league then to lead a team, and remain undefeated since hitting that game to start his winning streak. Yes, Amar is 9-0, and his team Alsaabireen is 7-0.
A great captain, with cool and collective nature, and gem full of a team. Let’s talk about the brothers that keeps maroon shining week after week. Almost the entire team is full of players who are playing for the first time this season. We know you all love stats, internalize this stat, none of these players are in top 10, matter of fact, the first player you see on the list is Mohammed Ali at 13. Yes, they are a basketball team, one that shares the ball, one that doesn’t care who scores, one that just knows the W at the end is much sweeter than being in top 10, or winning a player of the month. Imagine this, they are doing what they are doing without their big man Farhan, and wait until he gets back on the court. Farhan makes his presence felt in the paint on either end of the court. The player that always looks to clean the board, and is always looking for ways to score. We mentioned Mohammed Ali, well, he is the key piece that runs their offense. A fluent point guard that knows when to distribute and when to step and hit the much needed shots. A great leader in Mohammed Majhed, oh yes, we see you keeping the youngsters together, and hitting those deep shots as they come. The energy of Mohammed Gobah, it feels like he is everywhere on the court. Big man Kassem Zack right at the center, sticking his hands in and deflecting that basketball whenever needed, hitting those floaters and keeping those boards clean. Rajhib brings his years of experience on board and fits right in with a well organized basketball team. Another brother who is not afraid to have the ball in critical situations, we have seen him convert year after year in needed situations. Last, but not least, Aiyad. Where did he show up from and what a great team ball player he is, ma shaa Allah. Consistently moves around the court, makes his point guard look good and hits some really big shots. On multiple occasions we have already seen him hitting key shots and keeping the team ahead, ultimately getting them the W. There is just so much more to say about this team, but simply put, if you haven’t watched this team play yet, you haven’t seen great team basketball at YOU yet. A complete basketball team with great collective mindset, can they really run through the entire season undefeated? How about continuing into the playoffs undefeated? Who will be the first team to hand them an L? Does it matter? Can anything shake them going into the playoffs? We wait and see. One thing for sure, stay away from playing this team as much as possible.
We enter into the second half of the season in 2020 with a great set of teams in different parts of the rankings. However, no teams are out of the race, as even the purple shows great potential. Watch for Maroon, Grey and Blue to continue their performances into the second half of the season. The remaining teams, all it takes is one win, and it becomes a completely different ball game. Keep it going brothers, we are in for an exciting second half of the season.
Please remember Family Night is on January 11th, invite all your friends and families to join us as we host our guests and display our league and programs to them. Also, Jeopardy will be on the 25th of January, and please wrap-up your community projects for the season in shaa Allah.
Another year to live, another year to be grateful for all we have, regretful for things we have done wrong, another opportunity at making amends with those we have hurt. May Allah SWT bless you all and accept from all of us, forgive us for our sins and shortcomings, and allow us all to enter Jannah together. Ameen.