Fireballs' LaCruz and Curry made Top 50 List for #JBLRank
- By Jron Magcale, Day 1, 2024
LOS ANGELES - Today the annual #JBLRank was announced the Top 50 list which was hosted by JBL Commissioner Jason Forte. The announcement method was rather interesting as instead of posting the Top 50 straight, the revelation was made in a series of tweets that was then announced officially after. The annual ranking made a lot of hot takes from media and fans all over as some argued if the players deserved the spot or have dropped from where they see them fit. The Fireballs who is now a completely different team this coming 2024 season have 2 players in the Top 50 this season (They also have 2 last season as Chris LaCruz was #5 while then Fireball wing Isaiah "iMac" McCarty was ranked #50) in #3 rank Chris LaCruz and #40 rank Jamaine Curry, the famed Run and Gun combo of the Fireballs.
The league announced Jamaine Curry first with a twitter post:
#40 (Last Year: 39, Down -1)
Jamaine Curry (Fireballs)
Explosive scorer. Should do well with LaCruz double teams when he isn’t shouldering the full load. Expect a big year now the pressure is off and a lot of off-screen outside shooting. (Source via @JBLNews on Twitter)
Jamaine Curry is no doubt going to be a solid scorer alongside LaCruz in that high-scoring-uptempo backcourt of the Fireballs. Dropped 1 spot from #39 last season as Miami Cyclones franchise player, the explosive guard would very much get the pressure off him as he will be the secondary scorer in Los Angeles. Probably one of the best undersized guard in the league at just 6'3" with an underrated well-rounded skill set (aside from scoring 17.8 ppg in his career, his 4.4 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.8 spg career averages is impressive given his size and reputation of being a scorer). In the past the LaCruz-Curry combo was dominant with both players averaging 22+ ppg (Curry actually 23.2 and LaCruz 22.2 in 2019), the team is hoping they can rekindle that chemistry and help them into making a run at the playoffs this season.
The league then announced Chris LaCruz rank later in the program as he was ranked higher than his previous years, here is the twitter post:
#3 (Last Year: 5, Up +2)
Chris LaCruz (Fireballs)
His 2023 MVP season was a sight to behold -- will be difficult to replicate in 2024 but he is unlike any other (cheat code) in terms of carrying a team right now. Will he ever get tired of not going deeper in the playoffs though? (Source via @JBLNews on Twitter)
This is the highest LaCruz have been ranked as he was #5 in the last 2 seasons. Winning the league MVP last season was a big reason with his improved rank but the fact that he had one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory was also a factor. Carrying the team on his back to a 50-win season when most are expecting them to miss the playoffs altogether. He also was named back to being an All-star and bagging the All-Star game MVP in the process en route to an All-JBL 1st team honor and eventually league MVP. This season, he will get to share the pressure with Jamaine Curry and the retooling of the Fireballs roster will significantly make his job easier. He will still come in as an MVP candidate and will still theoretically carry the team but now in a lighter load with help on the way. The question of will he ever get tired of not going deeper in the playoffs? Well, the team is now structured and built for that reason. He has immediate help in Curry and James Spencer while having developing young guys in Randall Dozier, Cortez Ellison, Rahmond Thompson among others. So, the future may be clearer than the past.
The JBLRank Top 50 listed KCK's Kelvin Hawes as the new #1 while former #1 Dontay Sowder (SEA) slides down to #6. Completing the Top 5 are #2 Alonzo Weaver (PHI), #3 Chris LaCruz (LAF), #4 Jason Cheaney (CHI) and #5 Andre Phifer (SEA). You can check out the complete list of the #JBLRank Top 50 here: http://jblfl.com/articles?id=839