Entering the last weekend of July, the hottest month of the year so far has provided some major heat “Inside The Gates” of the Goodman League at Barry Farms in Southeast, D.C.

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With the playoffs set to start in two weeks, teams are looking to claim their dominance. Two undefeated teams are set to play on the evening of July 31, and there’s also a 5-1 team on a hot run. Along with sleepers and potential upsets, the Goodman League playoffs picture is full of storylines.

Playoff Favorites:

Lincoln Park and the Drew All-Stars remain undefeated and will play each other July 31. The game was originally scheduled for July 25, but postponed due to potential thunderstorms. Both teams are riding a wave of momentum going into the playoffs. Lincoln Park has been grinding out wins like a factory, knocking off Team Funkhouse, Team Ariyuan, Team BF Crazies, and Team Showstoppers, just to name a few.

The reigning Goodman League MVP, Dele Ojo, is “Mr. Everything” for Lincoln Park, contributing on both sides of the floor by guarding the opposing team’s best player and taking on the scoring load. His brother in the backcourt, Bruce Massey, has also been playing great this summer, making them one of the best, if not the best, backcourt inside the gates. The new addition to the team, Zaire “Zeke” Hearst, is the wild card Lincoln Park needed last summer.

As for the Drew All-Stars, they have one of the most complete units “Inside the Gates.” Coach Drew made some changes prior to this summer and the biggest was adding Jimmy Black Jr. to the squad. Jimmy Black is the definition of a scoring point guard. He can shoot it from deep, but also can get inside the paint. Christian “Super Boo” Jackson is the inside presence on offense despite only being 6-foot, 3-inches.

The Drew All-Stars are coming off of a big win against Team Madness, erasing a 12-point deficit thanks to Nate “Old Man Game” Flowers, who went on a personal 9-0 run to help win the game. They also have wins against Team Ariyuan, Team Showstoppers, and Team BF Crazies.

It will be interesting to see how both teams will approach this game. Both have great units and coaches. One team likes to run, while the other likes the half-court game. Both have strong backcourts with good scorers.

Meanwhile, Team Funkhouse is working on a spot in the regular season title game. The Piranhas are led by Justin Black, who has played out of his mind this summer. Black has scored 25 or more points in each of his last two games, recently dropping 33 against the BF Crazies. Team Funkhouse’s main staple is its defense. They can create problems for any backcourt with their heavy pressure and physical play. Two of their players, known only as “PiGG” and Daryl, are the best defenders on the team, and are the ones that set up fast-break opportunities for Jaron “J-Roc” Jackson and Black.

What makes FunkHouse dangerous is the newly acquired Trevelin “The Real Deal” Queen, who has only played two games in the Goodman League this summer but has already created a buzz for himself. In his first game against Team DMV All-Stars, he faced two good players in Aquille “Crime Stopper” Carr and “White Chocolate” and still shined. Queen scored 27 points with a few big dunks. In his second game, Queen scored 18 points, including 10 in overtime, against Team BF Crazies. Only 19 years old, Queen makes FunkHouse—a team that has always been a contender for the Goodman Title—a bonafide favorite.

Playoff Sleepers:

As for the rest of the league, a few teams are just one wild card player away from being a favorite. The defending champ, Team Madness, has some good wins, but tough losses also. They only returned Chris Howard and Andrew “Spongebob” Washington from last season, going through a summer full of roster changes that has haunted them. It will be interesting to see who Larry Madness and Coach Herb will call on for the playoffs.

BF Crazies started off hot but has fizzled out over the last two weeks. The Crazies started the summer off 4-0, but recently fell to Lincoln Park and FunkHouse. Former Duke star Quinn Cook is expected to play with the Crazies once the playoffs start, but we will have to wait to see if former NBA guard Josh Selby will return.

Team Geo Metro, Team Ariyuan, Team Sam’s Ballers, and Team DMV All-Stars could also make a deep run in the postseason, but they will need one or two more pieces. I expect a couple of these teams to bring in some players to compete for a title—but will it be enough? August will be another hot month so stay tuned!