October’s Baller of the Month goes out to Western Kentucky’s Captain Nick Johnson. Nick just recently led his team to a victory over the University of Kentucky for the 1st time in over 4 seasons. Nick is also the director of this year’s national tournament in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which we talk about in detail. Tune into my interview with him and his thoughts on this season so far.
Jacob Leski: Nick, congratulations on being selected as Baller of the Month, how does it feel to finally beat Kentucky for the first time in over 4 years?
Nick Johnson: It feels amazing, this win means so much to the team and myself. With a young team we were really needing a win and no one better to get that from than Kentucky. Kentucky is a good solid team, and they have had our number and no matter what we did we could not beat them til now. Losing the first point and being able to pull together to get the win was just an indescribable feeling. Outside of Nationals, during the regular season we have only beaten teams that we were supposed to beat, but we finally beat a team that many thought we couldn’t and before this match we had only scored one point. So we were able to get a good win and score some points and as a captain I could not have been more proud of my team.
Josh Conner [OSU-4-C]
The new president for OSU was nominated by the Content Team for this August’s Baller of the Month. In our interview, we talk about club retention, tradition, and advice for new officers! Check it out. Continue reading
Brent Gromer [JMU-00]
The National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s June Baller of the Month is James Madison’s Brent Gromer. Brent had a strong performance at Nationals 2014 in April, after recovering from an injury to his ACL and medial meniscus that kept him on the sidelines for most of the season. In his three seasons in this league, Brent has transitioned from an unknown player, to one of the best all-around dodgeball players in the NCDA. His strong performance at the end of last season earned him 1st-Team All-NCDA honors (Brent was the #6 player on the list, and the top selection from the East Coast Region). Brent Gromer is very deserving of the honor of “Baller of the Month”. Here is my interview with the star player from James Madison: Continue reading
Kevin Bailey [GVSU-4-C]
In regards to Baller of the Month, this player’s name has been floated around multiple times per season. There were many instances where he would have received the reward, but another player qualified just a bit more. Our selection process isn’t very scientific; it’s just a way to showcase a player or a team in the League.
But age old tradition from the Raymer days dictates that April BOTM be the Nationals MVP and National Champion Team Captain. For these reasons, and many more over the course of the season, I’m proud to interview fellow staff member Kevin Bailey… he’s certainly earned it more than once. Continue reading
Max Siler [SVSU-38]
Max Siler is in his second season as the captain for Saginaw Valley State. Recently, Max led his team to undefeated records in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, and DePaul University Invite. SVSU currently boasts a 10-game win streak, thanks in large part to the efforts of their captain. Over the past few years Max Siler has developed into a star player for SVSU, and he is a very deserving recipient of “Baller of the Month”. Continue reading
Andy Lieblich [MSU-20]
Andy is a student at Michigan State, a longtime member of MSU Dodgeball, and for the past few months he’s been a regular staff member of the NCDA. Starting his work with a short Python script for one of his class projects, Andy has since expanded his talents. He’s part of the development team working on the Ratings Percentage Index application for the League. One of the formulas we use in the RPI, similar to the NCAA Basketball formula, carries his namesake. Continue reading
Matt Gonzalez [UNL-46]
Matt of Nebraska-Lincoln Dodgeball is one great guy with a positive attitude, and known for a mighty beard. Some say the pure black of the full beard, when coupled with the Nebraska red, combines to create a sight to intimidate even the most seasoned opponent. His performance on the court, hospitality, and awesome demeanor led his fellow Nebraska Invite captains to nominate him for 2013 November Baller of the Month. I sat down to interview him over the internets.
Joey Cardella [JMU-15]
Joey has changed a lot as a player in his three years in the NCDA. Originally a player known just for his throwing ability, he has evolved his game to become a top level catcher in the league. Much like other past BOTMs, Cardella is usually overlooked by other teams because he plays with star players like Andrew Hassett, Ben Sizemore and Brent Gromer. Joey worked his way into the upper echelon of players starting at last year’s Nationals in Kentucky, where he caught seemingly everything thrown his way. While it is still a debate over who is JMU’s best overall player, Cardella has been making a great case for that title with the way he ended last season, and how he’s started this one. Continue reading
Wes Peters [CMU #27-C]
Wes has done a lot of things throughout his career at Central Michigan. He started off as a relative nobody his first season, a little overshadowed by the superstars that CMU had. Still, he won a NCDA National Championship that year at Nationals 2011. Central was the favorite heading into the 2011-2012 season, and despite not playing many games that year, teams started talking about CMU’s amazing catchers in Wes Peters and Brett Hadwin. The two were seemingly tied together with every discussion of great catchers in the league, but they both were proving to become top tier catchers. Wes tore his ACL in the spring of 2012, but not only played, but played well, on one leg at Nationals 2012. Continue reading
Jonathan Shaw (TU #11-C)
Jon was a bright spot for a Tigers squad that was one of the most talked about teams, despite missing some of it’s key weapons at Nationals 2013. He leads not just through his words, but his play, and he’s got Towson on the right path towards becoming a dominant team on the East Coast. Shaw was an All-Star for the Brave Little Toasters at Nationals 2013, and also made the All-NCDA second team. With those personal credentials and the fact that he’s guided Towson to a Top 10 finish in just their second NCDA season, Jon definitely is a Baller to watch for in 2013-2014. Continue reading
Alex Swedowski [UWP #3-C]
Alex Swedowski (UWP #3-C) led his team to a great performance at Nationals 2013, and was named ALL-NCDA Second Team by his peers for his performance. Alex was also an All-Star for the BLTs, and his Pioneer team was the breakout team at Nationals 2013.
Becky Seemann [DePaul #9] & Rachel Joyce [#12]
Rebecca Seemann (DePaul #9) is a third year lady dodgeballer for the DePaul Dodgeball Society and has competed in NCDA events for the past three years.
Rachel Joyce (DePaul #13) is also a third year lady dodgeball for DePaul, and will be graduating in just a few weeks.
I sat down with the both of them for an interview:
Sam Hiller [MSU-C-87] [NCDA Chief of Content]
The April Baller of the Month is one of the more specialized awards out of the year. Because we choose the BOTM in the middle of the month, it usually falls after Nationals, and thus there is usually a great story behind it.
This April, we celebrate the NCDA’s own Chief of Content, Sam Hiller. The sheer amount of writing this man has done for the NCDA over the past year is enough to warrant the award… but a very special icing on the cake involves MSU making it to the Championship. Continue reading
Zach Phelps [SVSU-2-A]
This month’s Baller of the Month helped lead his team to a second place finish in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, as well as winning the BEAST II at James Madison. Phelps went from being a complementary player on last year’s National Championship team to one of the stars of the #4 ranked team in the country. Zach has a good power arm, can catch, and more importantly is one of the leaders of a surprise team and one of the most improved players in the country. Continue reading