BOTM: 2015 January

tyrell smith

Tyrell Smith (BGSU)

After a strong performance at the Kentucky Invitational, your January Baller of the Month is Tyrell Smith of Bowling Green State University.  Here is an interview I had with Tyrell after the tournament at UK:


Kevin Bailey - First off, congratulations on winning NCDA Baller of the Month.  You have been a standout player for Bowling Green State for a few years now.  What do you think is the reason for your individual success on the dodgeball court? Continue reading

BOTM: November

10511392_10204366422100279_4913137558989160677_oNovember’s Baller of the Month is Maryland’s Steve Via. Via has been an integral of Maryland’s recent success, helping them to a stellar 6-3 record in the fall. With clutch catches, solid blocking skills, and emotional leadership, Steve has elevated his level of play to help his team in whatever capacity they need. While he is not the highest profile player on UMDs team, he is certainly making a name for himself as the year progresses. I got a chance to talk to Steve recently and pick his brain about a few topics. Continue reading

BOTM: October


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.

Continue reading

BOTM: September

10625062_10204927741612259_6010294757759637175_nThis Month’s Baller of the Month goes to Michigan State Captain Colin O’Brien.  Colin has led his team to a 6-3 start to the season with solid performances both at the CMU Invite and GVSU Invite.
At CMU on Sept. 20th, O’Brien rallied his team back as the last player standing in a game vs. Central.  He was able to make a few clutch catches at the end of that point to help tie the game 1-1 when it looked like it would go 2-0 in favor of the Chippewas.
At the GVSU Invite MSU ended up losing two games, but both of them were close matches against elite teams.  The Spartans relied heavily on Colin’s accurate throw as they competed very well that weekend.
Overall, O’Brien had a fairly productive first month of the season.  He has emerged as one of the most dangerous catchers in the league, and has taken on a leadership role for MSU while continuing to improve as an individual.
I was able to talk with Colin on his early season success, and hear what he had to say about himself, his teammates, and his predictions for this NCDA season.
Kevin Bailey - First off, congratulations on being selected as Baller of the Month. It’s still very early in the season, but MSU looks to be a national title contender this year. What have you done in your first year as captain that has helped improve the overall performance for your team?

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BOTM: 2014 June

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

BOTM: 2014 April

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

BOTM: 2014 March

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

BOTM: 2014 January

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

BOTM: 2013 November

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.
Continue reading

BOTM: 2013 October

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

BOTM: 2013 August

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

BOTM: 2013 July

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