Jacob Leski – Central Michigan
The Baller of the Month for June goes to a recent graduate from Central Michigan University: Jacob Leski. Jake was a top performer on a CMU team that finished as national runner-up for the second straight season.
Jake finished up his career at CMU with a stellar performance at Nationals (the championship game in particular). Without a doubt he leaves behind a legacy as one of the most impactful catchers in the NCDA.
I had the pleasure to interview Jake on a number of topics, including his on-court strategy, favorite dodgeball memories, and his future plans. Take a look at our interview below:
March Baller of the Month: Kyle Foster (SVSU)
The Baller of the Month for March is Kyle Foster of Saginaw Valley State University. Kyle played outstanding for SVSU as he helped lead his team to two upset wins and nearly the title at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. Kyle has long been a key player for his team and this honor is well deserved and perhaps a long time coming.
February’s baller of the month goes out to not one, but two players!! This months honor goes to Josh Hicks and Josh Wynn of Western Kentucky University. These two fine athletes earned the honor after leading their squad to a 3-1 record at the UK Invitational. Some may say going 3-1 is no big deal, but this squad was previously 0-4 and defeated in-state rival Kentucky at home. Here is the conversation I had with the two: Continue reading
January Baller of the Month: Zigmas Maloni (DePaul)
Following the tradition of alumni recognition for the month of January, we are pleased to announce Zigmas Maloni as the NCDA’s Baller of the Month.
November Baller of the Month: Zach Bachner (CMU)
First, the content team would like to apologize for the lack of Baller of the Month coverage. We promise to keep a more updated BOTM in the second half of the season.
But as for November’s BOTM, the Co-Captain of Central Michigan, Zach Bachner, has earned the honor. I said in the most recent Average Joe’s podcast that I believe Zach has been the most improved player in the NCDA this season. That is not to say he was not a good player last season. But I do mean to say that Zach has made the jump from good to great. Going from Assistant Captain to Co-Captain, Bachner also bears a much greater leadership role for the 2nd ranked Chippewas. Under his great play and leadership, CMU has won 10 of 11 after dropping their first game of the season. Zach is a major reason why CMU is one of the best teams in the NCDA again this season. I had the opportunity to talk to Zach about himself and his team thus far this season.
Yes, September ended many weeks ago, but the content team decided that since we have a baller of the month, it is only right that the many rookies in our league get acknowledgement for their immediate contribution to their respectful teams this season. Our first rookie of the month comes from a team that seems to lose lots of talent year after year, but never struggles to be a title contender. Saginaw Valley State University has a knack for recruiting great players and inserting them immediately into their line-up and that is exactly what they have done with Kyle Bruce. Since Kyle is a rookie and has only played a handful of games, he has yet to have a picture taken of him playing dodgeball, so if you want to know what he looks like then you will have to meet him at a tournament or simply look him up on Facebook. Continue reading
September Baller of the Month: Matt Bautch (UWP)
This month’s BOTM goes to Wisconsin Platteville’s star player: Matt Bautch. As an individual, Matt had a spectacular first month to the season, leading his team to victory over DePaul in the Pioneer Classic, and then performing very well in the Grand Valley Gauntlet a week later.
Matt has proved to be one of the top arms in the league, but his improved catching is what has transformed him into a likely All-American choice. Playing for am inexperienced team this year, Matt has had to carry much of the load for UWP, and he did just that in games against SVSU and GVSU, where he proved to be the most valuable player on the court.
Here is my conversation with UWP’s star player. He explains his teams efforts to compete against a variety of teams this year, their successful trip to Nationals in 2015, and a ver bold prediction on how far he believes Platteville will make it at Nationals 2016. Continue reading
Our final Baller of the Month for the 2014-2015 season goes to a cornerstone of the Grand Valley State University dynasty, Dylan Fettig. Dylan has been apart of this club since 2010, the final year of Grand Valley’s four year streak of winning the National Championship and had the pleasure of ending his career with another one. What might be a surprise to many is that this is Dylan’s first Baller of the Month award. Read what this All-American has to say: Continue reading
The Baller of the Month for March goes to one of Central Michigan’s captains: Brett Hadwin. Brett is competing in his final season with CMU, and he has had a stellar final year. Brett most recently led Central to a tournament title at the CMU Showdown with wins over MSU, SVSU, JMU, and GVSU.
Brett is without a doubt one of the best all-around players in the NCDA, and he has proven it time and time again throughout his career. It is a shock to me that he had never received the honor of BOTM until now.
I had the opportunity to interview Brett after he was chosen as the Baller of the Month, and as always, he had some interesting things to say. Here is my conversation with Brett where we talk about his goals for his team, his individual skill set, best dodgeball memories, and even his trademark headbands: Continue reading
Trevor Nordberg (GVSU)
The Baller of the Month for February goes to Trevor Nordberg of GVSU. Trevor led his team to an MDC title in February, in the process proving why he is one of the most dangerous players in the league. Here is my brief interview with Trevor: Continue reading
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
Vanswa Garbutt [DePaul-96 Alum]
For this new year of 2015, we take the time recognize some of the Alumni of the NCDA. This Baller of the Month is Vanswa, a DePaul alum and a Senior Developer actively producing a couple of projects the development team is engaged in. Continue reading
November’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
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.