Here is my top 5 list of the most underrated players in the league. Please note, player #1 isn’t necessarily better than player #2, and player #2 better than player #3, etc. This list is ordered by who is I think is underrated to the highest degree. I hope you all enjoy:
1. Shane Willette – CMU
An easy place to start would be with this impact performer from Central Michigan. In my opinion Shane Willette is one of the top 10 returning players in the NCDA and should be set for an All-American campaign in 2016-17.
Shane earned the respect of his opponents last year especially. Shane is a proven catcher, but what sets him apart from other catchers is his ability to be a dangerous offensive player. He has a well above average arm, and plays fast and aggressive in transition. I truly hope that this is the season the Shane is no longer an underrated member of CMU’s powerhouse team.
2. Zach Parise – UK
I don’t know if there are many people around the league who know who Zach Parise is at the moment, but they will very soon. By no means am I claiming Zach is the most talented player for Kentucky, but he is one of their most important pieces. Zach showed up big time at Nationals, as I remember him being a clutch catcher for the Wildcats. Any player who is so willing to dive all over the court for his team’s success is a player I respect. I look forward to seeing Zach make an even more noticeable impact this coming season for UK.
3. Lucas Salinas – MSU
Alright, get used to this name people. Salinas is the new captain for Michigan State, and while you might not know his name yet, he is one of the top players for the Spartans without a doubt. Lucas quite honestly shocked me last fall when he emerged as a big time thrower for MSU. I was surprised by just how much he was able to improve from the previous season. He was relied upon heavily last year as a thrower, and that should only increase in 2016-17.
4. Kurtis DeYoung – GVSU
I can personally say that Kurtis has been GVSU’s best kept secrect over the past two seasons. Easily one of the most talented players on the floor at all times Kurtis has been a huge asset for GVSU during his first two years. He has also had a knack for coming up big in the clutch. Kurtis came back from a last man standing in the final four game during his freshmen year (essentially winning the game vs. SVSU). His name may strike the memory of NCDA fans now because in the final point of the championship game he made a string of kills causing the announcer to repeat his name over and over at the top of his lungs.
5. Tyler Prill – CMU
All I have to say is that Prill should not be underrated anymore. All season long GVSU coach Dylan Fettig begged the players on the Lakers’ team to stop throwing at him. On a team full of great catchers, Tyler Prill doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. I was saddened last year when he told me about his shoulder injury. It certainly limited his offensive skillset in 2015-16. While it may have held him back last season, I am confident that he will be back closer to full strength this fall. If that is the case, NCDA beware.