Listed below is the 2020 All-Region Team for Michigan. This list was voted on by captains within the Michigan Region.
1. Ben Smart – Grand Valley State
Landing at #1 on the All-Michigan list in Grand Valley State star Ben Smart. Known for his great instincts, clutch catching, and devastatingly accurate throws, Ben Smart is the definition of an all-around player. At times this year it seemed like he could eliminate opponents at will. The lefty for the Lakers has such phenomenal movement and placement on his throw, and great timing in transition, that he can pick off opponents at a very efficient rate. Smart helped the Lakers to an undefeated record prior to the season being suspended, and while he would’ve loved to finish out the year with a National Title, he will be back next fall to help lead GVSU in their pursuit of a championship.
2. Dennis Sullivan – Michigan State
In his third year on the roster, Dennis Sullivan developed into a great leader and steady performer for the Spartans. One of Michigan State’s most experienced athletes, Sullivan held a major role on the team, sparking their offense many times throughout the year. Sullivan is an all-around dodgeballer, with a great arm, and solid hands. His instincts, knowledge of the game, and leadership were keys to his team’s success this year as the Spartans became a much more strategic and level-headed squad as the year went on. Sullivan and the Spartans were poised for a strong finish to the year prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, so we will have to wait until next season to see he and his teammates develop even more.
3. Nolan Stanko – Grand Valley State
Grand Valley State gets 2 of the top 3 in this year’s All-Michigan list with Nolan Stanko landing at #3. Stanko has been a consistent producer for GVSU over the years, and in 2019-20 he stepped it up to another level. Time and time again, Stanko was a dominant force for GVSU this year. Stanko is an incredible transition player for GVSU, with good speed, a quick release, and of course, great reaction skills to dodge or catch. His presence was felt this year in a big way as he usually held down one side of the court for GVSU, usually playing from one sideline.
4. Jake Bruce – Saginaw Valley State
2019-20 was a bit of a rebuilding year for Saginaw Valley State University, as they were forced to give big minutes to many rookie players. For that reason, the team did not have a banner year, but they were still a strong, competitive team. The fact that SVSU was still relevant and able to compete with top-level teams is thanks in large part to the amazing talent and leadership of their veteran Jake Bruce. Bruce is a highlight machine, with quick feet, top-notch catching instincts, and a more than reliable throw. This year was an impressive one for Bruce, as he managed to help develop the SVSU roster over the course of the year, while also remaining a major standout performer. One of the best players in Michigan, and Nationally, Jake Bruce had a strong season in 2019-20.
T-5. Kyle Garner – Central Michigan
Central Michigan’s Kyle Garner had quite the breakout season in 2019-20. A true play-maker for the Chippewas, when Garner was on his game, the Chips were a difficult team to beat. The CMU star stepped up into a bigger offensive role in 2019-20 and did not disappoint. He was a focal point of CMU’s attack and had improved accuracy and timing on his throws all season. Garner makes a huge impact with his catching as well, often scooping up catches on balls that look near impossible to bring in. Garner is more than deserving of a spot on the All-Michigan list after the season he had in 2019-20.
T-5. Alex Jonauskas – Grand Valley State
Alex Jonauskas once again finds himself on the All-Michigan team after another strong year. A veteran leader for GVSU, Jonauskas was a big reason why GVSU had such a strong season, going undefeated prior to the season being suspended. Jonauskas is known for his amazing survivability at the end of points, and that was on display again in 2019-20. He is also a smart player who puts himself in the right position time and time again to secure transition kills, or make big catches. GVSU will have a hard time replacing this star next season. Congrats to Alex on making the All-Michigan list.
7. Jawanza Edwards – Central Michigan
Jawanza Edwards comes in at #7 on the All-Michigan list after a strong season. This second-year player really improved his game going into year 2. In 2019-20, Jawanza was a very dangerous catcher, and a dependable arm offensively as well. CMU was still a young team this year, but Jawanza and many other second year players on their roster stepped up as leaders and it showed. Edwards looked like a veteran on the court in 2019-20.
8. Jared Brown – Central Michigan
Jared Brown was the definition of a catalyst for Central Michigan this year. Brown embraced a much larger role this season, and was a major reason for the team’s success. Brown did a fantastic job dictating the pace of the game, pushing his team up and down the court. When Brown was making plays, his team was thriving. Playing mostly from the middle of the court, Brown had much improved court awareness, strategy, and decision making this year. He and the Chippewas were poised for a strong finish to the season until it was suspended due to Covid-19.
9. Eric Nelson – Central Michigan
Eric Nelson makes the All-Michigan list after a solid 2019-20 season. Nelson was a great leader for CMU this year, helping them transition from losing two of their top arms a year ago and still remaining a force nationally. Nelson has a great side-arm throw and a good eye for making catches. He also is particularly dangerous at the end of points, always seeming to find the right timing to make a big throw. His skillset, and vocal leadership were both crucial pieces for Central Michigan in 2019-20.
10. Jacob Georges – Michigan State
Michigan State gets another player on the All-Michigan list thanks to Jacob Georges. The second-year player for MSU really developed in 2019-20, and was often the best player on the court. One of the most talented players in the state, Georges has a cannon of an arm, and is not afraid to get his body in front of a throw to make a catch. There were moments this year, even against the top teams in the country, where Georges would take over a point, making big throw after big throw. Considering the rapid pace at which he was improving his game, one has to think if the season weren’t cancelled, Georges may have played his way higher on this list with a strong performance at Nationals.
11. Jack Hilt – Michigan State
Jack Hilt lands at #11 on the All-Michigan list after a solid 2019-20 season. While he battled through some injuries this year, Hilt was still able to be a standout performer for an improved Michigan State squad. Hilt is a big play waiting to happen, thanks to his strong arm, and unbelievable catch radius. Hilt is likely most well known for being able to make all-hands catches on throws whether they are an inch away from the ground, or far above his head. Having a playmaker like Hilt is always helpful, and MSU’s solid season is due in part to Hilt’s performance.
12. Josh Hill – Grand Valley State
Grand Valley State Captain Josh Hill makes his first All-Michigan list after leading the Lakers to an undefeated record in 2019-20. Hill came back from shoulder surgery to play this season, and while he was still rounding into shape in 2019-20, he was able to make a big impact for GVSU. Hill’s leadership was crucial for the Lakers as they were able to remain undefeated all season, with a few clutch overtime wins along the way. Hill is a quick player in transition, and an opportunistic catcher. His all-around game improved throughout the year, and will be even more dangerous come next season once his shoulder is fully recovered and healthy.