2020 College Dodgeball All-American Team

The National Collegiate Dodgeball Association continues to grow and improve.  As the number of teams and players in the league increases, so does the competition to make the All-American Team.  With COVID-19 cutting short the 16th season of College Dodgeball, it is time to announce the players who have earned a spot on this year’s list.  Congrats to all the fantastic players who made the cut!

Player of the Year: Ben Smart – Grand Valley State

PC: Mad City

Earning his 2nd consecutive 1st Team All American honor, Ben Smart lands at #1 on this list, taking home the title of 2020 College Dodgeball Player of the Year. This Grand Valley State University star had an impressive season, showing off his skills any time he had the chance. Smart burst onto the scene two years ago in the 2018 National Title Game, and since then the legend of Ben Smart has only grown. He is one of the top catchers in the game, showing an ability to get low and make tough catches on well-placed throws. His arm strength has improved dramatically over the past few seasons, and he now has one of the toughest throws in the entire country to block/dodge. Smart was a play-maker all year long, at times showing he can secure outs at will when he is on his game. Smart will be back on the team again next season so look for more dominance from him in 2020-21.

2) Tom Morand – Miami

With an incredibly well-rounded skill-set, Tom Morand once again lands on the All-American Team in 2020. The star player for Miami University is unbelievable in many aspects of his game. With a strong arm and an over-the-top throwing motion that gives his ball plenty of movement, Morand is an offensive force. Morand’s catching instincts are top-notch as well, with few players having comparable skills to him in that category. On top of all of this, Morand has been a fantastic leader for Miami over the years, building the program from an afterthought to a title contender. Despite battling through some injuries in 2019-20, Morand was able to have enough of an impact to soar all the way to #2 on the All-American list this season. That is a testament to how strong of an all-around player he is. He clearly will be missed next year at Miami. Morand is clearly one of the best players in the country, and an easy choice to make the All-American Team.

3) Evan Eschenburg – James Madison

Evan has been a reliable, consistent player for the Dukes for many years. Now he’s getting the recognition that he truly deserves from his peers. Known as a complete player with big dodgeball energy, Evan thrives under pressure and gets stronger over time. In 2019-20 he emerged as the top player on the East Coast and an easy choice for the All American Team. His strong arm, great hands, and knowledge of the game helped him thrive this season on the court. Eschenburg is very deserving of this honor.

4) Owen Sill – Bowling Green State

One of the more polarizing characters in the NCDA this season, Owen Sill was an extremely exciting player to follow all year. The star for Bowling Green State certainly doesn’t lack confidence in his game, and he backs it up. Sill is a very quick, instinctive player with the ability to take out opponents in many ways. His arm is as good as any in the league, with throws upwards of 70mph and plenty of movement on the ball. On top of that, Sill has a knack for making clutch catches any time he is without a ball in his hands. One of the few players who truly was a threat to takeover a game all by himself this season, Sill is more than deserving of this spot on the All-American team.

5) Nolan Stanko – Grand Valley State

Michigan Region 2019-20 Season Preview – NCDA

Nolan Stanko lands at #5 on the All American Team in 2020 after his most impressive season yet. Stanko has been a strong, dependable player for Grand Valley State for many years, but in 2020 he is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves. One of GVSU’s top arms, Stanko showed impressive consistency locking down one side of the court for the Lakers, making big plays in transition every time he had the chance. Stanko has a very accurate throw, and fantastic timing/instincts on when to take his shot. He also is a very savvy defensive player, only looking for catches that are within his reach. GVSU went undefeated in 2019-20, and it’s hard to argue that they would’ve done so without Stanko.

6) Dennis Sullivan – Michigan State

Dennis has quietly been building his name in the Michigan region for the last three seasons, and he is finally gaining the national attention he deserves. One of the best players on the court for Michigan State, he has an unmatched court IQ and is an extremely reliable offensive and defensive asset – truly one of the best all-around players and a great leader. His strong, accurate throws have the ability to pick off anyone on the court and he has equally matched hands. He was consistently one of the most clutch members of a talented Spartan roster. This year really showcased everything that Sullivan is capable of as a player and proved that he deserves to be recognized as a top athlete. If he has another season like this one, Sullivan will be a strong MVP contender for next season.

7) Jake Bruce – Saginaw Valley State

Battle of the Valleys Preview – NCDA

Jake Bruce has been one of the top faces of SVSU dodgeball for the past few seasons. If you know anything about Jake, you know not to throw his way. He is a notoriously great catcher, but what most fail to realize is that Jake is a consistent and accurate arm for the Cardinals as well. A dual-threat, he is truly their most valuable player on the court. Jake has proven himself a great leader in the 2019-20 season, and he has done a fantastic job at rebuilding and improving their play even in a shortened year. He finally has gained recognition as a top overall player, and he has begun to solidify his own name as a Saginaw Valley great after following in his brother Kyle’s footsteps. Saginaw Valley is in great hands with Jake as one of their leaders, and I fully expect them to be a top-tier threat in the upcoming season.

8) Joe Walsh – Cleveland State

Coming in at #8 on the 2020 All American Team in Cleveland State star Joe Walsh. A very dynamic player both throwing and catching, Walsh had a very strong season in 2020 as an individual. While CSU was not one of the top teams in the country, Walsh caught the eye of his opponents and earned recognition as one of the more dangerous players to go up against in the NCDA. Known by many for his highlight reel plays, Walsh has great instincts and knows how to make the big play, whether it’s a big throw to shift the momentum, or a diving catch. Walsh is very deserving of his spot on the 2020 College Dodgeball All American Team.

9) Cory Nasiadka – West Virginia

Cory’s name has been thrown around a ton over the past two seasons, and for good reason. Even with as talented as he was last year, he showed improvements in his game this season to propel him onto the All-American list. Nasiadka is one of the most gifted players int he entire country. He has a very smooth throw, that certainly doesn’t lack power, and he finds a way to make tough catches look incredibly easy. Some would argue if he was on a more well-known team he would’ve been an MVP front-runner in 2020. Next season expect Cory to be a dark horse MVP candidate as he leads a more experienced WVU team, which is projected to make a huge jump.

10) Ben Johnson – Ohio State

Ben Johnson is earning his first All American spot in what has been Ohio State’s best season since 2016. After a few years of growing pains, the Buckeyes are back in the mix as the best team in Ohio, and much of that effort can be contributed to this man. Ben has a wicked arm and keen catching abilities that allow him to pull up a point from the clutch. He also has an uncanny ability to disappear behind his dodgeball while blocking. Sometimes his arm gets a little tired though, but not to worry, because he can throw about 90% as well with his left just as he can with his right arm. He is a “glue” player that just holds a team together in tough times and get his squad refocused in order to secure the win. Ben has been one of the best players in Ohio for a few seasons now, and it’s good to see him getting his name in the main stage. Ben will be an MVP candidate going into the next season as long as he keeps up the good work.

11) Dylan Greer – Ohio State

No one has put as much time and effort into their game like Dylan has. A real student of the sport, no active player has watched more film or read the rulebook more times than this guy. Dylan is one of the best captains that this sport has ever seen and he’s finally earning the recognition he deserves. Bringing the Buckeyes from near extinction to being a dark horse contender for the National championship is no easy feat. Dylan has a pinpoint accurate throw and a catching ability unlike most. Just when you think his back is turned after a solid toe tag from the middle, Dylan has baited you into throwing at his back and turns over just in time to send you to the outline with a catch. When he is on the court for Ohio State, there will always be a chance for him to clutch the point for his team. And when he gets caught in off the outline, lookout because he plays with more intensity than the best of them. Dylan has been a mainstay in the dodgeball world for many years now, and he’ll go down as one of the best to ever wear a scarlet and gray uniform. Just like his OSU counterpart up there, Dylan will be a for sure MVP candidate for next season.

T-12) Kyle Garner – Central Michigan

PC: Mad City

Kyle “The Gun” Garner may have been one of the most underrated players in all of college dodgeball for the past several years, until now. Kyle makes his debut on the NCDA All-American list after a stellar season, as without a doubt the most consistent player for Central Michigan. Living up to his moniker, The Gun proved he could be counted on to make big throw after big throw for the Chips this season. Making the list wasn’t just a testament to Kyle’s offensive capability though, as he has also shown a consistent knack for lulling opponents into a false sense of opportunity, making more drop catches than perhaps any other player in the league. Though Kyle’s senior season was cut short, he made the most of it, leading the Chips to yet another top 8 finish.

T-12) Shawn Donahue – James Madison

James Madison star Shawn Donahue was excellent this season in all facets of the game and proved to be both a standout player and glue guy for the Dukes. His teammate Eschenburg helped raise the floor of JMU, but it was Donahue that raised the ceiling when he was playing at his best. The lefty had command over the court with a strong throw and leadership presence for the team. JMU was a very strong team in 2019-20, thanks in large part to Donahue’s development and dynamic play. He will certainly be missed next season.

Author: Kevin Bailey

Current NCDA Chief of Content. Former Captain for Grand Valley State University (#4).

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