Jon Shaw’s “Way Too Early Top 20”

ncda_logo_squareTowson’s Jonathan Shaw gave some interesting input on his top 20 for the upcoming season.  Take a look at this great write up by Jon:

(Also: anyone else who wants to send in their opinion on the preseason ranking feel free to send them to or a member of the NCDA’s content team!)

  1. Grand Valley State – They’ve won it all the past 3 seasons, and even though the gap is closing between this juggernaut and the rest of the NCDA, this team once again will go in as championship favorites. Losing Trevor Nordberg and Dylan Fettig will be tough losses. Actually, the more I think about it, they will be REALLY tough losses, however the whole team is stacked, and they have two-time NCDA Championship MVP Kevin Bailey at the helm.
  1. Central Michigan – Call me crazy if you want to, but had it not been for the fact that CMU is graduating 2 of its top 3 players this season (Wes Peters, and Brett Hadwin), I probably would have put this team at # 1. Don’t forget they’ve still got mad talent in veterans Jacob Leski, Michael Riley, and Scott La Valley. Alex Holzgen and Joe Kobus are two players that with continuous progression can be x-factors that vault this squad past GVSU next season.
  1. Michigan State – If you don’t already know, one of the best catchers in the league Wes Peters, has graduated from CMU and has decided to go for his Masters at Michigan State. Assuming he plays, this team probably has the best “Top 3” on a team in all of the NCDA. I still cannot imagine seeing Colin O’Brien, Wes Peters, and Noe Galaviz on the same side of the court playing with one another, but if it happens then MSU has a real good shot to capture their first NCDA Championship next season.
  1. James Madison – James Madison will go into next season once again as the # 1 team from the East Coast, but will have to compensate for the loss of some of the top tier talent in their lineup. JMU will be graduating 1st team All Americans Joey Cardella, and Brent Gromer, as well as more major talent in Tyler Willhelm, and Connor Ford. All of which were on last year’s JMU’s overtime six. However, I see JMU play at least 5 times a year, and trust me when I say that JMU has major depth and can make up for these big losses. JMU will have experienced leadership in Captain Ben Sizemore, and will look to players Derek Pierce, and Doug Schilling to pick up some of the slack for the Dukes next season. Zach Booker is in my opinion the “Player to Watch” in the NCDA next season. A man who as a freshman started out on JMU’s B, has grown into an all-around stud, who will be greatly counted on next season to get this team to their first NCDA Championship.
  1. Saginaw Valley State – Every year it seems people go into the season underestimating SVSU. And on paper next year people will probably make the mistake of doing the same again. This team graduates top tier talent in Max Siler, and Kyle Foster as well as Greg Gaskin, Blake Grivetti, Colleen McClure, and Nate Krause. Once again a lot of talent graduating. Towson played SVSU at Nationals, and let me tell you this team can ball. There may be no team in the NCDA that has more middle and bottom tier talent in their lineup than SVSU. This team will look to Co-Captains Cody Putnam and Joe McCumber to lead them into battle next year. Look out for Assistant captain David Cook next year. I hear his on the court IQ is off the chart, and Bernabe Salinas who only joined the club 2nd semester last year is someone who has major raw talent.
  1. Towson – Besides Grand Valley, no team came out of Nationals more satisfied with their overall play than Towson (Trust me on that one). This team graduates 2 starters in Dan Bassindale, and Joe Tobin, but returns a core group of players who have high aspirations and goals for next season. This team got its first taste of an elite 8 appearance, and it’s ready for more. Towson will bring back so many top and middle tier talent guys, which makes this team one to watch for next year. Towson will rely on top tier thrower Mike Hinely to replace Tobin as the Tigers’ # 1 thrower for the upcoming season. Look out for Assistant captain Todd Givens Jr to be an X factor for Towson next year, you lose concentration for one second this man will snipe you, and has a much improved catching game. Towson will also heavily rely on Marc Sayan, (AKA the Bald Eagle) to continue to play a stellar defense for the Tigers. This man plays an aggressive style defense, and will continue as Towson’s unsung hero next year.
  1. Ohio State – I don’t have a lot of info on this team. All I know is we’ve played them, and they are tough competition. If these players are here next season then look out for 1st team All American Josh Levine to lead the Buckeyes for next year. I personally voted for this guy for All American this season because he came up huge at Nationals, but I expect big things from Marshall Winterbotham next year. This man can catch, and will need to continue to make big plays for this team to continue to compete with the big dogs.
  1. Kent State – The Golden Flashes have talent, I just think they have yet to really put it all together. This team graduates talent in Dylan Brumfield, Steven Cassity, and Layla Van Pelt. However this team has top end talent returning in the form of captains Logan Baird, and Albert DePerro. These two will need to work hard to get Kent State back to a Quarterfinal appearance. Keep an eye out for Sophomores Alex Schrippa, and Jesse Hilditch next season. These two showed good potential last year as freshmen, but will need to play like seasoned vets next year.
  2. Maryland – This team can still be a sleeper Final 4 team next year, however they are going to need to get over last year’s Nationals appearance real quick. I said it before but this team’s 0 and 4 record at WKU in no way represents how good this team is. Yes there were some games in which they didn’t play well, but they were down talent. That won’t be the case next year. This team graduates their captain in Dylan Allred, but returns a good core of guys. 1st Team All American Rohan Mittal needs to continue progressing next year. He will still be their #1 throwing option, but it can’t fall all on his arm for this team to be successful. Look out for veterans Curtis Reybold, and Michael Cariello next year. These two boys can play. Maryland’s x-Factor will be Tyler Weiland for next year. He was nursing a shoulder injury last year, but if he comes back healthy, watch out, this team could be dangerous.
  3. Kentucky – This team graduated only one person in Jeff Dewitt. I want to apologize to UK and Captain Zac Brown right now, because even while I’m writing this, I still think this spot is too low for you guys. I honestly just don’t know where to plug y’all. However I settled here in the number 10 spot. This team played with 12 freshmen at Nationals. And if progress continues then they’ll have nowhere to go but up. Leadership is covered in form of the Zac Brown department, and they have talent in Brandon Engleman, and Drew Greenawalt, who is one of the best catchers in the league.
  1. Wisconsin Platteville – I would have ranked this team higher, however they lost all around there best player in Alex Higbee, and at least for right now I don’t see them overcoming that loss in the first half of next season. Don’t get me wrong they still have talent, but I saw 3 of the 4 matches they played at Nationals, and trust me when I say that it is not the same team when Higbee is on the sidelines. Matt Bautch also has an absolute cannon for UWP, and he will be heavily relied on to come up with big throws for UWP.
  1. Penn State – Penn State impressed me y’all. Like seriously impressed me. They lost by one point to both GVSU and SVSU. Seriously. What the F*** is going on here. If Vegas had odds for NCDA dodgeball they would have lost a hell of a lot of money that weekend. Honestly the lines would have been something like GVSU + 4 and SVSU + 3. And I probably would have bet Zac Brown’s farm on both of those games. Is this team only 1 point worse than GVSU…..NO!!! However they seem to work well as a team. Justin Lin (AKA LINSANITY) is a baller. This boy can catch and throw with the best of them. Also look out for William Deutsch, man has cannons for days.
  1. Bowling Green State – You want a sleeper Elite 8 team, look no further than BGSU. The team works together real well. And more importantly they are passionate about the game of dodgeball. Teams that show emotion get extra praise in my book. Tyler Broyles is the leader for this team and you can just tell how badly he wants his team to get better. They suffer a little bit of a hit in losing players Malcolm Blackwell, and Adam Hynes, but they can bounce back. Look for players TJ Wickham, and Nick Broyles to step up next year for this team. I also like what I saw from Eli Hoffer, he listens well to his teammates on the court and has a solid arm to back it up. X Factor for this team goes to Treanna Bidlack. This chick in my opinion is the best female in the NCDA. Boys I’m telling you now you take this chick lightly she will make you pay. She has a good arm, and no not a good arm for a girl, a good arm in general, she also blocks well, and can catch. Not sure if anyone else saw her take over the Females match at Nationals, but I sure did.
  1. DePaul – Don’t know much about this team unfortunately, but they have the most underrated player in the NCDA in Niko Nodal, that has to count for something.
  1. Western Kentucky – Nick Johnson will continue to lead this team into battle, but they need to work on recruiting. This team aint that bad guys, but they are one or two pieces away from being able to compete. They graduate Alex Sorrels and Aaron Hedges from this team and will look to star Josh Hicks to continue his stellar play. I’ve seen video of Hicks. Kid is a scrappy player who does everything well, and being WKU’s best player needs to shoulder even more responsibility next season. Josh Wynn was hurt last season, and if he can heal the cannon he’s got for an arm this team can improve.
  1. Virginia Commonwealth – Marc Antosz started this club up for VCU, and continues to progress this team in the right direction. The man can catch well, and has an arm to go along with it. However he can’t do it alone. Look for players Torao Ota and Hunter Ford (both freshmen last year) to continue improving.
  1. Stevenson – They started last year, and let me tell you, while their work needs a little fine-tuning they have a President who cares and a team full of athletes. Kristofer DeJesus wants to see this team succeed, and when you can find players who want to play 2 nights a week in a small little racquetball court, then you must be doing something right. I’m rooting for you Stevenson.
  1. Akron – All I know is they’ve got Sam Saccareccia at the helm and she’s got game. Don’t screw with Sam or you’ll regret it.
  1. Baldwin Wallace – They played in one tournament in their first semester, lost all the matches, but also took a point in every match they played. That’s a good start.
  1. North Texas – I wonder if the team roots for North Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas, or Baylor. I don’t know. Just like I know nothing about this team.

Author: Kevin Bailey

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

5 thoughts on “Jon Shaw’s “Way Too Early Top 20””

  1. I just want to say CMU lost 1 out of there top 7 players. Wes as good as he was was surpassed by so many others on the team that even he knew that. Wes is amazing player and such guy but a lot of his “top 3 player best player on CMU team” is based on his reputation in the league, but if you really watched CMU you would see that so many others took charge of the court and unfortunately for the rest of the league they will all be back next season.I think you can make the argument that GVSU lost more than CMU by losing Trevor (imo should have been league MVP, since he was CMU nemesis) and Fettig who was a cannon of an arm along with a few other players like Jalen who was one of their better catchers. Yes Bailey is coming back but he better hope he finds another dependable player like trevor and another cannon like Fettig or I don’t see them standing a chance. Just wanted to give my thoughts.

    1. First of all, you’re right that CMU has many top players that don’t get as much recognition as they should. CMU will be bringing back a great core group next year. In terms of GVSU’s situation though, you make it sound like we have nobody left.

      Let’s be clear: going into last year we needed to replace people like Mark Trippiedi, Kenny Bacchus, Vince Baggett, and Kyle Peltier (all of them great players), and yet we went 37-1 and won our third straight title.

      Sure Trevor and Dylan are gone, but Austin Morley will be considered by the rest of the NCDA as one of the top five all-around players in the league by the end of next season (just as Trevor did this past season). Aaron Terenzi’s arm is just as strong as Dylan’s so no worries there either. Not to mention our rookie class last year was the best in the nation in my opinion. You may not have noticed them as much, but that’s because they weren’t forced into roles as the top players on the team right off the bat (that just speaks to GVSU’s great team depth).

      Bottom line is: GVSU isn’t going anywhere. We reload talent as good as anyone in the league, which is why we are back to back to back champs.

  2. If anyone else wants to take time out of there summer to write a 2200 + word article for the Ncda about next years teams, while also contacting members from each team about players departing and returning its welcomed. Bailey did you see that one line. Your defending 3 time Ncda championship team doesn’t stand a chance next year.

  3. I am going to stick by with what I said about how Dylan and Trevor not playing next year is going to have a bigger impact on GVSU than CMU losing Brett and Wes. I have total confidence in CMU team next year especially since most of them will only be juniors and they know what it takes to be GVSU since they were the only team to do so this year. As for recruiting I believe that CMU is just as deep as you guys are and if you don’t think so go back to that title game and watch kobus (who was a sub) hit you in the face. All joking aside it will be a fun year of dodgeball watching the michigan teams compete again for the cup.

    1. Why not write a top 20 of your own Jonathan? Seems like you have some opinions that would be good at sparking debate which we could use around here.

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