As we head into the last week and a half before Nationals, I wanted to highlight some of East Coast’s top performers this season!
- Evan Eschenburg (JMU #10)
- James (JT) Turner (JMU yes, also #10)
- Hunter Stewart (PSU #2)
- Adam Butz (UMD #9)
- Nick Spear (JMU #99)
- Cloud Tapia-Manon (PSU #20)
The man who’s been at the core of JMU’s success for years now. Despite battling injuries the whole year and only playing against top opponents, Evan is still at the top of his game. Coming in with a powerful throw matched by few across the country as well as a wealth of dodgeball IQ and catching ability makes him maybe the most difficult player to play against in the NCDA. Although he may have rested his arm for many games this year, Eschenburg will be a player to watch as JMU looks to capture their first National Championship.
James (JT) Turner
Maybe not the most physically intimidating player on JMU, but there is no doubt he is one of the best. JT is a crafty lefty who will carve up any opponent and has also really improved his catching game this season. Turner’s crosses are top tier in addition to his ability to make good decisions and not get caught out of position. He is a complete player this season and ready to help JMU secure some big wins on National Championship Sunday in Ohio.
Hunter is a player who really flew under the radar for PSU last season. Too many people focused on their senior leaders instead of Stewart who was one of their top players as a freshman. He is a strong thrower, but does not give off the impression of an elite catcher as well. However, I would argue that Stewart is one of the top catchers in the country right now. The sophomore makes some unbelievable catches and really provides Penn State with the star power that is making them a final four contender this season.
While many UMD players often fly under the radar, Butz is one that is deserving of All-American honors this season. Despite being only a sophomore, Adam is far and away the top offensive threat for the Terps, a team who just recently joined the top 10 in the NCDA standings. While always possessing great arm talent, Butz really became more of a complete player this year by learning how to lead a team as well as becoming a strong catcher. If you’re not from the East region, you may not have seen this kid play yet. However, watch out for him to make some noise come Nationals.
While watching JMU, Spear might not be the first player that comes to mind as one of their best. But make no mistake, he is their most consistent performer. As head captain, Nick organizes the Dukes and always makes the smart play. Although JMU may have some guys who are stronger throwers or catchers, none provide the leadership and organizational impact Spear does. If they are to make a run back to the final four and or possibly win the National Championship, Nick will surely be at the center of everything that goes right for them.
Like Hunter, Cloud is another second year player who was not given the proper respect last season. A strong all around transition threat who you’ll often find controlling the center of the court. Not only does he throw and catch, Cloud is an elite support player and really enables PSU to play with a hectic tempo. While he may not make All-American this season, he will certainly be on the radar and a lock in the future.