The following was written by Matt Barnett of Western Michigan:
Honorable Mention: Josh Hill (GVSU)
Most people know who he is and know what a good player he is as well. The only thing stopping him from being on this list is lack of games played this year. To my knowledge, he’s only played one game and it was their loss to MSU at MDC this year.
6. Cole Machiela (SVSU)
Machiela is very debatably Saginaw’s best player, he has a good arm and he looks for those catches. The things stopping Machiela from being any higher on this list is experience and his team’s recent lack of success. That SVSU roster is too talented to be losing some of these games they are losing.
5. Ryan Allor (WMU)
Allor in my opinion one of the most underrated players in this league. The main reason behind that is that Western has not had any success before this year. Allor has a great arm (being clocked at 69mph at the War) and his catching has improved drastically since the start of the year. The only thing stopping Allor from being any higher on this list is that when he becomes rushed he gets flustered and tends to throw balls without intent and get caught.
4. Tyler Peach (GVSU)
Peach is one of GVSU’s main players and the league knows how good GVSU can be when they’re hot. Being part of the national champion squad from 2022, he knows how to win big games. He was also the man that won an 1-11 against Cincinnati. That in itself is insane, especially against a good Cincy team. If that doesn’t show what kind of player he is then I don’t know what will. The only thing stopping him from being higher is that the next 3 players are just better players.
3. Barry Butler III (MSU)
I have personally seen and understood why MSU has had the year they have had, and its mainly in part to Barry and the next person on this list. He has led this MSU squad to great victories and an undefeated regular season. His throw is hard and scarily accurate. He has been looking for and snagging catches, and his survivability has increased.
2. Jack Girling (MSU)
Arguably the biggest reason to Michigan State’s success this season, he locks down the side of the court he’s on and has nasty crosses. Being the best arm on MSU, he has lit up every team he’s played against and every game just adds more and more to his National Player of the Year case. His best quality is his accuracy, this man does not miss any throw. When teams turn their eyes to him, they regret it immediately.
1. Ben Smart (GVSU)
As a surprise to no one the 4-x All American, 3-x National Champion, and 2020 NPOY, Smart has the best case to be #1 on the Michigan OT-6 and also the best case for NPOY. Smart has an innate ability to bait throws and has a shockingly elite catching ability. He is also able to draw teams in and then capitalize on them. Its crazy to think that his/ GVSU’s “down year” is not being favored to win the National Championship. Keep an eye out for Smart at Nationals before he wins his 4th ring.