Thursday, November 17, 2005

Juniors Players Playing in College

While i had wanted to have a comprehensive list of all the juniors players playing for the major college teams this year, time constraints forbid it. So instead i figured id give you my resources and let you see for yourselves what you can find.

This weekend is the most prestigious college ultimate tournament of the fall season - the Classic City Classic - held in Atlanta, GA.

Score-o-matic will be there reporting up to the minute statistics, but what is neat is that they have team and player profiles for everyone involved in the tournament. Thus, if you are really interested enough you can find out for the most part, which players played in high school.

By no means have i even begun to do enough research to list all of the players competing this weekend who played in high school. But for anecdotal sake, i will post below those who i first hand know of or have heard of...

Name - College - High School

Tom Annen - Wisconsin - played for Madison West

Brad Bellinger - Pitt - played for William Tennent outside of Philly

Skylar Brunnel - Pitt - played for a high school in Rochester, NY (im blanking on the name)

Jake Christian - Pitt - played for Wissahickon in Ambler, PA

Evan Jenkins - Pitt - played for Mt. Lebonan in Pittsburgh, PA

Nick Kaczmarek - Pitt - played for Bethel Park in Pittsburgh, PA

Matt McCabe (me) - Pitt - played for St. Joe's Prep in Philadelphia, PA

Garrett McInnes - George Washington - played for St. Joe's Prep in Philadelphia, PA

Tim Pierce - Wisconsin - played for Madison Memorial

Dan Sigal - George Washington - played for Pennsbury

David Vatz - Pitt - played for Mt. Lebonan, Pittsburgh, PA

Reed Verdesoto - Pitt - played for CB East High School in Doylestown, PA

this is just a list based on people i know personally or whom i have found while lightly browsing the score o matic sight. as you can see my list is heavily metro east, so if you know someone who will be playing this weekend at CCC who played in high school, comment with the info, i for one would love to hear it.

perhaps later we can open the can of worms as to the greatest juniors player of all time? chase? zip? nord? your thoughts are welcome as always

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

PHUL Top-Billing

There has been tons of trash talk popping up on the PHUL B-Boards about which team is the best in PHUL right now after the two Fall Tourneys. Two teams are obviously leading the way (Hampton and Mt. Lebo), with each having a tournament win. While North Hills is outside of the discussion right now, they have made finals once and I like them a lot, so they are officially included. These three teams are the only teams that have appeared in the finals game of a PHUL tournament this year (Lebo - 2 appearances, 1 win; Hampton 1 appearance, 1 win; North Hills - 1 appearance, 0 wins), so I'm going to do a run-down of these teams and attempt to see who gets official top-billing at this point.

I am going to assess them in several categories: Record against one another, Best Defense, Best Deep Game, Best Short Game, Best Cutters, Best Handlers, and Most Potential for Spring Season (this category kind of is a swing category in case of ties).

Record against one another:
Lebo versus Hampton has been a battle all season with the teams 1-1 against one another (Lebo with a big win over Hampton at Club Sectionals 15-3, but Hampton with a win in the more important game - finals of PHUL Take 1 - 13-10).

Lebo versus North Hills has been totally one sided with NH losing both games 15-6 (PHUL Take 1 Semis) and 15-8 (PHUL Take 2 finals). Obviously Lebo gets the nod in this matchup.

Hampton versus North Hills has been an interesting matchup with the teams 1-1 against one another. Hampton's win came in the more important came (poll play of PHUL Take 1 11-9), but North Hills won a scrimmage 15-11. Hampton gets the edge here, but North Hills is obviously really close behind them.

Hampton took care of business at PHUL Take 1, but outside of that tournament, they are winless against Lebo and North Hills. Lebo's dominance of North Hills, close finals against Hampton, Take 2 championship, and overall better record (10-1 over Hampton's 6-4) give them the edge in this category, but record don't mean everything in this analysis.
Record Edge to Mt. Lebanon

Best Short Game
Of the three teams, North Hills is the only team with a great ability to have a short game as they have the most disc skills with Alex Thorne and Ben Funk being two of the most talented throwers in the league. Add in Colin Conner, Jack Gazdik, and Jeff Olko and the ability to play conservative, smart offense is definitely there to a degree that most high school teams never get close to. They are all experienced players despite their age and are teaching newer players to work in a great system. Whether or not their short game can be good enough to succeed in a high school league is another question, however, I think they can get there.
Short Game Edge to North Hills

Best Deep Game
Hampton rules this category with an iron fist as they feature two big flick hucks in Lukas Truckenbrod and Dan Gurwin and huge receivers Jay Huerbin and Perry Martin. While they rely on their deep shots a bit too much, it can definitely be an unstoppable force. It got them the win at PHUL Take 1 and will give them a shot against every team.
Deep Game Edge to Hampton

Best Defense
This category goes to Mt. Lebo as they possess the ability to play great zone and man defense. Youth Club players Julian Hausman, Pete Imler, and Zach Ehler have a very strong understanding of zone defense and it shows in their team play. Ehler and Imler are also impressive defenders and add in athletes like Andrew Koutsavlis, Zach Zmith, and Hao Su and you have quite a bunch. Julian is also a good athlete, but has some work to do before he fully realizes his potential as a defender. They are probably the only team in the league that can shut down Hampton's deep game as most teams don't have enough guys to matchup against the likes of all Hampton's cutters.
Defensive Edge to Mt. Lebanon

Best Cutters
Gotta give this one to Hampton with Truckenbrod, Perry Martin, and Jay Huerbin being an impressive combination of leaping ability, speed, and skill. Add in the youth movement on the team and the best girl to play in PHUL since the days of Emily Caffee (Christy Lawry) and you have a good assortment of cutters. They are good now, but need to reach some of their potential to be successful in the spring (especially in regard to being better in-cutters).
Cutter Edge to Hampton

Best Handlers
This is a close matchup between Lebo and North Hills as North Hills has the more skilled handlers (A. Thorne and B. Funk), but Lebo has a larger assortment - all of whom are taller than NH's boys. Overall, I think Lebo gets the edge because Imler and Hausman compliment one another really well - with Imler being a great short, conservative throw handler and Julian having some bigger, pretty throws (although not as consistent as Imler's). Throw in Hao Su's ability to handle (good athlete and really nice looking short throws) and you have a great group ready to take over PHUL.
Handler Edge to Mt. Lebanon

Most Potential for Spring Season
North Hills dominates the category. They have an enormous number of young players (all 10th grade or lower) and have picked up some great athletes - although they are underdeveloped in many ways. They are practicing indoors all winter and have practiced throughout the fall to give themselves a great point to start from in the spring. Whether or not their potential will be reached cannot be answered, but they have the potential to change the way Ultimate is played in the Pittsburgh High School League - by showing the positives of a smart, conservative brand of Ultimate. I'll be watching all year to see if they can do this.
Potential Edge to North Hills

Final Summary
Final score is:
Lebo: 3
Hampton: 2
North Hills: 2

Lebo gets my nod as the best team right now. Hampton is the number two at this point even though they tie with North Hills in the score. They have the record, they have the players, they have the size. North Hills comes in third right now, but has the potential to make a big jump into the Spring. Goodluck to all PHUL's teams and I hope this clears up all that B-Board stuff, as I am the foremost authority and my word is always truth.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Coming soon to PlayUltimate

what you have to look forward to in the future from the people at PlayUltimate....

- expanding coverage : we hope to cover the Seattle and Massachussettes leagues in the near future, and eventually expand to covering Georgia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado and Texas

- a weekly poll : this will be coming within the next week or so, with suggestions for poll topics coming from user comments

- if i can get it together i am going to try to take a look at the biggest college teams in the nation right now - namely those playing at the Classic City Classic, and see what portion of each of their rosters is made of players who have played high school ultimate

in the more long term future...

- bios for all of our authors : there is a long "off-season" coming up, in which we will fill the void with a plethora of useful information, statistics, rundowns, recaps etc., but also we will let you get to know a little bit about the people who write for PlayUltimate

- college nationals roster rundowns : a single post for each of last years college nationals rosters detailing which players played in high school, for what programs, what kind of success did they have in high school, at college nationals etc.

- nearing the spring we will produce a list of the top high school teams in the nation based on input from our (at that point more numerous) authors

- reviews of the top high school ultimate camps in the nation

- insights into the biggest college programs in the nation - which ones actively recruit high school standouts etc

- further expansion of coverage until at least every state with a upa recognized high school state championship has coverage

- and of course - much much more.

This is just a small preview of what is to come on the PlayUltimate blog, so stay tuned, link to the site, spread the word about ultimate, and if you want rundowns, previews, stats, and all the other action that goes along with high school ultimate - you know the only place to go is PlayUltimate.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Youth Worlds Hype Party

Yeah, we all have been reading about it on RSD, but they don't got an O-line, D-line breakdown like I'm about to give you. Here's my top 14 players that I would want on my team (this is based on YCCs mostly and some word of mouth). All continued below the fold...

Numbers and teams are according to YCCs.

#17 Adam Miller (Seattle) - had atleast 2 big point blocks on us (Pittsburgh) and had 4 or 5 goals in Finals. Great speed, good throws. Handled and popped against us, but definitely seems like more of a downfield guy than a handler.

#9 Robin Stewart-DeMartino (Amherst) - made huge Ds in Finals, but chased most of the game against us (so I rarely saw him do anything amazing). Handles, but I'm sure he could be a great cutter, too.

#21 Chris Brenenborg (Pittsburgh) - matched up with Ben Carlson of Seattle for a few man points and dominated him (got 3 Ds on one point). Good throws, good mark, solid defense (really starting to improve here). I imagine he would handle because while he is a good athlete, some of these other kids are exceptional.

#15 Dan Schmit (Minnesota) - pretty ridiculous athlete/receiver. Had the best D I saw all weekend and was one of two reasons Minnesota hung around against us.

#3 Adam Shear (Seattle) - tall, good disc skills, good defender. Handled a ton for Seattle against us, but looks like he could be HUGE downfield. Big contributer in Finals.

Noah Saul (Pennsbury) - wasn't at YCCs because Philly had no team, but with Pennsbury being something like 17-1 and Saul being their big player, I assume he's pretty good. I hear he has some big D and is more suited to cut. Can't wait to see him.

#9 George Stubbs (Georgia) - nice throws, pretty fast, club experience I hear. Really smart player, never threw a short turnover against us and only one huck turn.


#15 Darden Pitts (Amherst) - I know we all think of him as a D-machine, but honestly, he's just a great matchup advantage for a Juniors offense. Unless USA plays a team with 6'4" monsters that also have the experience Darden does, he can pretty much be an unstoppable receiver.

#16 Ben Carlson (Seattle) - Great handler, good defense. Just a top notch player with awesome disc skills. Had a ton of assists in Finals. Not a lot of hype around him, just a player who makes plays (and we all know that's what Jimmy P. would want).

Avi from Minnesota - Lots of word of mouth here, but Hopkins was impressive at Easterns and he was apparently their top guy.

Ryan from NMH - I hear all the handler hype about him, gotta be good. Didn't really see him at Easterns, but I was really impressed by both Columbia and NMH, so the top players were likely awesome.

Evan from Columbia - Same thing as Ryan, but I saw him a bit in finals. Made some really sick plays.

Eli Janin of Churchill - Saw some clips of him online, great Ds. Handler and led his team to a matchup in Westerns Finals.

#6 Nate Castine (Seattle) - didn't see him against us (they weren't playing 2-3 guys because they played Amherst after us). Had an amazing D in Finals and surely had a few others that were good, but only paled in comparison. Pretty ridiculous player.

Some others that didn't make the starting 14.

Sam Burnim (Amherst) - great handler, but didn't do amazing things as far as I saw.

Andrew Ji (Madison) - this kid can jump better than anyone I've ever seen.

Other Georgia players - probably have 2 more guys that were real solid (#4 and #29 I remember). Both are tall and would likely be good defenders/receivers (although #29 - think his name was Rivas - seemed like one of those tall handler types). #4's name might have been Ollie?

Jesse Evans (Pittsburgh) - might be too old, but was a huge part of our team. Solid throws, good hucks, okay defense that could be great if he didn't bait so many things.

Lets hear some other talk because man oh man do I not remember much from Easterns and obviously know nothing about Westerns (other than Seattle).