Highlights from the Inaugural Season Combine and Draft
First off, I’d like to thank everyone involved for helping shape a very successful Inaugural Season Combine and Draft. Out of 39 eligible athletes, 33 participated in the Combine in some capacity. Participation will be key to the season’s success, so it was great to see so many faces putting forth a full effort. Competing through physical and skill based activities, athletes looked to impress team Owners, and give themselves a better shot at being drafted later in the night.
Many of the players haven’t competed in a tryout scenario since their club days. It was a chance to compare against peers in a new way between already extremely competitive people (Further evidenced at the Wiskar Christmas charades party this weekend), and everyone seemed willing to put forth a great showing. Skill drills were led by Don Saxton, and were designed for Owners to see what players were capable of. Physical stations gave a concrete score to the athletes. Top male and female results from the physical stations went as follows:
|Standing Reach||Stephen Nash – 8’7″||Lainna Buch – 8’3″|
|Block Touch||Aleksandar Borisov – 10’5″ Daniel Rod – 10’5″||Lainna Buch – 9’5″|
|Spike Touch||Daniel Rod – 10’6.5″||Lainna Buch – 9’5″|
|Side-Line Agility||Krzysztof Orman – 4.40s||Tamiko Young – 4.94s|
|Standing Med Ball Toss||Jared Krause – 6.42m||Colleen Ogilvie – 5.45m|
|Seated Med Ball Toss||Alexander Harvalias – 3.20m||Danielle Curtis – 2.81 m|
All athletes profiles will be update with their physical scores over the next week.
The last hour of the Combine saw everyone play more traditional volleyball. Not exactly the same, since players were encouraged to rally with a variety of partners. Each rally gave a good look at what the athletes can do in game like situations, and team Owners in attendance had their scouting sheets out during their last look at the players, making any last minute changes to their pre draft rankings depending on which players could impress on Saturday night.
Then just like that, the draft was upon us. Unfortunately, technical issues affected the live stream, but Jayme Lepp and Rob Driscoll stepped up huge, with an excellent impromptu Instagram Live play-by-play. The 6 team’s Owners and GMs took their turns and made their picks. The women dominated the first 2 rounds, selected in 7 of the first 10 picks (not including player owner, self drafts). Kumiko Chow was drafted number 1 overall by Grant O’Gorman, GM for Volleyball Stuff, which earned her the right to reveal the yet-to-be-named NBVL Trophy. The entire draft order can be found at the end of this article.
There were some surprising choices, and others that were not so surprising. Based on numbers from the physical testing and analysis from my source in the middle of the action (my parents running the drills), I’ve come up with 2 top value draft choices. These are the players who I think are most likely to outplay their draft position and benefit their respective teams.
For the women, drafted 17th overall, Tamiko Young had the fastest time in the Sideline Agility, and also ranked in the top 5 in every physical test besides the seated med ball toss. She was also rated very highly by the unbiased Combine coaches Don + Mylene Saxton, who both thought she was drafted far lower than where they rated her.
On the men’s side, Krzysztof Orman scored similarly high in the physical testing, and is already a highly established player in the Kits community. The reason for him being drafted 23rd overall was due mainly to his having to miss the first 3 matchups of the season. When he returns, however, he will have a good chance to make an immediate impact.
So now the teams are set, and Owner’s are learning the ropes of managing their teams. It’s new ground for everyone, but already transactions are being made. Volleyball BC made the NBVL’s first Free Agent acquisition, picking up Daniel Rod to fill in while Krzysztof misses time. Rod, who had the highest spike touch of the field, might even be able to steal the starting spot away if he performs well. The first trade was also made last week, when Active ReLeaf received Tamiko Young from Dunbar Cycles in exchange for Colleen Ogilvie. We’ll have to wait until the season begins, January 6th, to see which side gained the most value.
As we head into the holidays, the preseason will hit it’s stride. Teams have already begun their training, only time will tell who will be in the best shape come Opening night. Which team do you think will take home the Title?
- Kumiko Chow – Volleyball Stuff
- Denise Wooding – Volleyball BC
- Jana Weir – Moveo
- Joanna Braun – Natura Solutions
- Rob Venables – Dunbar Cycles
- Krystian Wetulani – Active ReLeaf
- Colleen Ogilvie – Active ReLeaf
- Stephen Nash – Dunbar Cycles
- Jared Krause – Natura Solutions
- Aly McKay – Moveo
- Jonny Wiskar – Volleyball BC
- Katie Wuttunee – Volleyball Stuff
- John Galloway – Volleyball Stuff
- Meghan Brown – Volleyball BC
- Ryan Gandy – Moveo
- Jaz Kim – Natura Sport
- Tamiko Young – Dunbar Cycles
- Chloe Stone – Active ReLeaf
- David Beleznay – Active ReLeaf
- Kelsi Boroevich – Dunbar Cycles
- Murray Laidlaw – Natura Solution
- Alexander Harvalias – Moveo
- Krzysztof Orman – Volleyball BC
- Joel Caschetto – Volleyball Stuff
Big thank you to all volunteers: Don Saxton for heading the skill testing drills. Kumiko Chow, Jayme Lepp, Grant O’Gorman, Joel Caschetto, Mylene Saxton and Stephen Nash for manning the physical testing stations. Jayme Lepp and Rob Driscoll for entertaining and informing the online viewers. Last but not least, all photo credit goes to Emily Raymond, who also volunteered to keep me organized enough to get through the evening (the most difficult task of all).
Just a week left until the NBVL Inaugural Season Draft. Update on registration: Both the men and women have hit the minimum number of required players (though there are an unlimited number of spots available, and until Dec. 7th to register). Still looking for that last Owner to step up to become a part of NBVL History, but it’s shaping up to be a fun Combine, and an entertaining Draft.
I’ve mentioned this in our intro videos, and in the League vs. Tour article that was posted about a month ago, but since I was a child, I’ve always loved pro sport’s leagues, and wished I could be a part of them. I’m not alone in this, countless households tune in to various pro sport activities on a daily basis. So many children and adults alike are captivated by their favorite players and teams as they take action in all the various National “Insert sport” Leagues/Associations. I would always track how Steve Nash’s assist total would grow over the course of a season for the Mavericks and Suns (we won’t talk about the Lakers). I’d try to guess whether Peyton Manning for the Colts or Tom Brady with the Patriots would break the next QB record. I’d get excited knowing that Jerome Iginla was about to heat up for the Flames now that November had rolled around. When Lisa Leslie dunked in a game for the first time, it changed what people thought was possible, and gave the WNBA it’s due in the male dominated world of pro sports leagues.
Professional sports league’s bring with them a countless number of narratives, that revolve not only around the Teams, but also the players themselves. An athlete can become a hero over the course of a season. Their play can define the stories that will be shared about them from one game to the next. It’s the strength of the team as a whole that wins games/seasons/championships, but it’s the individual efforts that can win lifelong supporters.
As we move into the Inaugural Season Draft, I want to recognize those players that are taking the leap to register. The NBVL is providing a platform for beach volleyball to grow in Canada, but these players in Vancouver will get the chance to write the first chapter of the narrative. Here’s the story as I see it heading into Draft night.
The key thing to pay attention to during draft night, is the comparative value of men versus that of the women. There is still a week left to register, so we don’t yet have the whole picture when it comes to numbers, but as it stands, the count is at 12 Women, and 18 Men (Sadly the women’s number dropped after an unfortunate injury to Jayme Lepp, we wish her a speedy recovery). This means that comparatively, each woman’s value amongst their own gender, in theory, should be more valuable than their equally ranked male counterpart by a ratio of about 3 to 2 (I’m not entirely certain if that’s how the odds should work in this case, please feel free to correct me) What I’m getting at is that the top women are more valuable than the top men, because from a simple numbers standpoint there should be more top men to choose from than top women, meaning that each top female player should provide more of an impact on a per game basis compared to the field of players. To summarize further, Ladies rule, Fellas Drool.
Theoretically (again) it is possible for every player to be of equal skill, and for every team to be exactly equal in all ways, and we haven’t seen how the Inaugural Season will play out, so for all we know that may end up being the case. Someone still needs to get picked first, however, so every player will inevitably be ranked. I won’t personally be the one to put out a player ranking, if that’s what you’re here for. I could, but there are still likely to be some last minute entries that could turn any pre-draft predictions on their head. Plus, I want the team Owners to come to their own decisions and not draft based on what I’ve written down for them (no cheat sheets here). Instead, I will give a few interesting preseason facts about some of the players that are blazing the trail for the NBVL.
-At 21 years old, Justin Faester is currently the youngest player registered, and will hopefully be a mainstay in the league for years to come. At 44, Ryan Gandy is the “most wise”. Tamiko Young is neither, but remains forever Young
-The average age of all players is 32.3 years. The women are far more youthful, averaging 32.2 compared to the elderly men averaging 32.4
-Only one of the players has won the Vancouver Open, Denise Wooding earlier this year. Joanna Braun has come the next closest with a 2nd place finish in 2015
-The most common name is John/Jonny shared by John Galloway, Jonny Wiskar, and Jonny Wong
-The first player to register, on Saturday, October 27th, was Kumiko Chow, making her THE trailblazer amongst trailblazers. Chloe Stone is our most recent addition, over a month later on November 29th.
–Krystian Wetulani is the only player guaranteed to be drafted as the only Player/Owner so far. This will negate Active ReLeaf‘s first round pick, however, and makes Krystian ineligible to be chosen as the coveted first ever #1 pick in NBVL History
This Wednesday, December 5th, all team Owner’s will be locked and the Draft order will be selected by random draw. All the players will have the opportunity to show themselves off at the NBVL Combine, then twenty four athletes will be selected at the NBVL Draft on December 8th, at 6Pack Indoor Beach. Choices will be made, players will be chosen, and the very first stars of the NBVL will be born. I hope you all enjoy the show.