Off the Block releases watch list for 2018 Ryan Millar Award

Twenty-two college men’s volleyball middle attackers have been selected to the 2018 watch list for the annual Ryan Millar Award.

Off the Block unveiled on Friday the preseason watch list for the national award that is presented to the best middle attacker in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.

Among the middle attackers on the watch list are four Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-Americans. In addition, both Loyola middle attacker Jeff Jendryk and Ball State middle attacker Matt Walsh made the watch list after being finalists for the 2017 Ryan Millar Award.

The watch list for the 2018 Ryan Millar Award was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout middle attackers to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Ryan Millar Award will be selected at the end of the regular season by a nationwide voting committee comprised of coaches and media members. The top-three vote-getters will be named finalists, while the player receiving the most votes will be the winner of the Ryan Millar Award presented by Off the Block.

The Ryan Millar Award started in 2016 and was named after the former BYU All-American and former member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. The naming of the award after a player was done in an effort to honor and incorporate the history of college volleyball into this award.

Previous winners of the Ryan Millar Award are former Stanford middle attacker Conrad Kaminski and former Long Beach State middle attacker Amir Lugo-Rodriguez.

This is one of five position-based awards presented in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block presents the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker and the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero.

These are the only national position-based awards in college men’s volleyball. Several volleyball organizations give out national end-of-year awards such as All-American Teams, but no national award before last year was specific to a position.

Off the Block launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

2018 Ryan Millar Award watch list

Luca Berger, NJIT
Taylor Bloomquist, Sacred Heart
Trevor Dow, Harvard
Patrick Gasman, Hawai’i
Deanna Gyimah, UCLA
George Huhmann, Princeton
Price Jarman, BYU
Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
Ashton King, Grand Canyon
Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Sam Lewis, USC
Matt McManaway, North Greenville
Myles Miller, Alderson Broaddus
Junior Oboh, Princeton
Kevin Rakestraw, Stanford
Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara
Sam Schindler, Lindenwood
Brendan Schmidt, McKendree
Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Don Thompson, Emmanuel
Matt Walsh, Ball State
Jon Wheaton, King

2018 Ryan Millar Award watch list player bios

Luca Berger, NJIT
Berger transferred to NJIT in the offseason after being in the nation’s top 10 with a 0.47 aces per game average last season. The former Coker middle attacker also hit .413 and had a team-high 69 blocks to help the Cobras reach the 2017 IVA Tournament finals.

Taylor Bloomquist, Sacred Heart
Bloomquist led the EIVA and was sixth in the nation with a 1.19 blocks per game average and his 105 blocks last season was the second-most during a single-season in Sacred Heart history. He also was in the nation’s top 20 with a .340 attack percentage as Sacred Heart qualified for the EIVA Tournament for the first time in more than five years.

Trevor Dow, Harvard
Dow was second in the EIVA and among the top 15 in the nation averaging 1.05 blocks per game last season. He also hit .390 and had four or fewer attack errors in every match as Harvard finished last season in fifth place in the EIVA.

Patrick Gasman, Hawai’i
Gasman as a freshman finished in the nation’s top 10 with a 1.09 blocks per game average last season. In addition, Gasman had a .380 attack percentage as he earned Freshman All-MPSF honors and helped Hawai’i advance to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Deanna Gyimah, UCLA
Gyimah had double-digit kills in seven matches and was among the national leaders with a .494 attack percentage before he missed the final month of the 2017 season with an injury. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American during the offseason also played for Canada at the FIVB U21 World Championship and finished in the tournament’s top 30 with a 0.38 blocks per game average.

George Huhmann, Princeton
Huhmann, the 2017 EIVA Newcomer of the Year and Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American, ended last season leading the EIVA and ninth in the country with a .387 attack percentage. He also spent his offseason playing for the United States in the FIVB U21 World Championship and concluded the tournament among the top 20 players with a 0.46 blocks per game average.

Price Jarman, BYU
Jarman led BYU and was among the nation’s leaders with a 0.98 blocks per game average last season. The all-conference selection also added a .464 attack percentage and helped the Cougars reach the NCAA Tournament finals for the second straight season.

Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
Jendryk, a 2017 finalist for the Ryan Millar Award, ended last season fourth in the nation hitting .431 and was seventh among all players averaging 1.16 blocks per game. He also was named the 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Offseason after helping the United States reach the FIVB World League Finals and contributed a .621 attack percentage during the tournament.

Ashton King, Grand Canyon
King ended last season in the nation’s top 15 with both a 1.09 blocks per game average and a .344 attack percentage. This was the second consecutive season he had more than 100 blocks as he helped the Antelopes reach their conference tournament finals.

Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Leeson finished last season in the nation’s top 20 with a 1.03 blocks per game average, including having seven blocks in a sweep against Hawai’i in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The 2018 Preseason All-MIVA selection also had a career-high .434 attack percentage in 2017 as he helped the Buckeyes win back-to-back NCAA championships.

Sam Lewis, USC
Lewis as a freshman will compete for a spot in the USC starting lineup. The middle attacker spent the offseason playing with for United States at the FIVB U19 World Championship and ended the tournament among the team leaders with 10 block, while adding 25 kills on a .283 attack percentage.

Matt McManaway, North Greenville
McManaway was among the ConfCarolinas and national leaders with a 0.95 blocks per game average last season. The All-ConfCarolinas selection also was in the nation’s top 40 with a .298 attack percentage and added a career-high 28 aces as he helped North Greenville make the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Myles Miller, Alderson Broaddus
Miller, the 2017 IVA Player of the Year, was third in the nation with a 1.21 blocks per game average last season. He also was among the national leaders hitting .327 and helped Alderson Broaddus win the inaugural IVA championship.

Junior Oboh, Princeton
Oboh ended last season with a .432 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in four matches. The All-EIVA middle attacker also was among the conference and national leaders with a 0.88 blocks per game average as he helped Princeton reach the EIVA Tournament semifinals.

Kevin Rakestraw, Stanford
Rakestraw remains with the Cardinal for one more season after graduating earlier this year and then enrolling in graduate school at Stanford. In addition, Rakestraw finished last season third in the nation with a .433 attack percentage and added a 1.04 blocks per game average.

Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara
Sanders finished last season in the nation’s top 10 with a .373 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in eight matches. In addition, Sanders was named to the 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team.

Sam Schindler, Lindenwood
Schindler in his freshman season was among the national leaders with both a 1.01 blocks per game average and a .315 attack percentage. He also earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team honors and helped Lindenwood almost upset Lewis before losing in five games in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Brendan Schmidt, McKendree
Despite missing the first month of the 2017 season, Schimdt returned to the court and finished with a 1.21 blocks per game average and a .309 attack percentage. The 2018 Preseason All-MIVA selection also helped McKendree last season reach the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Stadick, a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak Freshman All-American, finished last season in the nation’s top six with both a 1.19 blocks per game average and a .421 attack percentage. In addition, Stadick during the offseason played for the United States at the FIVB U21 World Championship and ended that event in the tournament’s top 10 averaging 0.64 blocks per game.

Don Thompson, Emmanuel
Thompson finished last season among the ConfCarolinas leaders and in the nation’s top 15 with a .349 attack percentage. He also had double-digit kills in six matches and was second on Emmanuel with 53 blocks.

Matt Walsh, Ball State
Walsh had a nation-best .449 attack percentage and was fourth in the nation with a 1.19 blocks per game average last season. The All-MIVA selection also was a finalist for the 2017 Ryan Millar Award and helped lead Ball State to the MIVA Tournament semifinals.

Jon Wheaton, King
Wheaton led the ConfCarolinas and was among the national leaders averaging 0.98 blocks per game. The All-ConfCarolinas middle attacker also had a career-best .423 attack percentage as he helped King win a share of the conference regular season championship.