UCLA middle Gyimah wins inaugural Dain Blanton Diversity Award

UCLA middle attacker Daenan Gyimah will end the season as the inaugural winner of a college men’s volleyball honor.

Off the Block announced Friday that a nationwide voting committee selected Gyimah as the recipient of the 2019 Dain Blanton Diversity Award.

The Dain Blanton Diversity Award, which is named after the former Pepperdine All-American and U.S. Olympian, recognizes the top NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball player during the regular season of a minority ethnicity.

This is the only national award in college men’s volleyball created specifically to celebrate the outstanding individual performances of minority players. Players of all backgrounds have significantly contributed throughout the history college men’s volleyball helping teams win NCAA champions and earning numerous All-American honors.

Gyimah was fifth in the nation with a .435 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in 15 regular season matches, including a season-high 25 kills while hitting .553 in a victory against Stanford in February. The African Canadian middle attacker also contributed 81 blocks and started at multiple positions towards the end of the season because injuries to UCLA.

The voting committee for the Dain Blanton Diversity Award was comprised of 16 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball media members from around the nation.

The top-three vote-getters were named finalists for this national award.

Gyimah received 18 points to beat the runner-up Lewis middle attacker Tyler Mitchem by six points. In addition, the other finalist Long Beach State setter Josh Tuaniga received eight points.

Sixteen players received at least one vote for this new national award.

The Dain Blanton Diversity Award is one of several end of season awards presented by Off the Block. Among the other national awards includes the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero and the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker.

Off the Block is a national award winning website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

2019 Dain Blanton Diversity Award voting results

1. Daenan Gyimah, UCLA — 18 points
2. Tyler Mitchem, Lewis — 12 points
3. Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State — 8 points
4. Jaylen Jasper, Stanford — 7 points
5. Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis — 6 points
6. Micah Ma’a, UCLA — 5 points
7. Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU — 4 points
T-8. Angelos Mandilaris, Barton — 3 points
T-8. Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i — 3 points
T-10. Spencer Fredrick, UC Santa Barbara — 2 points
T-10. Joao Victor Santos, Coker — 2 points
T-10. Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne — 2 points
T-13. Dante Chakravorit, UC Irvine — 1 point
T-13. Louis Richard, Long Beach State — 1 point
T-13. Alvaro Gimeo, NJIT — 1 point