In a championship round that featured record-setting voter turnout, North Greenville middle attacker Ben Hamsho was able to pull out the victory to win a national award.
Hamsho received 6,847 votes and 39.28 percent of the total vote in the four-person championship round to win on Tuesday night the inaugural Off the Block Top of the Class Tournament.
The Top of the Class Tournament recognizes the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball seniors who had the best college careers. Off the Block selected the top 64 players who were placed in a bracket-style tournament with each the winners of each match-up being determined by voting on the Off the Block website.
Hamsho in his senior season was among the nation’s leaders with a career-best .309 attack percentage. Among his top performances that season included a season-high 14 kills in an upset victory against No. 10/9 Grand Canyon.
The middle attacker also had at least 50 blocks in all four seasons, including being in the ConfCarolinas top 15 last season with a 0.80 blocks per game average.
Hamsho in the first four rounds defeated Purdue Fort Wayne’s Richie Diedrich, Princeton’s George Huhmann, Penn State’s Henrik Falck Lauten and Pepperdine’s Noah Dyer to win the TJ DeFalco Region and qualify for the championship round.
More than 17,000 votes were cast in the championship round.
Hamsho edged out Hawai’i All-American opposite Rado Parapunov by 455 votes. In addition, North Greenville outside attacker Jackson Gilbert finished with 16.45 percent of the vote and Emmanuel opposite Don Thompson garnered 7.6 percent of the vote.
This is the inaugural Top of the Class Tournament and will take place in lieu of the annual Off the Block Fan Choice of the Year, which had a similar tournament format. Off the Block opted to make this change to honor the seniors whose 2020 season were ended early because of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
Off the Block was established in 2011 and is the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.