It’s all about the numbers — particularly the number on the jersey.
Off the Block is unveiling the best player to wear each jersey number in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the 25-point rally scoring era.
The latest installment in this summer series examines the best to don the No. 8 jersey. Check out Off the Block throughout June as it continues to reveal the best in the sport to wear each number.
Best player to wear No. 8
Aaron Russell, Penn State (2012-15)
Awards and honors: First-Team All-Decade, EIVA Player of the Decade, First-Team EIVA All-Decade, 2012 First-Team All-EIVA, 2013 EIVA Player of the Year, 2013 First-Team All-EIVA, 2014 EIVA Player of the Year, 2014 First-Team All-EIVA, 2014 First-Team All-American, 2015 EIVA Player of the Year, 2015 First-Team All-EIVA, 2015 Karch Kiraly Award, 2015 National Server of the Year finalist, 2015 First-Team All-American
Player bio: Penn State won the EIVA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals in each of his four years with the Nittany Lions. Russell as a sophomore was seventh in the nation with a 3.59 kills per game average on a .304 attack percentage and had a team-high 0.39 aces per game average. The following year he led the nation with 0.65 aces per game, while also ranking in the nation’s top 10 with 4.00 kills per game on a .342 attack percentage.In his senior year, he ranked second nationally with 4.68 kills per game average, fourth nationally with 0.55 aces per game average and 12th nationally with a .381 attack percentage. Russell ranks second in program history with 198 career aces, and fourth in program history with 1,534 career kills.
Best players to wear No. 8 by conference
Big West: Wyatt Harrison, UC San Diego
ConfCarolinas: Jackson Gilbert, North Greenville
EIVA: Aaron Russell, Penn State
MIVA: Tyler Mitchem, Lewis
MPSF: Michael Brinkley, UC Irvine
Independents: Nic Cavallaro, Queens
Honorable mentions: Phil Bannan, UC San Diego; Kyle Caldwell, UCLA; Ben Ponnet, Grand Canyon; Eddie Rivera, Purdue Fort Wayne; Sam Schindler, Lindenwood