When USC’s season ended in April, coach Bill Ferguson admittedly was not completely sure if his All-American setter Micah Christenson would come back for his senior season.
Ferguson said in a recent interview with Off the Block that before Christenson opted to return to USC, the two had several discussions during the off-season about the chances of the setter foregoing his final college season to play professionally overseas.
“We talked very openly and very often. Micah is a very intelligent young man, and he understands the process,” Ferguson said. “He had some opportunities to go play professionally that were very attractive and good situations. We were prepared for that.”
Christenson last season earned the inaugural Lloy Ball Award, which is presented to the nation’s top setter in college men’s volleyball. He also was named a First-Team All-American as he helped lead USC to a berth in the MPSF Tournament.
Along with his college experience, Christenson spent the summer playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the FIVB World League and the FIVB World Championships.
With Christenson in the starting lineup, the United States won its first World League title since 2008 and reached the second round of the World Championships. In addition, Christenson was selected as the tournament’s best setter at World League.
Ferguson said he was supportive of Christenson throughout the process of deciding whether to stay at USC or play professionally this season. The coach also said the possibility of Christenson one day playing professional volleyball was something he anticipated when he recruited the setter.
“At the end of the day, these guys are coming to college to prepare for the next stage in their professional lives whether it’s in business, arts and in Micah’s case a professional volleyball career. That’s what he’s here for,” Ferguson said. “In this country a lot of attention is paid to student-athletes that have that opportunity. Nobody talks about the business major that gets offered a management position in a Fortune 500 company in his sophomore or junior year of college. That’s essentially the same thing in this world.”
Christenson will be one of four starters returning for USC after the Trojans ended last season in the top 10 of the national coaches poll.
Ferguson said he is excited to have an experienced starting lineup next season that is capable of earning a berth to the six-team NCAA Tournament. He also said he is looking forward to see Christenson continue to develop throughout the entire season.
“It’s safe to say he is the best setter in the United States,” Ferguson said. “He has the ability to have a season that we haven’t seen from a setter in a long time.”