These five players will be sorely missed.
September 2, 2015 by Charlie Enders in Opinion with 22 comments
While headlines are often focused on which new players join a club each season, the losses can be just as influential. Below is a list of the five male players whose absence will have the biggest impact on their previous team.
George Stubbs (Ironside): Year Off
Stubbs needs no introduction, but he deserves one. One of the best players in the world, George Stubbs has absolutely dominated games since his college days at Harvard (and probably before). He captained the inaugural NexGen tour, was one of the chief factors behind Ironside’s dominance over the past five years, and captained Team USA at the World Games in 2013.
However, Stubbs has chosen to take a year off, and his departure coincides with that of many other Ironside stalwarts, including Matt Rebholz and co-captain Russell Wallack. Ironside has done a great job of reloading their roster, and has at times this season looked like the dominant team of the past few seasons. But with Stubbs, Ironside not only would have one of the best defenders and forehand hucks in the game, but also a fantastic team leader. Perhaps he’ll return next season, perhaps he won’t. Ironside would surely take him, though.
Mark Lloyd (GOAT): Injured
Stubbs and Lloyd are the clear 1-2 here. Lloyd is (debatably) a top 5 player in the world, and his torn ACL is devastating for GOAT. Not quite as devastating as it appeared at first (see U.S. Open), but a major setback nonetheless.
Lloyd can do it all: form a terrifying handler duo with Derek Alexander, dominate with under cuts, or, more often than not, burn his defender deep. GOAT’s premier deep threat, Lloyd opened up the field and demanded the other team’s best deep defender. With him, GOAT could have been looking at a number one seed at Nationals; without him, they failed to earn a bid for their region.
Jared Inselmann (Chain Lightning): Retired
The unquestioned field marshall of Chain’s offense the past few years, Inselmann has retired from Men’s ultimate for the 2015 season. Chain is clearly already feeling the effects of his departure. After a long stint on Ring of Fire, Inselmann made the switch to regional rival Chain Lightning three years ago, immediately making an impact in their offense. Now, Chain’s stranglehold (along with Ring) of the Southeast region may very well be at an end, as Florida United has looked the better team this year.
Obviously Chain lost others that contributed to this “down year” (names like Spiva, Liu, Wilson, and Hollingworth), but other than Spiva—who is playing with Truck this year—none seem to be as missed as Inselmann. An easy reset with a quick trigger-finger, Inselmann fit the Chain mold to a T, and formed a formidable handler duo with Tyler Conger. We’ll have to wait until Regionals to see if Chain can salvage a bid to Natties without him.
Aaron Honn (Rhino): Year Off
Perhaps the best young player in the world that has played no competitive ultimate the past couple years, Honn was an absolute beast for Oregon and Rhino for a couple years. A huge target, Honn had freakish athleticism that made him both a premier deep defender and threat. But after his 2013 club season with NexGen and Rhino, Honn left to study abroad and hasn’t played since.
Rumors are that he has moved to Tennessee, but there’s no telling when we might see him grace an ultimate field again. I have no doubt, however, that when he does, he’ll dominate just like he used to.
Brodie Smith (Doublewide): Injured
Brodie Smith may be the best player never to achieve greatness at the club level. Injury after injury has left the hard-throwing Smith on the sidelines or at less than 100% nearly every year. A torn ACL, suffered during the AUDL season, has him on the sidelines of the Club Division this year.
Smith was far and away the most dominant player in college during his final two seasons at Florida, where he won a College Championship. He also has multiple Club Championship rings with Doublewide (2012) and Johnny Bravo (2014), though he was forced into being a role player for both, largely due to injuries. If he can truly get healthy (and that’s a big if), he still has the physical tools to be one of the country’s great players.
Andrew Hollingworth (Chain Lightning): Year Off
Matt Rebholz (Ironside): Injured (Coaching)
Brian Garcia (Ironside): Retired
Chris Hancock (Rhino): Injured
Tyler Kinley (Sockeye): Injured
Camden Allison-Hall (Rhino): Injured
An earlier version of this article listed Asa Wilson as unrostered. That was incorrect. He is playing in the Mixed Division with Bucket this year.