And the Player of the Year is...
June 4, 2018 by Michael Ball in Awards with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s 2018 Men’s College Awards are presented by Spin Ultimate and the National Ultimate Training Camp. All opinions are those of the authors. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Ultiworld possible!
Ultiworld is pleased to announced our 2018 College Awards, the second year we’ve recognized the best of Division III. The criteria for each award can be found here — we consider both regular season and postseason performance in our selection of awards. Though the input of Ultiworld reporters is weighed heavily, final decisions for awards are made by the editors.
The Player of the Year Award, and its Runners-up, represent the best overall performers of the 2018 season. These three individuals were the most impactful players in the division this spring.
2018 Men’s D-III College Player Of The Year
Nathan Vickroy (Georgia College)
The 2017 NBA MVP conversation was fascinating because there were two distinct schools of thought pit against each other. On one side, you had the crazy numbers and overwhelming force of nature that is Russell Westbrook. In the other camp, you had the ruthless efficiency and wizardry of James Harden.
Imagine combining the best traits of those two players into one dominant athlete. What you’re left with is the 2018 D-III Men’s Player of the Year, Georgia College Disconnected’s Nathan Vickroy.
Every time Vickroy stepped on the field this year, he was the best player on either team. Fielding a tremendous workload for a small roster, the physical output demanded from him exceeded that of anyone else in the division, and he was counted on to be engaged and dominant every point. Vickroy was Disconnected’s strongest thrower, most athletic defender, and most effective cutter. He was the driving force behind their run to the quarterfinals at Nationals, where they lost in a close game to eventual runners-up Air Force Afterburn.
While Vickroy certainly embraced Nationals as the stage to show his dominance, his impact on Georgia College was seen throughout the entire season. Perhaps the greatest example of Vickroy’s influence on GC’s success can be seen in the difference between day one and day two at Southeast Confregionals. Vickroy had to miss day one due to an AUDL conflict, and GC lost their first game of the day to Samford 9-8. With Vickroy rejoining the team for bracket play on day two, Disconnected crushed Samford 15-10.
Vickroy was the best player at Nationals, both statistically and using the eye test. He was second in the tournament with 29 assists in just five games, and he also added thirteen goals, which tied for 9th best on the weekend. The most impressive aspect of his performance, however, was how few turnovers he had despite touching the disc so frequently. In Georgia College’s prequarter win over Occidental, Vickroy had five assists, four goals, and three blocks, all with just one throwaway.
Vickroy returned to Disconnected for a fifth year with the hopes of taking the team to another National Championship. While he came up just short of that goal, Vickroy was incredible in leading his club to the quarterfinals of Nationals, and his performance on both sides of the disc made him the clear choice for Player of the Year.
2nd 1st Runner-Up: Alan Villanueva (Air Force)
Had this award been given for just the regular season, Alan Villanueva would have been the unanimous winner. The best player on the team with the most impressive regular season resume, the 2017 first runner-up was incredibly impressive on both sides of the disc, using his length to his advantage on both offense and defense. While Villanueva had a solid Nationals, he didn’t shine in the same way he did during the regular season, leaving him in the runner-up position once again.
Runner-Up: Alex Kenworthy (Bryant)
In a division that puts a premium on handlers, Alex Kenworthy stood out as the most dominant cutter in the division this season, using his speed and athleticism to chew up big yards on unders and improved throwing ability to hit his fellow cutters on continuation looks. Kenworthy was also a key ingredient in Bryant’s lauded zone defense, covering a huge amount of space in the two-person second wall. Kenworthy saved his best performance for the biggest stage, notching two goals and four assists in the final of Nationals to lead his team to a title.
An earlier version of this post stated that Vickroy led Nationals in assists. It has been edited to reflect that he was actually second in the tournament, behind Occidental’s Adam Grammer (30).