The inaugural 2019 NCAA Water Polo Fantasy draft took place yesterday morning at 09:00 PDT between some of the greatest water polo players to exit the college system in recent years, alongside some veterans, in Azevedo & Bowen. Water U Know complied a list of available athletes at Pac-12 & GCC schools but many of the team owners were not interested, opting to do their own research into school’s new recruits. Some chose to explore the east coast and find players capable of securing many points week in, week out.
The draft order was randomized a few hours before the draft, favoring Duncan Lynde with the first overall pick. Here are the results of the draft in draft pick order.
With the first overall pick of the draft, Lynde opted for Pacific sharp-shooter Luke Pavillard, hoping that he will secure as many goals and assists as the previous two years.
“I’ve played against Pav for a couple of years in college and internationally and he consistently scores and creates opportunities for his team, glad to have him on mine for once!”
With Duncan’s second pick (no.16) he picked up Connor Turnbow Lindenstadt from UCSD, choosing to leave the Pac-12 options early.
“Connor’s numbers speak for themselves; a quick, smart goal-scorer that is only getting better, hopefully he’ll produce another quality season.”
Tony had the second overall pick and was in shock with what was still on the board in Ben Hallock:
“Ben is one of the best players in the country.”Azevedo when asked about his 1st round pick
When it came to Tony’s second round pick, he turned to Long Beach threat Austin Stewart, hoping that he can continue to carry the bulk of Long Beach’s attack as he did last year, leading them to the NCAA tournament.
“Austin is a Long Beach boy I support.”
Baron was thinking outside the box for the vast majority of this draft, choosing players from the four corners of the NCAA. Baron kicked off his draft selecting the NCAA Championship MVP Jacob Mercep from his very own USC.
“Jacob is a strong lefty who works really well within the USC system. I think Pinta will be able to use him as one of the go to guys since teams will have to focus primarily on one of the strongest 1/2 sides in college water polo with Hannes, Marko & Dasic.”
From his second pick, Baron’s research became apparent, selecting Matt Olimski, the goalkeeper from Penn State.
“Matt is a great goalie who plays on the East coast. He has held the saves record in MPSF for the last two years and averages 20 saves a game.”
Baron showed signs that perhaps he should be monitored moving forward as he seemed to have blatantly admitted to potential cheating in the upcoming Fantasy season.
Stevenson kept it local selecting players strictly from the PAC-12 with the exception of wildcard/rival Nemanja Bakic who was out of action last year and looks to bounce back and put some points on the board for Ben & Long Beach. With his first pick however, he turned to Hannes Daube from USC.
“Hannes has an absolute cannon. This year he should be dominant from the first whistle to the last.”
With his second round pick, he chose another dangerous pac-12 player Nicolas Saveljic, capable of filling the stat sheet in any contest.
“Nicolas is excellent at just about everything. He should be a force in the pool this year!”
The brains of the draft, Pedro Stellet was not here for fun and games. He was well prepared and drafted accordingly, selecting a mixture of West coast and East coast with a focus on his own school in the late rounds. With his first pick, he opted to take a goalkeeper, in Jack Turner from UCSD.
With his second pick, he chose Pacific all-rounder Ege Colak hoping that he will continue to link up with Pavillard to cause mayhem throughout the GCC and hope to challenge the traditionally stronger Pac-12 schools.
“With the pointing system of the game in mind, I decided to go with Jack Turner as my first pick because he secured the most saves last season and will be fighting to win conference and more in his final season. Ege Colas was my 2nd pick because there are not many high scoring 2M players going around, so i decided to lock him in early. The fun part of this tournament is that in my opinion, the 2 players that I believe will score me more points are Rade Joksimovic (128 goals, 80 assists last season) and Nikos Papanikolau (Youth World Champion & Tournament MVP) but as they are not returning players from a California college, I believed that they would not be on the radar of other contenders and risked getting them later in the draft and it paid off!”Pedro Stellet on his draft strategy.
Stellet was very tactical and competitive throughout the entire draft, however did offer a helping hand to the other teams as he compiled a running list of available and taken players!
Team Bowen was extremely Stanford oriented from the start. Selecting Hallock as Cutino winner, Vargas as his coach, and Bennett as his first pick. From there he stayed inside the Pac-12 and GCC with the exception of SJSU goal keeper Yahav Fire.
“I’m happy they both fell to me and expecting some great things from both players this season!”Alex Bowen on securing his first two-round picks.
Bowen is busy playing in Europe at the moment, but was not going to miss his fantasy draft, not even for water polo itself!
Stanchi also kept things close to home, mirroring Bowen’s selections of Hallock & Vargas at the helm with Stanford’s Tyler Abraham being his first round selection.
“Tyler has a breakout season last year and is only getting better, so i’m expecting a lot of goals from him.”
With his second round pick, Marco turned to the east coast to secure stat sheet filler, Dennis Blyashov to secure him some points.
“Dennis put up big numbers for Harvard last year and is easily one of the best players on the East coast, so should be seeing a lot of goals again hopefully.”
Stanchi made an audacious trade attempt with Azevedo, resulting in nothing but laughs from Tony.
Edwards is backing new USC Head coach to pick up where they left off last season and season him many wins, however, Edward’s first two picks were somewhat surprising. Lachlan secured two players from rival school Cal in Safak Simsek and Bernardo Carelli.
“It was hard with the last pick of the draft but I believe Simsek will have a big year as the focal point of Cal’s offense. Always tough to stop when you come up against him. Cal, as always, will do well in the wins column and Carelli will have a lot of shots at him so fingers crossed he stops a lot of them!”
Edwards however, was less than impressed with McQuin Baron’s mid-draft trade attempts and let his feelings about his former team mate known, pushing for punishment.