Jonathan Neeley and Joaquin Nagle, Team Inside Breaks
Offense: Jimmy Mickle, Jeff Graham, Mark Elbogen, Robbie Cahill, Tim Gehret, Dom Leggio, Sean Keegan
Defense: Nicky Spiva, Russell Wallack, Kevin Richardson, Alex Evangelides, Ryan Farrell, David Cranston, Austin Gregersen
Subs: Devon Anderson, Joel Wooten
Joaq and I came into the draft with two central goals: build an offense out of guys who can throw as well as create and use space downfield, and a defense of players who know how to take away their opponent’s first and second preferred options. We focused (mostly) on offense to start because while skill matters, championship O lines are full of poise. But we also kept in mind that perfection doesn’t exist: anyone who thinks they can build an O line that won’t get broken is living in la-la land.
We snagged Jimmy Mickle first because we wanted someone who can dominate anywhere on the field. Jimmy can take players deep, huck the disc, shut down a handler, or patrol the skies. He’s young, but he was dominant against Doublewide in quartersfinals at the Club Championships this year, and we love the idea of surrounding him with veterans now so we can build for the future.
Enter Jeff Graham. We put a big premium on downfield guys because there aren’t actually that many guys with the ability to get open and not only hit whatever option is open, but also create something out of nothing. Ask around: Jeff killed it in the MLU and would kill it in the Men’s Division if he were still playing for Ironside.
We took Nicky Spiva next because we knew we’d play Jeff on O and we wanted another high-end guy that we could play on either line. Nicky has quietly become one of the game’s best all-around players: he was the highest leaper on the 2011 NexGen Tour, but when he showed up at World Games tryouts in March, his throws were what set him apart. We like how Chain uses him both behind the disc and as a deep threat, and we think that, like Jimmy, he’s only getting better.
Ryan Farrell is our lead D-liner for two reasons: he specializes in taking players out of the game by making them use way more moves than they want to get open, and after a turn, he rarely makes mistakes. Recent examples include how well he played Kurt Gibson in that quarterfinals game, his solid play in semis, and his role as the World Games team’s work and hustle guy. Every team needs one, and he’s the best.
Remember how we said we wanted to build a cutter-heavy offense? Is there a better distributor for that kind of offense– a guy whose job is to get open for a reset, quickly scan for the best option, and hit a break throw if necessary– than Robbie Cahill? (Hint: the answer is no.)
At this point, we pivoted to defense: most of the top cutters had been drafted, and we wanted to make sure we’d have the guys to defend them. We took Alex Evangelides because he uses his speed and size well against big downfield cutters both in the air and coming back to the disc; we really coveted Kevin Richardson because we loved the idea of a big man who guards handlers (it was Richardson’s imposing mark who threw Robbie off his game in the 2012 national final) and goes downfield on a turn; David Cranston led Truck Stop in Ds in 2012 (even though he played offense) and a certain national team member at the Club Championships said that he was the toughest defender he faced; Joel Wooten is one of the only players to ever prove himself capable of guarding Beau Kittredge; Austin Gregerson has been underrated since he was at Arizona, is gigantic, and has hucks that will open up our D line offense; Russell Wallack, in our minds, went from quality to proven against Kurt Gibson in quarterfinals in 2011.
In between these key defensive guys, we took Tim Gehret and Sean Keegan, two handlers with strong breaks and hucks in the wind who we knew we could use on O or D depending on how the second half of the draft played out.
Devon Anderson is an offensive finisher that doesn’t need to get many touches to be effective. He’s unselfish, which helps with spacing, he’s willing to break the mark, and he’s very, very fast. Anderson also has championships with Revolver in 2011 and 2013. Experience means a lot.
Dom Leggio is where we started to look at the value of the best player on a non-Nationals team. We needed another O handler, and we thought Dom was the best one available. We see the Cahill/Leggio pairing as a great creator of mismatches because other teams won’t have enough long handler defenders to stop both guys.
Mark Elbogen is the Condors’ best player, and we took him because we wanted a guy in our O line rotation who can handle a lot of responsibility without making mistakes. Elbogen frequently draws the toughest matchup as the best cutter on the Condors and we felt he’d excel when not forced to be the go to option. His size will compliment Mickle well.
Why our O line is good: We’re full of intelligent players that space the field and won’t get in each other’s way; it’s got multiple options for isolations; all of our handlers are comfortable going downfield as fill or iso cutters; we have multiple cutters that are comfortable behind the disc and with the disc in endzone situations.
O line handlers: Cahill (6’), Gehret (5’10’’), Keegan (5’11), Leggio (6’3’’); cutters: Mickle (6’3), Graham (5’11), Anderson (5’10’’), Elbogen (6’3’’)
Why our D line is good: We won’t give the other team their first two options; we have the size and speed to play man defense, but also the experience to throw junk looks; we’ve got players that can defend multiple positions so we won’t be bothered by positional flexibility from other offenses; Farrell and Richardson will make breaks and resets, the foundation of any good offense, very hard to get off.
D line handlers: Farrell (5’8), Gregerson (6’3’’), Spiva (6’1’’); cutters: Richardson (6’3”), Cranston (6’2”), Wooten (6’4’’), Evangelides (6’2), Wallack (6’)
Finally, we took Graham, Farrell, and Cahill for their veteran locker room presences. Wallack and Spiva are also players that are frequently complimented for their ability to balance intensity with level-headedness, and most of the rest are no-nonsense guys that will simply show up, work hard, and push the team to succeed.