The U.S. Men’s Sitting Team had a veteran and a rookie earn high honors for the team in 2016.
Veteran Roderick Green was named as the USA Volleyball Male Sitting Player of the Year, while rookie Josh Smith earned the team’s Most Improved Player.
Green, a middle blocker, was the team’s leading scorer at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. In their four match stint, Green ended their play with 22 kills, eight blocks and one ace. His best performance came in a five set loss to Germany, where he put down 11 kills, five blocks and one ace.
The U.S. Men’s National Team had not competed at the Paralympics since 2004. Green was one of three on the team that had competed in a Paralympic Games prior to Rio. Team Captain Eric Duda and Chris Seilkop also had Paralympic experience.
Green also competed in track and field in 2000 and 2004, winning one silver and two bronze medals.
Earlier in 2016, Green led the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team at the Intercontinental Cup in China, finishing with 32 kills, 10 blocks and four aces in seven matches.
While Green began with the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team in 2005, Josh Smith more recently joined in 2015, when head coach Greg Walker spotted him at the 2014 Marine Corps Trials. Smiths prior volleyball experience came with an occasional sand match before joining the resident ream at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2015.
Smith, though listed as an opposite, contributed to the team mainly as a substitute in Rio. He is able to set, which will help the team more as Smith gains more experience.
“I am excited to see what he can do,” said Walker. “Rio was a great opportunity for someone like him to find that fire, saying we want to be back here and we want to contend.”
Walker is excited to begin the next season, hoping to improve over last year as the team went 0-4 in Rio and finished the 0-10 in the overall season.