So we’re moving closer to Thanksgiving so perhaps it’s time to be thankful and grateful and optimistic . . . about Friday’s Professional Bowlers Assn. League draft.
The league triggered a mini-controversy a month ago by announcing its plan to re-draft its players from scratch for the 2015 season. But the re-draft has been hashed over plenty of times about how this approach will break up the continuity of the rosters of the league’s eight teams for its third season.
That’s old news.
Let’s be positive and think about the players who will be drafted by the Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters and the Los Angeles X.
Let’s just focus on the No. 1 pick, or the franchise player. And let’s think positively!
For the past two years, the Atom Splitters have sported Chris Barnes as their top player and the X has boasted Jason Belmonte.
Barnes filled his role admirably as his team’s No. 1 player, leading the Atom Splitters to the league title in 2014. Silver Lake defeated the X in the Elias Cup finals in that championship match.
Barnes and Belmonte will most likely be lost from the L.A. teams – unless a quirk of fate allows one or both of those teams to grab their players back. Or the two players conceivably could be drafted by the L.A. team for which they didn’t bowl.
Barnes and Belmonte would both be huge losses to the L.A. teams. Belmonte was hands down the best player in the league the last two seasons and Barnes was just a great fit with the Atom Splitters and connected with L.A. bowlers.
In any event, there are some solid players waiting in the wings to be drafted who aren’t named Barnes or Belmonte. The PBA has come up with a system that determined which players are draft eligible for the first round. This 10-player list was based upon PBA Tour competition points that were earned between the World Series of Bowling IV and the 2014 PBA Summer Swing.
Those players are (in order of the points they accrued): Belmonte, Dom Barrett, E.J. Tackett, Sean Rash, Wes Malott, Tom Smallwood, Pete Weber, Bill O’Neill, Barnes and Ryan Ciminelli.
Malott was a member of the Atom Splitters this year when they won the league title and he bowled for the X the previous year. Tackett bowled for the X in 2014.
Weber, a PBA Hall of Famer, led the New York City WTT KingPins to the PBA League title in the league’s first season in 2013.
The charismatic Weber also won the 2014 Best Bowler ESPY Award in July. Weber’s selection was a big upset because most bowling experts had expected Belmonte to win it.
Accepting the award, Weber showed his gracious side by saying: “It’s not necessarily based on whoever did the best bowling because Belmo [Belmonte] should have won, hands down. But that just goes to show I have more fans around the world than he does.
“That said, it’s absolutely a nice thing,” he added. “I’m honored, I’m humbled, I’m grateful, all of the above. It’s neat to see I actually do have that many fans.”
Pete Weber would be a welcome addition to either L.A. team.