- What: The 2022 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) season
- Who: The top four favorites to win Men’s AVP Most Valuable Player Award
- Where: Various cities in North America
- When: The season runs primarily in the summer, but has some tournaments in March and October
Though it is still the dead of winter in North America, many volleyball professionals are gearing up for what should be another fantastic season of AVP volleyball in 2022. Recognized as the biggest and longest-running beach volleyball circuit in the United States, AVP features some of the best volleyball athletes in the world. While the league is primarily made up of American players competing on the tour, international players are allowed to play if they have dual citizenship. During the 2019 season, Taylor Crabb won his second MVP award in dominant fashion.
With Bally’s Corporation acquiring AVP in 2021, look for even more opportunities to check out AVP competitions via regional sports networks. With that in mind, the team at MTS takes a closer look at who will be crowned as the next MVP of AVP in 2022.
|Odds to Win 2022 AVP Men's MVP Award|
The Number One Contender: Taylor Crabb (Odds: TBA)
The reigning AVP MVP, Crabb is right in the middle of the prime of his career and does not look to be slowing down one bit. Though he is a bit undersized, compared to more traditional players, he is known for outstanding speed and knowledge of the game. The 2013 collegiate National Player of the Year at Long Beach State, Crabb is coming off back-to-back MVP awards. Though he was unable to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics due to testing positive for COVID-19, Crabb was replaced at the tournament by Tri Bourne. If he is successful in notching the MVP award in 2022, he will be the first male three-peat on the AVP Tour since Phil Dalhausser in 2019.
Number Two: Jake Gibb (TBA)
A three-time AVP MVP (2005, 2013, and 2014), Gibb has had a long and successful career on the circuit. One of the most senior players on the tour at 45 years of age, he will be 46 by the time the 2022 season kicks off, this could be Gibb’s swan song season. The native of Bountiful, Utah, he is also Crabb’s partner on the AVP Tour and has represented Team USA twice at the Olympic Games, in 2008 and 2012. If there is any player that can take down Crabb in competition, Gibb could be the best bet since he knows his partner better than perhaps any other competitor on tour.
Number three: Chase Budinger (TBA)
A former professional basketball player with the Detroit Pistons of the NBA, Budinger was a prodigious high school talent. Earning comparisons with legendary Karch Kiraly (the greatest volleyball player in U.S. history) at a young age, Budinger has finally made his way back to the volleyball court. Following his retirement from professional basketball in 2017, the former University of Arizona star has made a name for himself on the AVP Tour. Though he has not quite lived up to the level of the legendary Kiraly quite yet, Budinger has the pedigree and amazing athleticism to hang with anyone on the circuit.
Dark horse contender: Ricardo Santos (TBA)
Another veteran of the volleyball world, Santos will be 47 when the 2022 season kicks off, the Brazilian was recognized as the 2017 Newcomer of the Year to the AVP Tour. The 2004 beach volleyball gold medal champion from the Athen Olympics, Santos is no stranger to being on the biggest stage. Though he has had sparse success on the AVP Tour, compared to his Olympics track record, he still cannot be counted out from any kind of competition. His age could be a factor as the season moves on though.
Prediction: In what will be a triumphant return to form for the AVP Tour in 2022, look for Crabb to complete the three-peat. Crabb is in the prime of his career and playing the best volleyball of his life, he is a force to be reckoned with.
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