(ISN) – Kamloops, BC—Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball coach Pat Hennelly has gone on record as saying his recruiting class for 2015-16 is the strongest he has had in years.
With that in mind, Hennelly has added another strong player to that class. The WolfPack are pleased to announce that 6’7″ outside hitter Joshua Mullaney (pronounced Muh-Lane-ee) of Calgary, Alberta has joined the CIS program effective September.
Mullaney will be graduating this June from Centennial High School and will be taking courses at TRU geared to a achieving a Bachelor of Business Administration.
“Ever since I was a child I have dreamed of living in British Columbia and the fact I will get to spend the next five years of my life in Kamloops is a dream come true,” Mullaney stated. ‘I count the days until the end of August in anticipation of for my first semester at TRU and being a member of the WolfPack.”
He had a number of scholarship offers including those from Alberta, UBC, MacEwan and UBCO but finally decided on TRU. ” I narrowed it down to UBC and TRU. It wasn’t an easy choice but TRU seems to have a better environment for their athletes and they build their teams and individuals very well. I am thrilled with my choice and wouldn’t change it for anything. I have always liked small schools. TRU is incredibly beautiful and the recruiting class in my opinion is one of the best in the country. I’ve also heard nothing but good things about the coaching. I am excited to work with the group of guys there. It seems like an amazing environment that Pat has developed. Pat’s ability to develop players similar to myself is unmatched in Canada.”
Mullaney is a two time member of Team Alberta (U-16 and U-17). He was also a provincial all-star in U-17. His club team (Elite West Volleyball Club), won the bronze medal at the 2014 Club Nationals and was an all-star at that championship.
With Team Alberta: he is teammates with two other WolfPack recruits: Tristan Dexter (Sherwood Park, AB) and Kyle Behiels (Edmonton, AB). The three won the National U-17 Western Elite championship last summer. “Playing alongside both of them the last two years was really great,” Mullaney stated. “Being a part of the energy that those two gave to the court was incredibly lucky for me. I am really looking forward to the years to come and I am hoping we can help one another improve.”
“I was pretty excited when I found out he was coming,’ says Behiels. ” I would like to believe that it might have been a combination of Tristan, Cole Keddie (first year WolfPack outside hitter from Edmonton, AB) and myself that influenced him,” he laughs.
“Josh is one of the smarted players I have ever seen,” Behiels continues. “I believe he could be incredibly successful with just his smart shots and tips. Both years with Team Alberta he was the focal point of our offense. He is an impressive right side. I think anyone who has played with Josh has good chemistry with him. He has a great sense of humor and knows how to get under an opponent’s skin.”
“I am really excited Josh is joining our program,’ stated Keddie. ” Playing against him in AVA tournaments was really fun and he was a big factor in his team’s success in provincials and nationals. It is awesome to know that more Alberta recruits are coming to Kamloops. I hope there will be more to come.”
“I would like to believe that I play a smart game as a swinger,’ explains Mullaney. ” I think I excel mainly in blocking and lately my defense. I am really excited to work on my ball control as an outside hitter, which is mostly likely the part of my game I need to work on the most.”
“I am very excited to have another excellent prospect in Josh Mullaney joining the WolfPack,’ says coach Hennelly. ” I have already stated that this recruiting class is one of our strongest and Josh has certainly made this the best group of incoming high school players that we have had in the ten years since TRU has competed in the CIS. Josh has a tremendous upside in volleyball. He has an excellent block jump and maybe the highest of any player we have had in our program. I believe the transition for Josh will be smooth from high school to CIS. Josh has a very high VB IQ and he has the height height and vertical to stand out in this league. He is a great fit with the other incoming recruits and makes for a bright future for Thompson Rivers.”
Other recruits this year aside from Mullaney, Behiels and Dexter are: Sam Taylor Parks (17,6’7″ middle, Kelowna, BC/Kelowna Secondary-Team BC/Kelowna Klutch) and Charlie Bringloe (17, 6’6″,outside hitter, Waterloo, ON/Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary-Team Ontario/London VBC).
The WolfPack lost four players to graduation following the 2014-15 season: outside hitters Casey Knight (Salt Spring Island, BC) and Stuart Richey (Roberts Creek, BC), along with liberos Matt Krueger (Abbotsford, BC) and Blake Majcher (Brandon, MB).
SIDE OUTS: Mullaney credits his father David and current club coach Fraser MacLeod as being his biggest influences His father for teaching him the fundamentals of the game and MacLeod for working hard with him on refining his skill set and making him a top outside recruit. He also lists Team Alberta U-17 coach Ken McLaughlin as one of his favorites for helping him improve on his defense. “His friendly attitude makes athletes want to win for him,” he states.
As far as his greatest sports moment thus far: “Winning national bronze in u17, the previous year we were a very self-absorbed team, very cocky and thought teams would roll over due to the logo on our chests, but throughout the season we lost to teams that we shouldn’t have, and we ended up finishing 18th in u16 nationals. After that season we realized that we need to train like number 2, to be number 1. Although we didn’t finish where we were hoping, it always puts a smile on my facing thinking of our growth as a team and individuals, getting 3rd at nationals is easily my fondest sports moment.”
Hennelly also has praise for Fraser MacLeod: “I want to thank him for the work he does developing great young athletes like Josh in the sport of volleyball.”