PPA Tour North Carolina Open – Fantasy Draft Preview

The draws are stacked across the board in this North Carolina event as most of the best players, other than the Johns, are not here. We also have the big Jack Sock pro pickleball debut. While there is lots of great pickleball action going on this weekend, it has become clear that the PPA has done a masterful job silencing this issue about Tyson McGuffin’s failed paddle test from Red Rock. There is not a single pro we have seen who has come out publicly to give any opinion on whether Tyson McGuffin should have been defaulted for his failed paddle. Whether or not Tyson’s singles win should be voided from Red Rock, the PPA not releasing a statement of any kind makes it quite clear they want this information supressed and the pros feel like they should remain quiet.

We may end up writing a follow-up article as a lot more information has come our way since we posted, and it is rather convenient that the only pro to be defaulted so far has been Sarah Ansboury. Either way, the PPA pros should not forget instances like this when the Tyson McGuffin’s of the world are treated in this manner by the PPA. We will remain skeptical of the paddle testing the PPA is conducting until they start being far more transparent about their process and the results that come with that. Speaking of transparent, what a surprise that Tyson McGuffin has avoided Jack Sock on his half of the singles draw!

Slim is down 1 but he won the toss electing to pick first. In such a deep draw, we had some very good teams and players miss the draft this week. 

(1) Anna Leigh Waters (Slim) 

(2) Anna Leigh Waters / Catherine Parenteau (Gritty) 

(3) Dylan Frazier / JW Johnson (Gritty) 

(4)  Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Slim) 

(5) Federico Staksrud (Slim) 

Slim – Anna and Catherine may have been the safer choice, but Anna Leigh has still only lost twice in 2 years in singles. Without Ben and Anna Leigh playing together, I take the Johnson siblings as the first mixed team, though I still worry about Jorja’s consistency. Federico has still been the second most consistent men’s singles player, so with no Ben Johns, I take him as the first men’s singles player.

Gritty – I had AL/Catherine as the #1 pick on my board so to get them 2nd is a win. Anna Leigh has been unstoppable in doubles this year as expected without her mother as her partner. Dylan/JW got through Riley/Matt last time and they have been the most consistent team outside of the Johns brothers this year. 

(6) Anna Bright / James Ignatowich (Gritty) 

(7) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Gritty) 

(8) Tyson McGuffin (Slim) 

(9) Jessie Irvine / Jackie Kawamoto (Slim) 

(10) Catherine Parenteau (Gritty) 

(11) Lea Jansen (Gritty) 

Slim – I feel like Tyson has a favourable draw this weekend, and he seldom loses singles matches he shouldn’t. Jessie and Jackie have already shown they can have good success playing together, and they have a favorable draw together.

Gritty – Anna/James were the #1 team on my board in mixed because I think if they get to face the Johnson siblings in the gold, they are so comfortable against them and know how to attack them to win. Riley/Matt have also been very consistent and simply haven’t been quite as good against the other two best teams. I’m happy to get the two teams that should be fighting for gold in men’s doubles. Catherine Parenteau has become a contender for gold in women’s singles while Lea Jansen does not have an easy path, she may be motivated to make some waves after the controversy in Red Rock.

(12) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Slim) 

(13) Anna Leigh Waters / Jack Sock (Slim) 

(14) James Ignatowich (Gritty) 

(15) Catherine Parenteau / Tyson McGuffin (Gritty) 

(16) Tyler Loong / James Ignatowich (Slim) 

(17) Callan Dawson / Dekel Bar (Slim) 

Slim – Lucy and Callie are coming off a gold medal in Newport. It’s been a while since they’ve been able to string together back to back tournament successes, but I like their draw. I decide to hop on the hype train and take Jack Sock and Anna Leigh here, but full disclosure, I did actually have Riley and Allyce ahead of them, just misread my board. It will be fascinating to see, who sees more balls, Jack or Anna Leigh, but I am not sure either option will be attractive to most teams. I think if a men’s team is going to beat the top two teams this weekend, it will be Ignatowich/Loong or Bar/Dawson. Tyler and Callan splitting up and partnering with two strong left side players, probably significantly raises both of their ceilings but also creates a much lower floor for both of them.

Gritty – James Ignatowich does not play singles all that much these days but the indoor conditions are helpful for the way he plays. Catherine/Tyson were my #3 mixed team and I had Anna Leigh/Sock all the way down at #6 on my board. I’m not saying AL/Sock won’t medal, but I have to worry about a guy that has never played a tournament before. 

(18) Julian Arnold (Gritty) 

(19) Vivienne David / Etta Wright (Gritty) 

(20) Judit Castillo (Slim) 

(21) Salome Devidze (Slim) 

(22) Allyce Jones / Riley Newman (Gritty)

(23) Lea Jansen / Allyce Jones (Gritty) 

Slim – Judit has proven herself the last couple weeks at the APP and US Open so it will be interesting to see how she does against PPA competition this week. The indoor conditions, could allow Salome to paint some lines this weekend (I am aware of the irony).

Gritty – Julian Arnold’s singles results have been down as of late, but his high ceiling is always there as he showed more toward the start of the year. The draw isn’t great for David/Wright, but I love them as a pairing. It doesn’t always fit though for David as we have seen that Anna Bright partnership fall short. Allyce/Riley not being selected appears to have been an oversight by Slim but I will take it as this team is going to make anyone work for a win. Lea/Allyce were not expected to be a major podium team and their recent results could be them regressing to the mean. Nevertheless, they will always be in the mix for a medal. 

(24) Tyson McGuffin / Jack Sock (Slim)

(25) Jack Sock (Slim) 

(26) Federico Staksrud / Pablo Tellez (Gritty) 

(27) Ryan Sherry (Gritty) 

(28) Meghan Sheehan-Dizon / Jorja Johnson (Slim) 

(29) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Slim) 

(30) Mary Brascia (Gritty) 

Slim – I got all of the Jack Sock stock this week. At this point, I think his game is probably most suited to men’s doubles, but in this very deep men’s draw, he and Tyson will have their work cut out for them. Usually we see tennis players have success in singles first, but Sock may be more prepared for doubles which he actually practices, unlike singles. It will still be fun to see a guy with his size, athleticism and shot making on the singles court. Meghan and Jorja have the hands and power to beat any team, but I am not sure I love the fit of their games together as both seem better on the left side in women’s doubles. Also, with some new and different mixed partnerships this week, I wonder if that sets up for Matt and Lucy the veterans to make a run.

Gritty – Fed/Pablo were the #3 men’s team on my board but after seeing Slim take back to back men’s teams earlier, I felt I could wait on them, which was very fortunate for me. Their consistency is huge value at the end of this draft. It means that Arnold/Koller go undrafted, which is a team with major variance in their possible results. I went off board with my final pick and went with my heart to take the 2022 North Carolina PPA men’s singles champion, Ryan Sherry. It’s a tougher world out there for Sher Bear in 2023, but the indoor conditions of NC are perfect for him. Mary Brascia has not had a good year in singles, but she has beaten Catherine Parenteau, which is not something many players can say. 

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at nmlpickleball@gmail.com. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

4 thoughts on “PPA Tour North Carolina Open – Fantasy Draft Preview

  • May 4, 2023 at 12:28 am

    Thank you. You are beating a dead horse when you think PPA will become transparent. When a company’s leadership doctrines are unethical and have no integrity, you are not going to see any transparency. IMO, they are going to set up their own paddle testing system (maybe the PPL) instead of using USAPs so as to keep the information under wraps. This is how they have operated since their conception. Side Note: Only a player’s union will end a lot of these unethical practices. Just one man’s opinion. 🙂

    • May 4, 2023 at 6:52 am

      That’s probably right about a player’s union. They should not be accepting this and living in fear though

  • May 4, 2023 at 5:42 am

    So you think Shick was a flash in the pan wonder? No chance for him in Tyson’s half?

    I’m a little relieved we won’t have to watch a drama between Lea and Salome with them in different halves.

    I predict Slim is going to win this draft with his pick of Sock for MXD and MD. I think Sock has a good chance for getting to both SF and Gold match. AL is fresh and hungry. Tyson is always a dawg. Gritty is stuck on legacy players. Slim goes for ceiling in his picks.

    • May 4, 2023 at 6:52 am

      Not a flash in the pan. He’s super talented. Just don’t know if he can replicate it yet and players get to see him so they know what to expect. Definitely not no chance but Tyson does well against inexperienced players he has some video on typically

      It will be interesting to see how Sock does!


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