Jayson Shaw and Han Yu Take AZB Player of the Year Honors

Han Yu and Jayson Shaw

Jayson Shaw and Han Yu both finished off 2016 in style. Shaw sank the winning ball at the Mosconi Cup in London and Han Yu won the WPA Women’s World 9-Ball Championship in Emeishan, China. Both players had superb years and Han Yu wound up the year as the WPA #1 while Jayson Shaw improved internationally to WPA #4. In the past the WPA rankings would have swayed our decision more than it did as now 80% of their major points events are in Asia and that makes the international points list something that is heavily advantageous to the Asian professionals who do not have to invest as much in travel as their western counterparts.

Jayson Shaw went on a streak this year that was simply amazing. He seemed to win every time he screwed his cue together. Indeed, he took home the highest of honors fifteen times in 2016. He played in twenty-five events this year and was in the top five in all but three of them. He has won four of the last five Turning Stone Classic events and he turned around a bad start at the Mosconi Cup to become a star of the show.

He and his doubles partner Darren Appleton had lost their match on the first day to the American pairing of Skyler Woodward and Justin Bergman. They were the only Euros to suffer a loss on the first day. Then, on the second day, Shaw was again alone in his singles loss to Rodney Morris. His Cup was not going well. That began to change on day three when he paired with Albin Ouschan to defeat Rodney Morris and Skyler Woodward 5-3. Neither Ouschan nor Shaw backed away from any tough shots in this match. They took them on and executed them well and that aggression paid off in victory. It also set the tone for Shaw’s match on Friday, where he took on even the toughest of shots and ran over Mike Dechaine 5-1 by simply keeping him in his chair.

Shaw had a bounty of victories in 2016. Major ones, other then the Moscow Cup, include the Kuwait 9-Ball Open, The Challenge of Champions, The Derby City 10-Ball Challenge, Turning Stone Classic XXVI (and as of press time, Turning Stone XXVII as well), the Steinway Classic, Acc-Stats Make It Happen 8-Ball, the Deurne City Classic, the Ocean State Championship, and the Eastern States Championship as well as smaller events.

And he is versatile. He came in second at the Derby City Banks, fourth on the Derby City One Pocket, and, as already noted, won the Accu-Stats 8-Ball event. 2016 was a year when he proved true his nickname of “Eagle-Eye”.

Han Yu has kept a low profile near the top of the pool power rankings for the last three years. But just this year she won both the Women’s World 9-Ball Championship as well as well as the Women’s Division of the China Open. She also took third at both the Amway Cup and the Hongze, China CBSA event.

Han Yu is not new to glory. She won the World Championships in 2013 and won the China Open once before as well, in 2014. Unfortunately, most of the events that Han has performed so well in are from China, where the promoters do not find it convenient to send tournament reports out to western media. So while we would like to be able to provide you with all sorts of playing details about Han Yu, the curtain between us is still mostly drawn.

Congratulations to our 2016 Players of The Year: Han Yu and Jayson Shaw!