Shane and Ga Young Take Player of the Year Honors for 2014

Our 2014 POY picks: Shane Van Boening and Ga Young Kim
©JP Parmentier

AZBilliards has chosen Shane Van Boening and Ga Young Kim as the Players of the Year for 2014. Readers should note that AZB tracks players through all events, nationally and internationally, and does not choose based on participation in US events alone.

This year it really would not matter what criteria you used. Shane and Ga Young were simply unsurpassed at winning pool. Ladies first, so let’s review the year that Ga Young Kim gave us. This year was easier to rate than most as all of our players under consideration played in at least five of the same events and all are at the top of the WPA rankings.

There were six players to consider, all of whom had years of which they can be proud. Siming Chen is the WPA #1 ranked player and was our most consistent player. She took 2nd at the World 9-Ball Championship and then had 3rd-place podium finishes at the China Open, the Amway World Open and the WPBA Masters. But she could not find a single major victory this year and as a result her payouts were on the slim side.

Sha Sha Liu also had an admirable year by winning the World 9-Ball title and coming in third on the WPA points list. She also took third at the China Open.

Han Yu had a single star in her sky as she won the China Open this year. An honorable mention must also go to her fifth place finish at the Women’s World 9-Ball. A similar year was on tap for Chou Chieh Yu who celebrated winning the Amway Cup but then managed top ten but not podium results in the Worlds and the China Open.

Finally, our hearts wanted to give Kelly Fisher the award this year as she had a great year while also undergoing heart surgery. Her International Tournament of Champions win was unexpected, but POY awards are based on stats and those fall heavily into Ga Young’s camp. In same event competition, Ga Young came out ahead in the China Open, the 9-Ball Worlds and the WPBA Masters while Kelly Fisher only bested her once at the Amway Cup.

Ga Young Kim stayed close to the podium all year. She won the WPBA Masters and helped knock Kelly Fisher out of the running for POY by beating her in the sudden-death finals. Of interest, Siming Chen came in third at this event. Kim took second at the China Open and third at the World 9-Ball Championship. She also did well at two events that do not qualify for inclusion in POY rankings as she won the Women’s International Pool Championship and took 3rd at the Women’s Tournament of Champions.

So our hearty congratulations to Ga Young Kim. 

For the men no one came close to Shane Van Boening. For one thing, Van Boening plays in more events than most anyone else. In 52 weeks he came in the top ten in over 30 events. And he won twelve of them. TWELVE! It was a breakthrough year for him, something that is hard for a veteran to do. But Van Boening had two heart-stopping moments in 2014. First, he won his first major International event by taking down the World Pool Masters. Then he took his third consecutive U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, a feat that no one else has ever accomplished. One more U.S. Open and he will tie Earl Strickland with five of those puppies.

Van Boening was favored to win at any event where he unfurled his cue. In addition to the above he won:
The Derby City Classic Bigfoot 10-Ball Challenge
The Derby City Classic 9-Ball Division
The $10,000 challenge match with Nick Ekonomopoulos (Not counted for POY honors.)
The Players Championship at Super Billiards Expo
The Andy Mercer Memorial
The United States Barbox 9-Ball
The Untied States Barbox 10-Ball
The Carom Room Classic (Not counted for POY honors.)
The United States Barbox Open Bonus (Not counted for POY honors.)

And many smaller events that we do not include here as we do not have their entire results. By our records Van Boening earned over $188,000 in 2014 and that puts him over $50,000 ahead of his nearest competitor, Darren Appleton.

2014 was no doubt the Year of Van Boening. Were there any disappointments? Of course, there always are and Van Boening ended the year with a performance at the Mosconi Cup that we are certain he would like to forget. But that is an event in a league of its own. When Van Boening shows up in a normal tournament room the odds all shift in his favor. He is an absolute lock for the Hall of Fame and we only wonder if he can beat his own records in 2015.

AZBilliards is proud to award the Player of the Year title for 2014 to Shane Van Boening.

For a recap of the year you can look at our 2014 Money Leaderboard, or the 2014 Tournaments Calendar and click on all the links to get more info.