The Youth Movement – Men’s Top 5 Bowlers Under 25

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two-three years or so, you’re probably aware that there is a youth movement going on, on the PBA Tour.

More so, I’d argue, than ever before, there are young players, and I mean very young, in contention every single week. We are talking about players fresh out of college (if they chose that route), under twenty-five years of age.

And these young guns aren’t just in contention. Many of these players, most in fact, have already won on the biggest stage.

So today we’re going to be doing our top five players under twenty-five on the PBA Tour.

However, we aren’t ranking these players based on what they’ve already accomplished, but, rather, how they will fair going forward in their professional careers. In essence, we are going to ranking our top five prospects under the age of twenty-five.

Before we get started, here are some of the ultra-talented youngsters that just missed our list:

Connor Pickford; 1 Standard Tour Title:
Terrific talent from the Southern Region. Won the Roth/Holman doubles title with Kyle Troup. Still looking for his first career singles title, but it is coming.

Darren/Michael Tang; 0 Tour Titles, 3 combined Championship Round Appearances:
These two brothers are going to be a force to recon with for years to come. Though their physical games differ quite a bit, their talent levels do not. There will be titles in both of these bowlers’ futures.

Jakob Butturf; 2 Standard Tour Titles:
Unique is an understatement when referring to Butturf, but when he is on, he is flat out on. In addition to his early National Tour success, it seems like Butturf wins everything he bowls in his native West/Northwest Regions.

Kristopher Prather; 1 Championship Round Appearance:
The casual fan likely doesn’t know the name Kris Prather, but take my word for it: this guy is a budding star. One of the very best in the world in front of the ball return. Though Prather hasn’t yet found success on the PBA Tour’s national level, it is only a matter of time before this ultra-talented, ultra-versatile talent figures it out.

AJ Johnson; 0 Tour Titles, 2 Championship Round Appearances:
In my opinion, the most talented bowler in the world without a PBA National title. In terms of a physical game, Johnson has everything one needs to be successful. Titles are coming, and when they do, they are going to come in bunches. The floodgates will eventually open for Johnson, and when they do, he’s going to take the National Tour by storm.

Now, without further ado, lets take a look at who made it onto our top five list:

5) Anthony Simonsen; 2 Standard Tour Titles, 1 Major Championship:

The smooth rolling two-hander came out of nowhere to capture two PBA titles in the 2016 season, including one Major Championship at the USBC Masters. Sort of a unique style for a two-hander, Simonsen is far smoother and softer that your typical two-handed player. He gets to the line unlike other two-handers, and has a bit less overall power than the likes of Belmo, Osku, etc. but, nevertheless, Simonsen has plenty of his own power. In my opinion, his uniqueness is what makes him great. He is able to do things that one-handers are capable of while also doing things two-handers are capable of.

4) Jesper Svenson; 5 Standard Tour Titles, 1 Major Championship:

One of the most accomplished players on this list, Svenson is as unique as they come. No one, and I mean no one, can do what Svenson does, the way he does it, as often as he does it, as effectively as he does it. Of course what I am referring to is his uncanny ability to strike with urethane on what seems like virtually every single pattern he bowls on. Svenson has one of the most powerful strike balls on the entire tour, and fact of the matter is when Svenson matches up, no one is going to beat him.

3) Francois Lavoie; 2 Standard Tour Titles, 1 Major Championship:

One of my personal favorite physical games on the entire tour, Lavoie is as versatile as any young player in the world. He can strike from anywhere on the lane, and he has virtually no weaknesses physically. He projects well going forward because there is literally no pattern that he cannot compete and contend on. In addition to that, his simple game is sure to stand the test of time. I expect Lavoie to be contending for PBA titles and Major Championships for decades to come.

2) Marshall Kent; 3 Standard Tour Titles:

One of my favorite physical games of all-time. I have said this before, but I will say it again: Kent’s physical game is the perfect marriage between old school fundamentals and new school power. I wanted desperately to put Kent number one on this list, as I personally believe, from a physical standpoint, he is the most talented young player in the world. Unfortunately, the number one player on this list’s resume was too strong to ignore, but I personally believe that Kent is right there on his ankles battling for the best young player in the world. As of today, Kent has three standard tour titles, as he just won his third yesterday in Lubbock, defeating the number one player on this list in the final.

1) EJ Tackett; 5 Standard Tour Titles, 2 Major Championships, 1 Player of the Year Award:

Without question the most accomplished player on this entire list. Tackett is without a doubt the most powerful one-hander on tour today. In addition to his tremendous talent, he is as confident as any bowler in the world right now. And for good reason. In the past two years, no one, and I mean no one, has been as successful as Tackett. Putting him first on this list was a no-brainer, as there is no doubt that he is one of the very best bowlers in the world, regardless of age. And I believe that Tackett will continue to be just that: one of the best in the world. His talent level is just too high to see him falling off.

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