Magazine Meet the 2012 1st Round Draft Picks Catching up with past No. 1 MLL Draft Picks Chris Rotelli | Joe Walters Pat Heim | Paul Rabil
Sights and sounds from the MLL Collegiate Draft
Major news from around the League
talks MLL Draft and the Rattlersâ€™ 2012 Championship goals
Jeremy Boltus discusses the challenges of juggling his Army duties and playing pro lacrosse
Winter 2012 Issue
A LETTER FROM OUR FOUNDER Magazine
Dear Fans, A New Year is upon us and we’re pumped to welcome you to the twelfth season of amazing Major League Lacrosse action! We enter the New Year with exciting changes, which will make the 2012 MLL season the best ever. We’re thrilled to introduce the expansion Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine to our fans this year. With two new teams and two additional regular season games for each franchise, the League will be even more packed with action and excitement than in previous years. Our goal is to provide you with the ultimate fan experience each week! As part of this goal, we are happy to answer our fans’ overwhelming demand for more MLL games on TV. We will broadcast 20 nationally televised live games this season. This includes six live games on ESPN2, 14 games on CBS Sports Network, 40 regionally telecast games and 46 live games on ESPN3. With all of this great TV coverage it will be impossible to miss MLL on TV. In addition to live national games, CBS Sports Network will air 18 episodes of our awesome 30-minute magazine show, “Inside the MLL,” which takes you, the fan, behind-the-scenes with highlights, analysis and exclusive interviews. Don’t forget to check out majorleaguelacrosse.com for the best lacrosse highlights and MLL news! While it’s easy to get excited about the season, it’s important to note the major strides MLL has made during its off-season. On January 13, MLL hosted its most successful Collegiate Draft ever in Philadelphia, PA during the US Lacrosse National Convention. Fans and industry wINTER 2012
Winter 2012 Issue leaders popped in to watch as each of our eight teams drafted the top college seniors from the best lacrosse programs across the country. The enthusiasm surrounding the event proves that lacrosse really is the fastest growing sport in our great country. It’s amazing to think how explosive Major League Lacrosse has become. Many MLL veterans and legends attended our recent Collegiate Draft and noted the undeniable advancements the League has made in such a short time. Years ago, professional lacrosse was a distant and unattainable dream. Today, it’s a reality that’s being rooted in the country’s droves of youth players. Today you have MLL Fatheads on your bedroom walls. Today you watch our stars battle it out on the fields. Today you have a dream that CAN become your reality. We’re looking forward to seeing you this season where we know our stadiums will be packed with enthusiastic fans like yourself. DON’T QUIT!
Jake Steinfeld Founder Major League Lacrosse
Marketing & Public Relations Manager Aly Morrissey Editor Aly Morrissey Assistant Editor Steve Guglielmo Graphic Designer Cassie Watson Staff Writers Jordan Borrosh Steve Guglielmo
Slash Magazine is the official magazine of Major League Lacrosse. It is published four times a year by the Marketing and Public Relations Department of Major League Lacrosse (MLL). Slash is distributed by each of the League’s eight teams on game days during the season. Two additional issues are available digitally during the MLL off-season at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com. Publication and editorial offices are located at MLL Headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Major League Lacrosse commenced play in June of 2001 and will enter its twelfth season in 2012. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports. The league is made up of eight teams: The Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Hamilton Nationals, Long Island Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.
Visit us on the Web at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com
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news 2012 MLL all-star game: First-ever mll event to be held in florida
a sneak peek at the Boston cannonsâ€™ 2011 mll championship rings www.bostoncannons.com
mll to host 2012 championship weekened in boston, massachusetts
max seibald traded to long island lizards before mll draft
robust National tv schedule announced for 2012 season
mll analyst evan washburn and espn announcer quint kessenich break down each teamâ€™s selections in the 2012 mll collegaite draft that took place on friday, january 13, 2012. you can watch online: www.majorleaguelacrosse.com
Meet ThE first round MLL draftees By Steve Guglielmo With the first overall pick in the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft, the Long Island Lizards selected Cornell Attackman Rob Pannell. The Lizards hope that the 5 ft. 10 in. Pannell will be able to step in and fill the void left by Matt Danowski, who they traded to the Charlotte Hounds as part of a blockbuster deal that landed them the first overall pick of the draft. Pannell, the 2010 and 2011 Ivy League Player of the Year, was one of the consensus top talents in the draft. A three-time All-American and two-time Jack Turnbull Award winner for the Big Red, Pannell finished the 2011 season with 89 points (42 goals and 47 assists). He is the only lacrosse player to ever be nominated for an ESPY Award in the category of Best Male College Athlete.
The Ohio Machine selected UVa Attackman Steele Stanwick with its inaugural MLL Collegiate Draft pick. The 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy Winner helped lead the Cavaliers to their fifth Division I National Championship with an unprecedented 20 points in the 2011 NCAA tournament. Stanwick racked up 70 points on the season en route to being named a first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year. The 6 foot Stanwick will look to become only the second two-time Tewaaraton Trophy winner during his senior season at Virginia. He is only the third Tewaaraton winner to receive the award before his final year of eligibility, following Mike Powell and Matt Danowski.
Despite sitting out all of 2011, Duke Defenseman Mike Manley was the third overall pick by the Rochester Rattlers. Manley, who tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee, had started every game for the Blue Devils before being forced to red-shirt in 2011. In 2010 Manley was named a USILA third-team AllAmerican after scooping up 44 ground balls and forcing 17 turnovers. The 6 ft. 1 in. shutdown defender is a native of Penn Yan, NY, and projects as an immediate starter as a professional.
With the fourth overall selection in the 2012 Collegiate Draft, the Denver Outlaws selected local Attackman Mark Matthews from the University of Denver. Matthews stands an imposing 6 ft. 4 in. tall and weighs in at 210 pounds. He was named a USILA second-team All-American and ECAC Offensive Player of the Year after an impressive 2011 campaign that saw him tally a team-leading 70 points (46 goals and 24 assists) to go along with 42 groundballs and 8 forced turnovers. Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Matthews combines a unique blend of speed and footwork for a big man, honed playing box lacrosse growing up. Denver acquired the fourth pick from the Long Island Lizards in a trade that sent Midfielder Max Seibald to the Lizards.
I thought from a predictability standpoint, the GMs and coaches stayed true to their wishes in the first two rounds. ESPN Announcer Quint Kessenich
C.J. Costabile became the second Blue Devil taken in the Draft when he was selected fifth by the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Costabile was a USILA thirdteam All-American and All-ACC team member in 2011. He led the Blue Devils in groundballs with 95, and ranked second on the team with 23 caused turnovers while scoring nine points (4 goals, 5 assists.) The 6 ft. 1 in. LSM provided one of the most exciting moments in Duke lacrosse history in 2010 when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the National Championship game against Notre Dame. Costabile adds versatility as a face-off man who can compliment a full-time FOGO.
With their second pick in the first round of the 2012 Collegiate Draft, the Denver Outlaws selected University of Virginia Midfielder Colin Briggs. Briggs dazzled in Virginia’s Cinderella run through the 2011 NCAA Tournament, picking up Most Outstanding Player honors. He scored 7 goals in the Cavaliers’ 3 tournament games, including a staggering 5 in the final against Maryland. For the season, Briggs tallied 41 points on 29 goals and 12 assists. He also added 27 groundballs. The redshirt senior was an All-ACC and USILA second-team AllAmerican in 2011.
Princeton University Defenseman Chad Wiedmaier was selected seventh overall by the Hamilton Nationals. Quint Kessenich said of Wiedmaier, the second Ivy-leaguer taken in the draft, “Wiedmaier may be the top cover defender in the nation.” He has played against Rob Pannell five times and held the nation’s leading scorer to 4 goals on 44 shots. The 6 ft. 1 in. defenseman was a first-team All-Ivy selection for the third consecutive year in 2011. No Princeton player has ever been first-team All-Ivy four times. Wiedmaier finished 2011 with 24 ground balls and could be an immediate starter as a pro.
Capping off what was an impressive showing for Duke University in the first round, the Ohio Machine selected Robert Rotanz with the 8th overall pick. Rotanz started 14 games in the midfield for the Blue Devils in 2011 and played in 20. The USILA All-America honorable mention selection totaled 28 points (23 goals and 5 assists), good for third on the team. The 6 ft. 3 in. middie upped his shooting percentage to 36.5 percent in 2011 from 22 percent in 2010. Rotanz also scooped 21 ground balls as a junior. Rotanz was the first of 5 midfielders that the Machine took in its inaugural Collegiate draft.
A Balancing Act MLL attackman Jeremy Boltus discusses the hardships of juggling his service in the Army with playing professional lacrosse
By Steve Guglielmo
Jeremy Boltus leads a very busy life. Last season, playing with the Hamilton Nationals, he worked as a Second Lt. to West Point’s first duty station during the week. On weekends, Boltus would drive six hours from West Point, NY, to Buffalo before taking a shuttle into Canada to play in Hamilton home games and practices. When the Nationals played on the road, Boltus would fly to the games. “I think of it like a business trip,” Boltus says. “You get to hang out with your friends on the team and play a sport that you love in front of thousands of fans. That makes all of the traveling worthwhile. Sure, you get a little tired but then you realize that you’re achieving a life-long dream.”
That busy schedule is one of the reasons that Boltus fell so far in the 2011 MLL Collegiate Draft. Army’s number two alltime leading scorer fell all the way into the final round when the Hamilton Nationals took him with the 43rd overall pick. Because of his military obligation, teams just weren’t sure what kind of commitment Boltus would be able to give to the sport. “Going into the draft I literally had no expectations,” says Boltus. “I understand why I was selected 43rd. Because of my obligation to the Army, I was surprised to have been drafted at all.” Boltus is used to being overlooked and underestimated. Coming out of high school, Army was the only Division I team to actively recruit him. He responded by authoring one of the most prolific careers in the history of Army lacrosse. Boltus ranks second alltime in both points (214) and assists (124) in Black Knights history. He was also only the second Black Knight ever to be named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, after a senior season that saw him tally 69 points on 24 goals and 45 assists. Despite being selected in the final round of the draft, Boltus continued that dominance in the MLL. He was named the 2011 Cascade
Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies in scoring with 30 points. He also led the Nationals in goals with 19. However, questions about his ability to juggle service with lacrosse persist. Boltus was left unprotected in the 2012 MLL Expansion Draft by the Hamilton Nationals due to questions about his summer availability. “I had a long conversation with [General Manager] Jody Gage before the expansion draft and because of some of the uncertainty around my being able to commit full-time they chose not to retain me or protect me before the draft,” Boltus says. “I understood that completely.” The Charlotte Hounds went on to select Boltus with the second pick of the Expansion Draft. “It’s humbling knowing that the Charlotte Hounds see me as part of the foundation of the organization,” said Boltus after the draft. Charlotte’s pick is a classic case of high-risk high-reward. If Boltus is able to continue to balance his Army obligations with the team, then the Hounds just picked up one of the league’s most talented and exciting attackman. “He is an outstanding talent that has a tremendous work ethic,” said Hounds’ Head Coach Mike Cerino.
Left: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen; Right: Second Lt. Jeremy Boltus. Photo by Tommy Gilligan, West Point Public Affairs.
“We were very fortunate to draft last season’s MLL ‘Rookie of the Year.’ “After speaking with Jeremy, and getting some clarification on his summer duties and obligations, the slight risk is worth the high reward. Jeremy will be a core building block of the Hounds franchise and we feel his best lacrosse is still ahead of him.” For his part, Boltus is being proactive. “In April I am moving to an Army base in Oklahoma,” says Boltus. “I have been in contact with the base and they are all for me playing on the weekends as long as there is no conflict. I understand that the Army and my training is my priority but on weekends with nothing going on, my base is in favor of me
going out and promoting Army lacrosse.” Although he will miss Hamilton, Boltus is excited to take part in Charlotte’s inaugural season. “The social networking and promotion that the team does has been incredible,” he says. “The fan base seems so thrilled to have a lacrosse team.” With the addition of Boltus and trades for MLL stalwarts like Matt Danowski and Stephen Berger, the Hounds are putting themselves in a strong position for their first year. “When I heard that I was going to an expansion team, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” says Boltus. “But seeing the moves that they have made has shown that they’re committed to winning an MLL championship right away. As a player, what more could you ask for?” The Charlotte Hounds will probably not enter the 2012 season as favorites to win the Steinfeld Trophy. But that underdog role fits Jeremy Boltus just fine. He’s used to it by now.
2012 MLL Collegiate Draft, Philadelphia PA
Hamilton Nationals Attackman Casey Powell with MLL Announcer Evan Washburn
“I need to know the players but I also need to know the teams and their goals. That’s something viewers and fans can’t get through just watching live on TV.” MLL Announcer Evan Washburn on preparing for a live event
Inside Lacrosse Columnist Kyle Devitte
Charlotte Hounds Midfielder Justin Smith
MLL Commissioner David Gross
Ohio Machine Attackman Connor Martin (aka Con Bro Chill) giving the thumbs-up
2012 MLL Champion Boston Cannons : Mike Fox, Steve Duffy, Jim Murphy, Kevin Barney (left to right)
Blockbuster Trade on MLL Draft Day The Denver Outlaws traded Max Seibald to the Long Island Lizards in exchange for draft picks Just minutes prior to the start of the 2012 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft, midfielder Max Seibald was traded from the Denver Outlaws to the Long Island Lizards. In exchange for Seibald, the Outlaws received the fourth overall selection in this year’s Collegiate Draft, a fourth round pick in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft and midfielder Christian Pastirik. A three-year MLL veteran, Seibald scored 41 goals, including seven two-point markers, with 11 assists in 28 games for the Outlaws. He played in 10 games last
season, scoring nine goals, including a pair of twopoint tallies, with an assist. In 2010, Seibald enjoyed his best season with the Outlaws by scoring 20 goals (2 two-point goals) with eight assists. With 30 points, the former Cornell University standout ranked third on the team. Pastirik, who played collegiately at Towson University, appeared in one game for the Lizards last year and tallied an assist in a victory over Rochester on May 21. The Outlaws used the fourth overall selection to draft Mark Matthews from the University of Denver.
MLL All-Star Game Set for Palm Beach County, FL This will mark the first-ever League event in the state of Florida MLL will host the 2012 All-Star Game in Palm Beach County, FL. at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) on Saturday, June 30 at 7:30 PM, ET. This will mark the first event in League history that will take place in the state. Returning to the AllStar Game this year is the “Young Guns vs. Old School” format, in which MLL veterans will compete against players who entered the league in 2009 or later. New to the All-Star Game will be the “MLL All-Star Experience with Casey Powell wINTER 2012
and Tony Lowe,” which will provide fans with the opportunity to compete in a tournament prior to the game. MLL Legend Casey Powell is a current attackman for the Hamilton Nationals. He is the MLL all-time points leader with 392 points. He was named the MLL Offensive Player of the Year in 2005 and is one of ten players in MLL history to earn at least ten Bud Light MLL Player of the Game honors. Tony Lowe is the founder of Snipers Lacrosse, the premier Florida lacrosse program.
The Long Island native is a former Lehigh University lacrosse standout. This year’s MLL All-Star Game is a Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council funded project, supported by the Palm
Beach County Sports Commission. Tickets for the 2012 MLL All-Star Game will be on sale on February 20 at www. Ticketmaster.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting any Ticketmaster Outlet.
by the numbers
12 The total number of MLL Collegiate Drafts since the Inaugural MLL Draft in 2001. Locations of the previous drafts include Baltimore, Md., Lowell, Ma., Haverford, PA, Fairfield, CT, Stony Brook, N.Y., Hoboken, NJ, New Haven, CT, and Philadelphia, PA.
The number of first ov e rall picks to win an MLL Championship: Pat heim (Cannons), Mikey Powell (Bayhawks), Paul Rabil (cannons), and Joe walters (rattlers).
Total number of MLL players who have been drafted from Syracuse University since the first ever MLL Collegiate Draft in 2001. This represents the largest number of athletes from any school in the history of the league. Notable players are Mikey and Casey Powell, mike leveille, dan hardy, john galloway and jovan miller.
39 The all-time number of players drafted from the university of Virginia. This number includes the 2012 mll draftees (steele Stanwick, colin briggs, chris bocklet, matt lovejoy and chris clements).
jeremy boltus was the 43rd overall selection in the 2011 mll collegiate draft By the hamilton nationals from army. Though he was drafted in the final round, he proved to be worth his weight in gold after an outstanding rookie campaign. boltus earned cascade rookie of the year honors after scoring 30 points (19 goals, 11 assists). He appeared in all 12 regular season games and in two playoff games for the nation-
A Breakdown of all things related to The mll draft
The Total number of collegiate players selected by a Major League Lacrosse team during an MLL Collegiate Draft since the leagueâ€™s inception. Top Schools MLL players came from include Syracuse, Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Duke.
43 als. Boltus scored two goals and added one assist during the 2011 mll championship weekend but fell short to the Boston cannons in the championship game. Boltus was selected by the charlotte hounds in the 2012 mll expansion draft.
mll legend and 2003 no. 1 overall pick chris rotelli (uva) playing for san fancisco Dragons
Number One 14
MLL caught up with some of the most celebrated No. 1 MLL Collegiate Draft picks in the Leagueâ€™s history and got their thoughts on going No.1, in addition to the growth of the league. SLASH MAGAZINE
Lacrosse Legend Paved the Way Former MLL standout Chris Rotelli helped pave the way for today’s stars and continues to grow the sport of lacrosse on the west coast
By Aly Morrissey There’s no doubt about it. Chris Rotelli is a Major League Lacrosse pioneer. Unlike members of recent MLL Collegiate Draft classes, Rotelli joined the league during a time when the possibility of playing professional lacrosse was a brand new concept. He was part of the electric movement that has paved the way for professional lacrosse stars today. Just three days after winning the ‘03 National Championship with the University of Virginia, Rotelli competed in the Warrior MLL Challenge, a combine that was held in conjunction with the MLL Collegiate Draft. “It was really exciting,” the midfielder remembers. “It was like a roller coaster. Not many of my classmates or even I had thought much about playing pro lacrosse, but here we were doing this
pro combine and it was unlike anything we had ever seen.” Rotelli was the No. 1 overall selection by the Bridgeport Barrage. “I was flattered. It was a great honor because there were a lot of talented players in the draft.” He was one of the guinea pigs to test the additions of a shot clock and a 2-point arc, elements distinctive of MLL that increases speed and intensity. Rotelli realized first-hand how difficult the transition could be. “All the players were a little bigger, a little faster, they shot the ball a little harder, the goalies were better, and it was more physical. I think the refs let us get away with more, so a guy coming out of college in his first couple of games was usually in a bit of shock,” he laughs. Rotelli played for seven seasons and scored 109
Chris Rotelli (above) now works as a west coast representative for Cascade Helmets
career goals and had 47 assists. He advanced to the playoffs three times, twice with the Boston Cannons and once with the San Francisco Dragons. As for a Rotelli-return to MLL? He admits that he has interest, but not as a player. “I think a coaching role might be more in my wheelhouse these days. Maybe if
a team comes back to San Francisco.” Today, Rotelli works with Cascade Helmets to advance the sport of lacrosse on the west coast. His goal is to protect lacrosse players with helmets like the CPXR and the PRO7, and to generate more players in general, resulting in the growth of the sport.
Cascade Helmets as Seen at the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention
From Sidelines to Headlines MLL Attackman Joe Walters remembers being a Rattlers fan before being drafted No. 1 by his hometown team
By Steve Guglielmo A longtime Rochester Rattlers fan, Joe Walters fulfilled his dream of starring on the team. He was the first overall selection in the 2006 MLL draft by the Rattlers and remembers very well the whirlwind of activity surrounding the draft. “The week of the draft was so crazy,” recalls Walters. “I had just played in the Final Four and had the Tewaaraton and All-American banquet all in the same week as the draft.” Walters came out of college as one of the most decorated players in the country. A four-time AllAmerican, Walters is the all-time leading goal and point scorer in the history of University of Maryland lacrosse. He won the 2003 ACC Rookie of the Year, 2004 ACC Player of the Year and 2006 Jack Turnbull award and was a finalist for the 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy. “I remember being so stressed out about all of the travel,” says Walters. “But at the same time, I was excited. I just wanted to get out there and start my career as a professional lacrosse player.” A Rochester, NY-native, Walters had been a fan of the Rattlers since the league’s inception in 2001. “Going into the draft, I was anxious,” he says. “I had spoken to Rochester wINTER 2012
the day before the draft and they had mentioned that they were interested in me, but I didn’t know anything for sure. When I heard my name called, it was a surreal feeling because I remember going to the games growing up and hoping that someday it would be me out there. Seeing my name on the back of that jersey and knowing that I was going to get that chance to play in front of my hometown fans was humbling.” In addition to playing for his hometown team, Walters also got the chance to play with one of his favorite players. “I was so excited to play with John Grant Jr. When I walked into the locker room the first time, he didn’t really say much,” Walters laughs. “He’s kind of like that. A little standoffish. But over the next few games we became good friends and started to really play well together and develop great chemistry.” The transition from college to the MLL is incredibly difficult. Not only is the game much faster and the competition much better, but players who were used to being the best player on their college team have to adapt to being just one piece of the puzzle. “I was very nervous my first year in the league. Nervous about fitting in and holding my own. I didn’t want to
Joe Walters and MLL Commissioner David Gross at the 2006 MLL Collegiate Draft in Fairfield, Ct.
mess up,” says Walters, who credits Grant Jr. with helping to ease that transition. As Walters became comfortable, he began to thrive. In nine games as a rookie he totaled 21 points. “When you play nervous, it shows in your game. You aren’t as sharp.” Now, six years later, Walters finds himself playing the role of veteran mentor. “This past year we had so many rookies and I really took more of a veteran leadership role,” he says. “Myself, Jordan Hall, Brodie Merrill and Geoff Snider all wanted to help our young guys get the chance to step up and make big plays. You want to give younger players the chance to prove themselves. You
don’t want them to shy away from making that big play.” In his career, Walters has scored 189 points (114 goals including six twopoint goals and 69 assists.) He helped the Rattlers win the 2009 Steinfeld Trophy and led the Nationals to the 2011 championship game. He is excited to get the chance to play with some of this year’s draftees as lacrosse continues to grow and expand. “The way the game continues to evolve is great,” he says. “With the TV deals that the league has now and being able to play in front of thousands of fans and travel all over the country it is great for the sport and great for the league.”
Heim Shines in the Eleventh Hour The MLL Champion Didn’t Receive an Invitation to the 2007 MLL Combine Until Two Days Prior to Going No. 1
By Aly Morrissey He’ll tell you that it was luck. But those who have followed the career of Boston Cannons Midfielder Pat Heim know he was chosen as the No. 1 overall selection by the Chicago Machine for a reason. In 2007, the name Pat Heim wasn’t even a whisper amidst speculations as to which college seniors would be drafted by a Major League Lacrosse team. The midfielder was finishing a tumultuous season with the Penn State Nittany Lions, who ended their season with a 5-8 record. “We didn’t really have a good year at Penn State,” Heim admits. “We weren’t really ranked towards the end of the year and we were never on TV.” This naturally made it difficult for Heim to secure an invitation to the 2007 MLL Collegiate Draft. But despite the Nittany Lions’ lackluster year, Heim’s personal achievements were impressive. A first team All-ECAC selection, Heim scored 14 goals with four assists for the Nittany Lions in his senior year and was named as the team’s George Pittenger Award winner, which goes to the team’s most outstanding senior. He ended his Penn State career with 58 goals and 27 assists. But Heim wasn’t ready to
hang up his cleats. He was determined to play professionally for Major League Lacrosse. Four hundred miles southwest of Penn State, Duke University Attackman Matt Danowski was granted an extra year of collegiate eligibility, which shook things up for the ensuing draft. The attackman had been the projected No. 1 draft pick which meant the spot was now up for grabs. Heim saw an opportunity. “I made some phone calls myself and my coach made some calls on my behalf. MLL invited me two days before the combine. I packed my bags, called my dad and went up to Stony Brook for the draft.” Heim entered upstate N.Y. with a level-headed mindset and agreed to play with the same intensity that made him such a threat in college. He would leave the rest up to fate, or luck, as he calls it. To everyone’s surprise, the midfielder who had flown under the radar until days before the draft tested number one in all of the physical tests implemented by MLL. His performance on the field was equally as impressive, as he scored three goals in the combine, proving he was an offensive weapon not to be overlooked. He had every-
Pat Heim and MLL Commissioner David Gross at the 2007 MLL Collegiate Draft in Stony Brook, N.Y.
one’s attention now. In a bar back home, his friends watched in awe as their teammate, who had barely received a last-minute invitation, was named as the first overall selection in the 2007 MLL Collegiate Draft. “Everyone asks me the same thing, which is ‘were you surprised?’” Heim laughs. “I tell them, ‘Yes. I had no idea. It was the luck of the draw because [MLL] invited me last-minute and I ended up getting drafted No. 1.’ It’s kind of a fun story.” Heim took the League by storm. He scored four goals for the Machine in his first game, earning him MLL
Rookie of the Week honors. He was also one of the few rookies named as an MLL All-Star in 2007. In 2011 he made the MLL All-Star roster again, scoring two unassisted goals for Team Warrior, who won by a last second, game-winning goal. Last season Heim also achieved the ultimate feat by leading the Boston Cannons to their first-ever MLL Championship in Annapolis, MD. It’s obvious that Heim’s talent is creating opportunities for himself and for his team, which has made him such a successful athlete in Major League Lacrosse. And to think, he almost didn’t make the draft.
â€œ ned crotty competes in the freestyle competition, 2011 mll all-star game in boston
To go No. 1 overall in a professional sport was an amazing experience. To be in a room with such great players and to hear MLL Commissioner Dave Gross call my name was a proud moment. Rochester Rattlers attackman, Ned Crotty
ned crotty plays for Team USA during the 2010 MLL wINTER 2012 Warrior Challenge
Drafted for the Red, White & Blue Ned Crotty played for Team USA against his fellow draftees in the 2010 MLL Combine
By Aly Morrissey It was evident that Rochester Rattlers attackman Ned Crotty was in a different class from the start. While the 2010 MLL draft class was competing in a game against Team USA in a last-ditch effort to display their skills, Ned wasn’t wearing a rookie jersey. He was sporting the colors of the red, white and blue. “To be able to play for Team USA against my friends and other draftees was a fun yet humbling experience,” Crotty says. “It was unique because the college players were looking to get drafted while I was looking to get recognized by an MLL team and define my role on Team USA.” Crotty paints a busy picture as his collegiate lacrosse career came to a head in the spring of 2010. He led Duke University to its first National Championship, was the recipient of the Tewaaraton Trophy, and was the No. 1 overall selection by the Chicago Machine in the MLL Collegiate Draft. “To go No. 1 overall in a professional sport was an amazing experience,” he recalls. “To be in a room with such great players and to hear MLL Commissioner Dave Gross call my name was a proud moment and a cool transition from college.” Crotty was ready to start a new chapter in his wINTER 2012
lacrosse career with an MLL team stacked with veterans. “They were incredibly inviting,” Crotty remembers. “We had a game the Saturday following the draft and they came up to me and introduced themselves and immediately ran me through the offensive run. It made the transition a smooth one.” The transition from the collegiate level to MLL has proved to be challenging for many, but thanks to his career at Duke, Crotty says the change was less taxing because of their up-tempo style of play that prepared him for additions like the shot clock and the 2-point arc. Despite the acceptance from longtime veterans, the pressure was tangible for Crotty. “It was intimidating stepping in with the players I had grown up watching. Only so many guys made it into the League with six teams at that time and everybody could do everything.” But the more Crotty played, the more chemistry was formed with his veteran teammates like the Leveille brothers, Chris Rotelli and Bill McGlone. They assured him he had been drafted for a reason, encouraged him to be comfortable, to dodge frequently, and to understand he was not stuck within a system. Crotty scored 11
Ned Crotty and MLL Commissioner Gross at the 2010 MLL Collegiate Draft
goals and posted 13 assists in just seven games during his rookie campaign. In his sophomore efforts, Crotty had a breakthrough performance, leading the League in points and cementing his place in MLL as a serious offensive threat. “My role became greater with the loss of the Leveille Brothers and I was suddenly a veteran. More was asked of me, my comfort level rose and I was looked at as a go-to guy on attack,” Crotty said of his 2011 season with the Rochester Rattlers who went 2-10. They finished last in the League and endured a mid-season coaching change. “I know people knocked Rochester last year, but if you looked at the individu-
al scoreboards, we weren’t losing by much. If you looked at our roster, most of our team was made up of guys in their first or second years. We had a lot of young talent.” In the past, Rochester was considered a premier team and won several MLL Championships and Crotty is determined to lead his team to another victory. “We are more than capable of accomplishing it this year. We weren’t happy with the way we ended last season. Now that we have the maturity and another year of experience, we are going to make a big push to the MLL Championships.”
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we caught up with Ohio Machine attackman buggs combs at the us lacrosse national convention in philadelphia, Pa.
who made it out on top after the mll expansion draft?
Who made it out on top after the mll collegiate draft? Buggs Combs at the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention
Who will be the best allaround player this season?
With 40% of the votes, you said Billy Bitter! Bitter was traded from the Outlaws to the new Charlotte Hounds. In his rookie campaign, Bitter posted 16 points (12 goals, 4 assists).
MLL: Tell us a little bit about Shoot 2 Score Lacrosse and what you covered on the demo field at the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention. Buggs Combs: Shoot 2 Score is a shooting school that Devon Britts and I started about five years ago. Essentially, we go to different places across the country and conduct shooting drills. We review their shooting techniques and they leave with a DVD of the various drills we’ve covered. At the Convention, we presented ways to become a better shooter by conducting drills using high school athletes to execute them, giving coaches a preview of our camps. We provided tips and tricks for coaches to teach their players, such as figuring out where the goalie is before shooting, the best percentage shot and how to create it. MLL: You’re coming off a ruptured Achilles Tendon. How has the recovery process been going?
In a close second, you said Ned Crotty, who was the 2010 MLL Rookie of the Year and led the league in points last year. This season he will look to lead the Rochester Rattlers to the Championships after coming in last place last season.
BC: It’s been going well. In the beginning it was very slow. It’s a 10-month injury but in the past two months I’ve been making significant progress. I’m lucky I have a great doctor and physical therapists. MLL: You were recently picked up by the expansion Ohio Machine. What are your thoughts on returning to the league after a hiatus?
BC: I think that the one thing the injury gave me was a summer off, so I feel really refreshed with my body in the best shape I’ve been in since I played in the league. Everything the Machine has done so far has been first class from drafting to welcoming guys to the team. We have a very good core of veterans like Greg Bice and Anthony Kelly and a lot of youth as well. I’m very excited.
paul rabil:advice for
2012 draft class
By Jordan Borrosh Every year there is at least one player that each team is vying for the opportunity to draft. Though it was only four years ago that Paul Rabil took Major League Lacrosse by storm with his athleticism and gravitational pull, he has veteran advice that could mold the MLL draftees of tomorrow.
“The 2008 draft was right after the National Championship game and I played for Johns Hopkins against my fellow draftees,” remembers Rabil of the year he was drafted to the Boston Cannons. “I was very aware of how talented everyone was.”
The transition from the collegiate level to the fast-paced professional level generally creates a tangible pressure, even for athletes who starred on their college teams. But not for Paul Rabil. “There wasn’t that much pressure. I felt like I had an opportunity in the MLL to try different things that I may not have done in the college game. The college game is so much more regimented and strict…being able to showcase some of my athleticism and long distance shooting in the MLL made me more excited than nervous.” Despite the quick transition from college to Major League Lacrosse, Rabil was excited to get started. Not even playing alongside MLL Legend Mikey Powell could intimidate him. “I had always looked up to Mike when I was younger,” he said. “Anytime you get a chance to play with someone that you’ve looked up to and tried to emulate is a great experience. Being able to set him up for goals was a lot of fun.”
In his rookie campaign, Rabil scored an impressive 24 goals in just nine games. He went on to win MLL Offensive Player of the Year and Bud Light MLL MVP of the Year awards in both 2009 and 2011. He tied for first in points last season and has continued to be an MLL icon and a fan-favorite. As the first overall selection in the 2008 MLL Collegiate Draft, Rabil has sage advice for first rounders like Rob Pannell and Steele Stanwick. “Don’t take it for granted in any way shape or form. It’s an opportunity that you only get once in your lifetime and whether it’s in lacrosse or any other sport, it can really shape the rest of your life in terms of how you position yourself with a team, how hard you work and how much longevity you’ll create out of your career. I was very humbled by the experience and continue to work each day to try to make sure the Cannons are reimbursed for their risk.”
The college game is so much more regimented and strict…being able to showcase some of my athleticism and long distance shooting in the MLL made me more excited than nervous. Boston Cannons Midfielder, Paul Rabil