Kicking off our interview series with LXM PRO players is Joe Walters, former Univ. of Maryland standout and 4x All-American. Walters, a Rochester, NY native, is currently sponsored by STX and he runs Sharp Shooter Lacrosse.
LAS: Which LXM PRO event has been your favorite so far? Why?
Joe Walters: Well, I have only been to the Orange County/LA LXM event thus far and I had a great time. The mix of instruction/competition/entertainment made for a very complete experience. I am VERY excited to play in my first LXM Pro event in August.
Why LXM PRO over the MLL?
I am very close with LXM and everyone involved so I felt it was important to get incorporated in year one and do everything I can to help it grow. It was a tough decision to leave the MLL this year, and I was disappointed that they would not allow guys to play both, but I have accomplished everything I possibly can (winning 2 MLL titles, MLL All Star, All MLL, Playoff MVP) so I feel like I have reached my goals professionally and am excited for this new challenge.
What do you think about the MCLA and LXM PRO’s use of an MCLA game as the college showcase during the event?
I think it is great. Many MCLA teams would hold their own at the Division 1 level, so it is nice for them to get exposure at LXM Pro events. Most kids in each LXM Pro city can relate to their local MCLA team, so it’s important to incorporate them into the event.
What is it like having STX as a sponsor? What kind of stuff do they do for you, and why did you go with them?
To me, STX is Lacrosse. They have been in the game for so many years and it is an honor to be apart of such a strong company. I have been with STX for 3 years now, each year learning so much about the industry and traveling all over the country, which is my favorite part. You meet so many people and make connections that go a long way, but more importantly, it’s reaching out to the youth of our sport that makes each STX event unique and a great experience. When STX approached me coming out of college I was thrilled, as my first lacrosse stick was an STX Dominator, so the brand always had special meaning.
Do you prefer box or outdoor lacrosse? How has playing both improved your games in ways that surprise you?
I am an outdoor lacrosse guy. That being said, I am a fan of the indoor game and have learned so much over the past 2 seasons playing in the NLL for the Knighthawks. My first season I played offense, and spent this past season playing transition, so I got the opportunity to learn the defensive aspect of the game. The indoor game really has helps your stick work and stick protection, but more importantly I think it teaches you general toughness and the skill of taking contact and continuing the play.
When it comes to your lacrosse skills, what was the hardest aspect of your game to master?
I am still working on my right hand. I wish I had spent more time as a kid on my weak hand, but I’d say I made it just fine with my left hand. Besides that, I have worked hard on dodging over the years. As a freshman at Maryland I was primarily a finisher, but my game evolved each season after, as I carried the ball more and more.
What’s your current stick set up? Who strings your sticks? Are you a fan of dyed heads?
I go with an STX Proton Power on an STX Katana shaft. I string all my sticks, which all players growing up should learn how to. I am a HUGE fan of dyed heads, it’s nice seeing some flare on the field and not always the standard white on white stick.
What was your favorite part of playing at University of Maryland?
Being a contender every year is why I went to Maryland. Playing against the nations top teams every week was a dream come true; I am so grateful that Coach Cottle gave me the opportunity to play at UMD.
Assuming you want the Terps to win it all… Who would you to see them beat in the championship game? Why?
Now that Syracuse went down, I like the Terps chances of going to the final 4 and even championship game. I like Virginia on the other side of the bracket and beating them in the championship would be fitting, as they are one of our big ACC rivals, who has had our number. I’ll be there to see it!
Favorite pre-game music?
Hip hop/rap, from Weezy, Kanye, Jeezy….gets me going.
Favorite place to eat, ever?
Chipotle….delicious, filling, inexpensive…call me for endorsement.
Gotta love the barbacoa. Thanks for the interview, Joe.