I love an overtly physical defenseman! Any good team can use a guy who is looking to bring the heat on hits, and when the guy can also play solid one on one defense, use his stick to move the ball, AND has a good lacrosse IQ, you have to think you’ve found a winner.
Now John Graziano of Manhasset may not possess Tucker Durkin’s physical stature, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t play a physical brand of lacrosse, because he does. Now he’s not throwing people around like Durkin did in his HS tape, but Graziano hits hard, and his timing is pretty superb. He also hits legally, which is huge when one considers the new focus on player safety within the current college rules.
Other positives than stand out:
– Graziano does a good job of staying on the crease, and then playing the man at X when the pass is on its way. He also does an excellent job of engaging attackers at or below goal line extended.
– His stick is good, he can run with the ball, and shoot when the opportunity presents itself.
– His takeaway game is good. He gets the stick in there, keeps his checks “small” (no big wind ups), and keeps pressure on the ball carrier.
– He may be playing against JV opponents, but they are GOOD JV opponents. It can be tough to grade 2015 players (as Graziano is) when they play JV in hotbed areas, but Graziano names his opponents, and doesn’t put in many soft teams. Chaminade, Darien, St. Anthony’s JV teams are excellent.
Overall, I like John Graziano’s game. He’s physical, relentless, and has a decent stick for transition. With a lot of wall ball, increased conditioning, and some more development, Graziano could turn into a real player. Does this young defender still have a LOT of work to do? No question about it… but the building blocks are seemingly there for continued improvement.