Preseason Rankings are a little bit silly, but a whole lot of fun, so we all do them, and then check our results at the end of year, often learning that we know nothing. When it comes to All-Americans, the aforementioned fact is even more true. Preseason All-American accolades mean absolutely nothing, no matter where they come from. So instead, I’m focusing on Ten Players To Watch In 2013.
I’ll stay away from the obvious names like Rob Pannell (Cornell), Peter Baum (Colgate), Mike Sawyer (Loyola) Will Manny (UMass), Garrett Thul (Army), Scott Ratliff (Loyola), John Ranagan (Hopkins), and Josh Hawkins (Loyola) and focus on the “Other Guys“, who might be just as good, but don’t always get the same preseason hype.
10) Brendan Buckley – Defense – Army
Buckley is not fancy. His clearing game is super basic, his GB form is most often perfect, and his angles and ability to play shut-down defense make him an absolute stud. Whenever Army is playing against a great attackman, look for Buckley to step up, and quietly be a force.
9) Casey Carroll – Defense – Duke
Carroll last played for Duke in 200freaking7. That was five whole years ago. During his time off from school and lacrosse, Carroll was in the Armed Forces, serving in a Ranger Regiment. He returns with more maturity and life experience than any other collegiate player and was a beast when he played. He’ll be in great shape, and could be the key to Duke reaching the next level this year.
8) Cameron Flint – Midfield – Denver
It’s hard to tell which Denver middies will be the “go to guys” this year, as there is so much talent on that team, but if I had to put my money on one of them, it might just be Flint. He was dynamic and athletic for Canada at the Duel in Denver, and in his Senior year, expectations will be high. It’s Flint’s year, and Denver will love him for it.
7) Lyle Thompson – Midfield – Albany
With a year of college lacrosse under his belt, Thompson may be poised to have a huge breakout year for Albany. He’ll be more comfortable out there, and more accustomed to the college game, and with the stick skills and innate understanding of the game he showed last year, 2013 could be huge for Lyle. We’re excited to see him play this year regardless, but if it’s a great sophomore season for Thompson? Watch out, lacrosse world.
6) Joey Sankey – Attack – UNC
Sankey scored some unreal goals for UNC last year as a freshman. Like Thompson, he should have a great sophomore year, and he is still surrounded with talent. If he continues to play fearless, the big goals will keep coming, and UNC will need that to make the jump to the next level.
5) Austin Kaut – Goalie – Penn State
PSU Lacrosse is definitely on the up and up and making moves and if they want to see a lot of success in 2013, Kaut could prove to be a huge part of any success. Kaut gives Penn State a great release valve and has been working hard to take the Nittany Lions to the next level. He could take PSU from being a 8-8 team to a 14-2 team.
4) Logan Schuss – Attack – Ohio State
Ohio State, like Penn State, is a big time sports school looking to improve in lacrosse in big ways. A key component to any rise is a go-to scorer and Schuss seems to have what it takes in that capacity. If Schuss can continue to draw attention and pump in tough shots, the rest of OSU will have more time and room, and then it’s anyone’s ball game.
3) Gorran Murray – Defense – Maryland
As a freshman last year, Murray played like a Senior at times. At other times, he played like a freshman. If he keeps that up in 2012 and plays like a grad student at times and a sophomore at others, he could be the best in the country. Murray throws tough checks, is good on loose balls and can clear the ball by himself if needs to.
2) Jesse Bernhardt – LSM – Maryland
I know, two Terps in a row and they are both longsticks… but Murray and Benrhardt play such different roles for this team, and they are both amongst my top players to watch. Bernhardt is a smart player, he has wheels, and a great stick. With the new rules, I could see him putting up 20 points this year. Will that happen for sure? No. But if any LSM is going to score a ton of points this year, I like Bernhardt’s chances a lot.
1) Nick Galasso – Attack – Syracuse
I’m pretty sure Nick Galasso is officially headed to Cuse for the Spring, and by virtue of playing for the Orange, and because he was the highest sought after recruit in ages, this makes Galasso my number 1 Player To Watch. I’m not sure that he will be the best player on this list, but I do think his story line is one of the most interesting. Out of all the guys listed above, Galasso comes with more hype and fervor, but that also means pressure. And that only makes it even more interesting.
If he has a game like that every week, this prediction will be genius. If he doesn’t exceed already high expectations, it will be interesting. If he becomes the best player in the college game, it will be interesting. Anything in between? Still interesting. Personally, I think he’ll do just fine, but I’m still beyond curious to see it all play out on the field.