Sam Bradman, The Most Interesting Man In Lacrosse

sam bradman salisbury lacrosse
An unnaturally deceptive shooter, Bradman can thrive in the pros.

Sam Bradman of Salisbury scored 99 points this year as a D3 midfielder, and finished his career with 304 total points.  Within 30 minutes of Salisbury winning their second straight national title, it was announced that their star player would forego the MLL, where he was drafted, and join the LXM Pro instead.  Only a few days later it was announced that Sam Bradman had signed a 1-year deal sponsorship deal with STX, his new contract employer and an LXM sponsor.

sam bradman salisbury lacrosse
The always dangerous Sam Bradman.

The quick deal with the LXM and STX alone make for interesting topics of conversation given Sam Bradman’s D3 roots, and if the MLL can draft players before they even graduate, this should not be a problem.  As to the STX sponsorship, if you choose to go with the LXM, STX is an obvious choice, and vice versa, but we’ll get to that later.

For now, I’ll start with his choice to not play in the MLL.

There is little to no doubt that Sam Bradman could have made it in Major League Lacrosse. There are a number of Salisbury players in the league right now, and Bradman is definitely on their level. Unlike the Brattons, college stars who also went to the LXM directly over MLL straight out of school, he isn’t dealing with off the field issues in any way, so for many, his decision seems puzzling.

Sam Bradman comes from an “exotic” but well-known smaller school, and he plays with a certain style that is sure to electrify crowds. He’s well known in New York (he’s from Canton, NY) and Maryland. You can see the box game in his play, and his toughness is unquestionable. Bradman regularly takes his opponents’ best shots and keeps on trucking. He is quick, smart, conditioned, and has a great stick. He’s perfect for pro lacrosse, and MLL fans would eat him up because of his smaller size, and ability to play big.

sam bradman salisbury lacrosse
Bradman can take your best shot, even if it’s high.

Some will point to Sam Bradman joining the LXM as a sign that he might NOT want any of that. Those people usually view the LXM as a sideshow, but to me, it’s just a different approach to things, and still in its fledgling stages. It might not go anywhere (of course many people also said that about the MLL), but only time will tell. For now, it’s kind of like Steve Young opting to play in the USFL, except we don’t know how this one will turn out.  And either way, Young still became a huge super star.

I make the comparison to the NFL legend because Bradman is already an incredibly smart and skilled player, who is more than capable of using his legs to create space and opportunity. Young needed time to adjust to the D1 game and become a better passer, while Sam Bradman fully adjusted to the D3 game by his sophomore season… but he could have experienced a similar transition at the higher D1 levels. Neither is necessarily a prototypical star. Finally, both men decided to opt for start-up leagues, in the face of offers from the more established powers.

It’s not a perfect comparison by any means, and we know that Young went on to prove his longevity after the USFL folded, in the NFL. However, had the USFL worked out, I can only think he would have proved his longevity there too.  It took him some time to reach the elite levels, and now I’m curious to see if Sam Bradman can do the same in the lacrosse world, no matter what league he plays in. This down the road potential makes him incredibly interesting.

sam bradman salisbury lacrosse
An unnaturally deceptive shooter, Bradman can thrive in the pros.

The big questions here become:

Can he keep it up at the next level?
Can he produce big time, and right away?
Can Bradman become a household name in lacrosse?
Does he even want that?
Does he deserve all this attention?

I’ll start off by saying this; not many D3 players get signed on as sponsored athletes. Even more D3 players don’t have two pro leagues vying for their time. Now if Peter Baum were a senior and Colgate had made it further, even to the Final Four, we might not be having this conversation.  If Duke had won it all, CJ Costabile would undoubtedly be the subject of more attention.  Heck, if Mike Sawyer had scored the way Eric Lusby did, people might not be talking about Bradman at all.

But none of those things happened, and somehow, it’s now Sam Bradman’s time to shine. I think he’ll be able to do so nicely  in the LXM for at least the near future, if he so chooses.

At the very least, I like the LXM to stick around for at least another couple years, and at a bare minimum I think we’re talking 2 more tour seasons.  It could go the way of the USFL at that point, although I seriously doubt it.  There is real potential there in many ways, even if you don’t see it.  That brings us to the other option, where the LXM takes off on the West Coast in a major way, and becomes a modern lacrosse fixture, much like the MLL has done back East.

This latter result seems a little more likely if you’ve been paying attention closely.  STX has been a mainstay in the LXM, and more of their athletes are opting to play in the Tour instead of the MLL.  Those athletes that do opt for the MLL seem a little more likely to be dropped as sponsored players, which can be rough I’m sure, but makes sense from business, growth and marketing perspectives.

With the LXM, manufacturers like STX, Easton, Reebok and others all have access to game footage of their guys wearing their stuff.  Guys can wear their line of gear, and it provides a strong “in” with an exploding lacrosse scene outside of the traditional areas, namely the West Coast.  Via the LXM, manufacturers are tapping into the next HUGE lacrosse markets early.  Honestly, it’s brilliant, it’s subtle, and it is why, at least in my opinion, the LXM will carry on for years. The investment towards future returns is simply worth it.

Sam Bradman is the poster child for this type of advertising/event/game.  He is incredibly skilled, in great shape right now (it’s a Salisbury thing), has plenty of East Coast name recognition and credibility, and more accolades than could fit on a bio. Since he’s “just a D3 guy”, he also has a good story, and the chance to now prove himself against the best out West.

He’ll be playing in the June 2nd event (video above), and we’re hearing that STX promotions featuring Bradman are already in the works. Add in the fact that he’s inclined to have big hair and rock a mustache, and you now have a potential West Coast sports legend in the making.

I don’t know that Bradman will be lacrosse’s Steve Young, but I certainly think he has the potential.  Without a huge D1 name to overshadow him this Summer, Bradman could truly make a name for himself, and perhaps even do the same for the LXM and STX, all at the same time.

I’ll be following his progress closely, because right now, for me, Sam Bradman is the most interesting man in lacrosse. I predicted that an A-list celebrity would buy a pro lacrosse franchise, but missed a couple others calls, although I did nail Salisbury going undefeated and winning their second NC.  Will my Bradman prediction work out as well?

Photo Credit: 24 Seven Lax Facebook Page.


  1. Your
    comparison to Bradman signing with STX/LXM an hour after his careers over to MLL
    drafting in January is a terrible comparison, I highly doubt STX/LXM
    surprised him with a contract after the game and he signed.  Whereas the
    Lizards have to wait to contact him after his last game and introduce themselves and
    talk to him for the first time. The MLL, because they are watched by the NCAA, have to play by the rules while groups like LXM/Kyle Harrison can just go hangout on campus and fly under the radar and get these kids to commit to them before the MLL even has a chance to speak to them. If anyone believes that the LXM isn’t breaking some kind of NCAA rule they’re dreaming

    • There was a job posting at STX, Bradman applied and got it. Just like one might apply to a bank or beverage company, or the government, and then go work there. Since he was going to work for STX, playing in the LXM is a natural extension of that, as I laid out above.

      The STX sponsorship could easily have come after that in the next days. Arguing it was constructed beforehand is pure hearsay, at best.I fail to see how it’s much different from Steele Stanwick getting a job offer months ago after applying.

      Or how it’s different from any football player at a Nike school, who won’t make the NFL, applying for a job at Nike.

      The quick turnaround signing and LXM move is interesting because he’s a D3 guy who will be highly visible.  I don’t smell smoke, and don’t see fire.

      • Let’s say your right, and Bradman did apply for a job with STX that was posted online that everyone had an equal shot at aquiring.  STX clearly did not show up after the game ended and say “hey sam we’d like to give you a job”.  They clearly had him lined up for the job in order to make the announcement while he was relevant, and to say he was not given the job based on his status as an NCAA student athlete is just plain ignorant.  Ironically enough, it is also a violation of NCAA rules.  No player can recieve ANY benefit as a result of his or her staus as an NCAA athlete.

        • I’m not saying your theory isn’t possible, but it goes against what I’ve seen and heard.  I might be ignorant to the complete truth… again, that is possible… but you say it like it’s FACT, and without any evidence to back your claims up, it is pure speculation.

          I enjoy speculating on who will win games, etc, but not on a potential NCAA violation when the only thing I’ve seen are a couple internet comments.  Without real info, I can’t jump on that conspiracy train with you.

          I see how you’re laying it out, but pure possibility isn’t enough for me.

        • Again…poor understanding of NCAA guidelines. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that Bradman entered a contract immmediately after his eligibility had expired. Sure, the value may have been based on his performance while an NCAA athlete, but that is the case with many athletes across multiple sports. Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, etc. How many athletes even leave college early every year to pursue a professional career? The number is not small.

          The MLL must have been asleep at the wheel, thinking about how to manuever for some DI guys. Someone else was on the spot, and got the prize.

    • Actually, student-athletes are well within their rights to seek counsel from others on their potential value as a professional athlete. Many student atletes have formal relationships with “family advisors”. Taking it a step further, in ice hockey, players even work out with the NHL teams by which they have been drafted in the summer. Your interpretation of NCAA rules is overly rigid, and sounds more like sour grapes.

      •  far from sour grapes… what I’m saying is, like other professional
        sports, the MLL is not allowed to talk to athletes until their last game
        as an NCAA Athlete. Yes I am sure, like other students, Bradman applied for a job with STX and got it but I am also pretty confident that the STX ppl also told him that part of his job would be to play in LXM.

        You honestly think that an STX/LXM rep was waiting
        there hoping to meet with Bradman, pitch him on working with them and
        signed him to a contract all with in the two hours between the game andwhen he made the announcement? If so you are very confident in the sales pitch they put together. What you also failed to mention in your argument above was that only about 20% of NHL Draftees come from the NCAA, maybe less, and I don’t know where you get your info from but the hockey draftees that are allowed to practice with the teams that drafted them are from Juniors or Europe. If a kid from say BC gets drafted by the Rangers and is seen on the ice practicing with team officials they lose their eligibility. Professional teams can not have contact with NCAA athletes. I know, I work for the NCAA.