The Brattons May Be Overrated, Maryland Is Rocking K18s, And Do Announcers Know What A Hit To The Head Is?

Shamel Bratton UVA lacrosse lax
Shamel putting some mustard on it. Stick side high.

A little bit of magic from the UMD – UVA game that was on ESPNU today.


Shamel Bratton was suspended for the 2nd time this season, his Senior year.  What is up with that?  Once I can forgive.  Note, I didn’t even have anything to say about that.  These college players are still young men and still learning.  And everyone makes mistakes. But a second time in one’s SENIOR season?  Doesn’t look like we’re learning our lessons here.  Shamel still can’t shoot efficiently (2 for 11 against Hop) and while 102 mph and about 3 points per game is great, it’s not so great when a bunch of shots go right into the goalie’s stick or you constantly visit pipe city.  Never seen someone hit so many pipes in my life.  Shamel could be dominant.  No question about it.  But, for the most part, he really hasn’t been yet.

Rhamel has been called (by some) one of the best 2 or 3 two-way middies in college lacrosse.  Not a chance that’s true.  Chris LaPierre and Colin Briggs are better two way middies than Rhamel and they are on UVA.  Jeremy Thompson and Jovan Miller at Cuse are MUCH better two-way middies.  Dan Burns at UMD is better.  Hell, LSMs Brian Farrell and Joel White are better two-way middies than Rhamel.  This really struck me last week when a couple of Hop goals were pretty clearly on him… just missed assignments.  On one he was the low post in something of a hybrid zone D, and seemingly had no idea what he was doing.  Rhamel is also not a punishing dodger on offense, and he doesn’t distribute that well.

Shamel Bratton UVA lacrosse lax
Shamel putting some mustard on it. Stick side high.

Photo courtesy

Both of these guys are 100000x better than I could ever be.  I know this, and I’m NOT criticizing them.  I still think they’re exciting players to watch and that they play the game with flair and passion.  However, I just keep hearing them get mentioned as the type of players that are going to change lacrosse.  Honestly, I don’t see it.

Some will point to UVA’s loss today, and the fact that they only scored 7 goals, and say that Shamel was sorely missed.  Nonsense.  UVA’s problems would not have been solved by one more fast middie with a rocket shot.  They actually have a couple of those already in Briggs, Rhamel and Haldy.  UVA lost because they had to rely on that type of offense and while Shamel may have made the game closer, I don’t think he was going to be a difference maker.

And did Rhamel drop a couple Gs today?  He sure did.  But for the most part, they were created by other people, and Rhamel just scored from 10 yards with time and room.  Honestly, I can actually do that.  Seriously.  So if that’s what they’re bringing to the table, color me blasé.  Now when these guys get to the MLL, where defenders are given free reign to mug you in public?  I have a feeling they’ll do ok for a couple years, use their speed while they’re playing and then disappear as the newer classes of super athletes enter the league.

I’m sure some of you will think I’m crazy.  I’m down to discuss it and be persuaded otherwise.


UMD players were seen rocking K18s like crazy. Some still had the Assault gloves on though, including their goalie. Why do teams seem to drop the Assault gloves so much? Ok, sure, it’s really just Hop but I seriously don’t get it. Let me be honest here, I find it SHOCKING that STX could have made a high-end glove that wasn’t protective enough. Shocking. It’s just not their game. Their gloves have always been pretty solid. Why would a rash of broken and injured fingers suddenly emerge in 2011, as the rumors go, with the Assaults?

K18s to match their 2011 Assaults.

Photo courtesy

Maybe the K18s are just the Packard (automobile) of lacrosse gloves: they’re so good that players won’t move on from them to something new and the tried and true design works. I don’t know, but it’s possible. We’re working on a comment from STX on this matter.


Maryland Defender, Max Schmidt, hits Colin Briggs with his head and gloves, and the impact is to Thompson’s head.  It was not an intentionally or severely vicious hit, and #9 got just a minute in the sin bin for it. Schmidt certainly led with his hands, but went right to the face and upper chest of Thompson… but then the announcers question penalty (around 12 min left in 2nd).

Yes, it wasn’t “head to head”, but Schmidt hit Thompson in the head, so what exactly is so hard to understand here?  And I agree, a couple of years ago, that wouldn’t have been called a penalty.  Now it is.  The refs have started to get it, now it’s time for the rest of us to catch up.

In the third quarter, when Rhamel Bratton was laid out, the announcers decided it was a late hit.  But it looked like a lot of head contact to me.  Sure, it was a little late, but it was definitely high.  The point is, if that hit isn’t high, it probably isn’t a penalty.  We’re calling head shots for a reason.  And need to keep it in the discussion when it happens.  I don’t think the announcers were intentionally minimizing it at all, and they certainly could have missed it, but headshots are an unnecessary part of the game, so I believe the announcers should actively talk about them.

Feel free to disagree in the comments!


  1. not just overrated but now suspended indefinitely. I have my minions scouring for the details on this.

    If it was anything like his first suspension (extremely questionable move by a UVA captain to get him in hot water in the first place) He should be allowed to finish up his year.

    wonder if LI lizards will still deal with him

  2. I don’t have much time to respond, but I’m going to agree with what you’ve mentioned about the Bratton twins.
    I think that Shamel is highly overrated. Don’t get me wrong, his speed, and change of direction skills are absolutely electrifying, and nothing is more exciting than when he uses those skills to get his hands free and rip top cheddar. However, like you mentioned, 2 for 11 cannot be allowed to happen. Whether the goalie saves the ball, or he hits post, there is a potential there for UVA to lose the possession. Losing possessions WILL lose you games.
    I think that Rhamel, while not as exciting as Shamel, is definitely the more solid of the two. While he’s not a stud on offense, he can be a stud on defense at times. I would take a solid two-way middie, over an occasionally electrifying offensive middie that is streaky at times.
    However, the real game-changer out of UVA will be Steele Stanwick, and I sometimes feel as though the commentators on ESPN fail to acknowledge how dependent the UVA offense is on him. They do reference him as the “Quarterback” of the offense, but I feel as though he deserves way more credit. (Plus, he rocks a traddy, so that’s bonus points in my book.)

  3. do you really think that? I’m honestly curious and would love to hear a little more detail on “why” you believe that.

    My biggest hits in college were with my shoulder, put squarely in the other guy’s solar plexus. No hands needed, and certainly no headshot needed. The guys who use their hands are often the ones that haven’t been taught proper form. The kids are often taught by the similar kind of coaches on the football field who teach kids to lead with the crown of their helmet.

    It’s DEFINITELY not impossible, hitting with the hands is just a little lazy, and has ALWAYS been illegal. Check the rule book!

  4. Helmets touching = helmet to helmet contact I suppose. Schmidt’s head was down, but he didn’t lead with his head. If we’re playing that way then there is no room for the “brush” call anymore. This and the hit the Terps’ middie laid on the UNC middie last week was another awesome hit that should not have been a penalty. Given the current state of things, I’ll take the refs being cautious this year and then making adjustments next year versus being too lenient and gradually ramping up calls over the next few years.