This season the Whipsnakes drafted Roman Puglise in the first round back in May. Unfortunately for Puglise, he sustained an injury that has sidelined him for the season. His loss has been another rookie’s gain for Brennan Kamish. During his time at Rutgers, Brennan Kamish was one of the top “NASCAR” midfielders the last two seasons. Although he went undrafted, Brennan Kamish has earned significant playing time in the first half of the season and has more than held his own.
The PLL has entered the second half of the season following this past weekend in Fairfield, Connecticut. “NASCAR” has made it’s way to the PLL. The Whipsnakes sit atop the standings at 5-1 largely in thanks to what Brennan Kamish has added the team’s midfield unit.
We caught up with Brennan Kamish during the All-Star break to learn a little more about him.
You grew up in Detroit, when did you first pick up a stick, and who were your biggest influences?
Growing up I was a part of really the first team in my area. My cousin from North Carolina brought his sticks up on vacation when I was around 9-10 years old so that’s when I really started getting into it. I didn’t watch a lot of colleges when I was young but there were certainly a handful of organizations that helped me through my younger years.
The Transfer Portal has been a hot topic as of late. You started out a The University of Detroit-Mercy and then transferred to Rutgers after your freshmen year. Can you talk about the transfer process, how did it differ from your high school recruitment? What made you select Rutgers?
My process was much different than the current landscape with the portal and grad years but still created a unique opportunity for me. After I had received my release I essentially just went through the college recruiting all over again. I only had one offer going into college so I wanted to feel out the process and fully understand each school.
I chose Rutgers because it really gave me everything I wanted academically and athletically. It had the programs I was looking into and the growth of the athletic department was evident. More than anything else I met with a few of the guys the night of my visit and they made my decision easy. The culture that I saw in my short 48 hours on campus made it a perfect fit for my future.
You were part of two of the most successful teams in Rutgers history under Coach Brecht. Can you talk about his leadership and coaching style?
Brecht is the man. I don’t think there’s any other way to put it. He’s given the program everything it needs to become a contender for the national title every year. We just had two of our best seasons and the way the program is trending I think there will be some special days in the future. Coach grinds nonstop at putting us in the best position to succeed. He focuses on a lot of the middle-of-the-field situations so that when they happen we don’t have to think about possible outcomes.
You were an All-American midfielder in high school and were one of the top “NASCAR” midfielders for Rutgers. Can you talk about the transition to playing more defense in college? Any tips for our younger readers?
We found ourselves in a spot where we needed some help at that position back in 2020 and I kind of just fell into the role. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled at first just because of the connotation of having your position moved but I quickly grew to love it. NASCAR really is just a normal lacrosse transition. Every team does it and a few this year did it really well. We pride ourselves on it but I think it’s more of guys wanting to run up and down the field.
As opposed to a style it’s more of just how we’re built with guys like Ethan and Franko being able to get out and up fast. Then you had guys like Cole and Tommy who gave us great threats from range as well. We all took pride in it and we put together a special group that had previous offensive experience.
You went undrafted and were picked up by the Whipsnakes. Can you talk about your first half-season in the PLL? From training camp to playing in games. Who are the guys/teammates that have been most helpful?
At the time I really was unsure about my future with lacrosse after college. I still am considering it’s a very talented league and you have to be playing your best every time you’re out there. I’m very fortunate to be with a great group of guys who have helped me with the transition. The Whipsnakes have a great culture and I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to learn from the veterans we have.
Jake and Ty have been helping me out with the adjustments because we’re all in the SSDM spot but It’s been super helpful to have Jake who can look at things from a coaching aspect as well. The close D with Dunn, Bryce, and Tim are so intelligent and fun to listen to when they’re talking during games or practice. It’s just about being around a bunch of guys who have been doing this for years. There’s no shortage of experience on the team and it’s been a pleasure learning from everyone. The offensive group is just as fun. Cole, Brad and Kirst have been great guys to hang with in our downtime and I’m excited about the relationships I’m forming with some of the older guys.
What are your future plans?
As of right now, I plan to finish out my rookie season in the PLL and start work in the fall. I want to stay out east and explore the lacrosse community out there a little more. Hopefully, some club coaching opportunities open up to fill my time on the weekends but I’m looking forward to staying closer to my college and professional teammates. I plan on living with my younger brother for the first year and his teammates so I’m looking forward to being around Loyola a bit. As much as I love Rutgers I’ve gotta root for the Hounds for a little bit next year.
You played your first-round game this season at Yurcak Field. It was an electric atmosphere. Can you talk about it from a player’s perspective? Would you like to see RU play more games there or keep playing at SHI?
SHI is a special place. The games we’ve won in that place are certainly going to be great memories and I’d love to see the home games played there in the future. It’s a bit too cold and wet with spring weather to play on Yurcak year-round on the grass. Although it would be a cool idea to play the Big Ten conference games in that stadium weather permitting. The atmosphere was utterly gorgeous. Alumni and fans from all over made the trip to show us their support and it didn’t go unnoticed. Aside from the quarters and semis, I don’t think I’ve played in a better atmosphere. I’ll definitely cherish that experience.