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Club Directors Panel: Late Bloomer In Lacrosse

Early recruiting this. Early recruiting that… Virginia just signed another 2014. Does that not blow your mind? UVA, a Top 10 team, just signed a 2014 graduating player. That’s THIS year. Maybe it’s not all freshmen and 8th graders after all? We asked the panel of Club Directors about Late Bloomers this week, and got some really interesting responses!

You can also catch up on previous Club Directors Panels: Tournament Selection ProcessesEarly Recruiting & Coaching Staff AlignmentsWhat makes a club lacrosse program successful?, and High School Vs Club Teams.

What kind of expectations should a “Lacrosse Late Bloomer” have, after a fantastic Summer of lacrosse (before their senior year)?

We are assuming this late bloomer took a big step up in one year. We’ve seen it happen before, so what should this player do to maximize his rapid talent spurt? Suppose this hypothetical athlete was, at best, projected to be a depth player on a middle of the road D3 team, and then, all of sudden, a growth spurt and/or lacrosse development kicks in and he’s looking like a low end to middle D1 contributor. What can this kid do? What is the process going to be like?

Anthony Crimmins – Dallas Select & Texas United

At this point, the truth is that it is very tough to be a late bloomer, which is crazy. It was essentially the same spot I found myself in, but the entire landscape of recruiting has completely changed. My best advice to that player is to manufacture more time and do a PG year. Taking a post graduate year is one of the most fulfilling and perhaps best ways to prepare for college, regardless of lacrosse. At this point, it helps you reclassify, and, if you had an amazing rising senior summer, you are likely to have another awesome summer ahead of you as you will be playing generally younger players.

There are a myriad of quality PG options, but, when I was going through the process, it was all about the Founders League. The schools in the league are top notch, and the lacrosse is on an entirely different level. Visiting the schools in that region is something I will never forget, and the time I spent at Avon Old Farms was crucial in terms of my development for life. If you think playing at the next level is what you really want to do and you need more time to take advantage of your new faculties, then a Post Graduate year can really help out.

Marty Kupprion – NXT

Every lacrosse player has a unique journey and the recruiting timeline is not going to be the same. As a club, we work with familes to identify possible fits and to follow-up on their interests and long-term goals. In this situation, we’d reach out to the schools that could be a fit academically and athletically for the player. Having a highlight tape always helps college coaches validate the ability of that player if they haven’t seen them much in person. There are schools that wait a little longer to round out their classes, and they do so just for instances like this.

Say that a program did not have the best season and that they should know that already. With that being said, there is room for improvement and chance for redemption in the fall. etc etc

See what is the best fit and reach out to those schools where he could play D1. Some schools wait a little longer for instances just like that, so it’s not an impossible situation.

Lee Southren – NJ Riot

Being the father of a late bloomer 2014, I all too well know the feeling. My oldest club team in Riot is 2016s, so I will tackle that one when it happens. In my son’s case, he really developed in his junior year.  The response from d1 schools was Luke warm. Then, he generated some really good film and was seen in a few summer tournaments, and  3 or 4 schools started to reach out.  By then he had a few top d3 choices as well.

He fell in love with Stevens Tech and was honored to commit there to play for Coach Peluso. At this point, it wouldn’t matter who reached out, as he had found his place, and it had a top level Engineering program, which is what he wants to pursue academically. To your question, communication with the schools that he was still interested in is the key. If they like you as a player and student, there is usually a spot available. The hardest part is not giving up, especially when it “seems” like everyone, including the neighbor’s dog, is committed somewhere.

Matt Rowley – 3D

Last year we had two players commit to great schools as rising seniors. Jack Collins is headed to Brown after being offered by John Hopkins and Pat Fraser is headed to Hopkins. Both are excellent players who deserved the opportunities but they’re also viewed as outliers. I really believe if you’re good enough, than someone will make room for you, but there is a caveat here, they have to see you.

If you are good enough, and you get the right exposure, you’ll find a home. For those two boys it was really their play at King of the Hill that cemented their opportunities. For them it was really about exposure and taking advantage of the opportunity that tournament presented them. For many kids who don’t get those opportunities and are left choosing between “Low End” D1 and D3, we would urge them to make academics a major factor in their decision making. Sometimes the D1 process does simply pass a kid by, and then they’ve got to make a quality of life decision.

JC Valore – SouthShore

One concern that must first be addressed is making our players understand once again that D1 does not necessarily mean better, if it is not the right fit for them individually. Realistically speaking, doesn’t everyone want to be a “contributor”?  Yet, every team in the country has a surplus of players who never will see significant time on the field of play in their entire careers regardless of their conference or division.  Their contributions will most likely be as a teammate, scout team player, and being part of something special.

Each college wants the best players, and yet, each college also knows the types of players they can attract to their schools. With late bloomers, it seems more and more D1 schools are saving a spot for such a player. We encourage all players who are still on the “market” to stay as active as possible in regards to their communication with coaches. If an opportunity presents itself, it is obviously great for that individual player.

Expectations for the player should remain the same regardless of their talent spurt. If they want to pursue lacrosse in college, they still need to choose the school that provides them an experience that will be fulfilling and productive. Maximizing their spurt shouldn’t mean going to a “better” school necessarily, it could just mean being that much of a better player for the school they decide to attend.

Terry Mangan – Trilogy

If a player is fortunate to have found his stride before his senior year and he feels like he is putting everything together, that is certainly a great feeling. When it comes to expectations of where a player should go to college, there is only one person that matters, and that is the player!

If a player has taken visits to several colleges and has a sense of what school or schools he wants to attend, throwing all of that work away for the sole reason of jumping to a school that is higher up the lacrosse ladder is not always a great idea. Players need to be make sure they are doing it for the right reasons (the college cost would be less, closer to home, better academic profile, has the majors they are interested in, etc.). Remember, lower end Division 1 schools are at that end because they do not win a lot of games, and they spend a lot more time on lacrosse than many Division 3 schools. On the surface, taking advantage of an opportunity like that might look great, but it is not always the best fit. Doing what is best for yourself and your family, and not for others, is the only way to go!

Editor’s Note: I will always remember Joe Ceglia at Syracuse as one of these players who went D3, and then moved up to D1 to play for the Orange (where he was an All American in 2000) after an astonishing season at Gettysburg in 1997. Tim McGinnis also played at Gburg, and then did a year of Grad School at Maryland, where he played goalie.

Joe Lisicky is currently playing for Virginia after three years of play at D3 Lynchburg. Eric Adamson out at Denver started out at ASU and transferred to Denver, where he is now a key cog on their team. Even if you go the D3 or MCLA path, you can still play D1 lacrosse.

Great answers from the Club Directors as usual! Thanks to all who respond each week!