Grow the Game®

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp

College Lacrosse Midseason Hidden Gems

As we approach the midseason mark of the 2023 college lacrosse season, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve seen from the first half. At this point in the season, ACC and Big Ten teams play on linear TV almost on a weekly basis, but they’re not the only teams with players lighting up the stat sheet and making plays. This piece aims to highlight impact players who are overshadowed by the mainstream media who have fallen between the cracks.

Bobby O’Grady: Attack, Marquette (Sophomore)

I went back and forth questioning if O’Grady should even qualify for this list. The sophomore has been lighting up the college lacrosse stat sheet since he first arrived in Milwaukee last year. As a freshman, O’Grady led the team with 45 goals and 50 points (the next closest was 21 goals and 29 points), and this year the sharpshooter is averaging nearly 5 goals per game. 

I’m really hoping the Big East conference advocates for more lacrosse on FS1 when they begin renegotiating its media contract. Marquette, a team whose 2-0 against a surging Big Ten conference. O’Grady has played a key role towards elevating this program into the spotlight. He won’t dazzle you as a dodger or feeder, but he’s an elite shooter. Don’t let him get touches inside the paint – O’Grady is automatic inside five yards. 

Ryan Bell: Midfield, Providence (Sophomore)

Michael Chabra: Midfield, Providence (Junior)

Back in February I watched the Battle of Rhode Island between Brown and Providence and left extremely impressed with these two midfielders. Chabra and Bell don’t jump off the page as athletes, but what they lack in size they make up for in talent and IQ. Bell is a heads up dodger with an underrated first step. Bell’s 20 assists are almost triple the next best (7). He’s the guy that stirs the drink, but it wouldn’t be the same without his right hand man, Michael Chabra. 

Chabra is slightly bigger at 5’10” and he has a howitzer of a shot that’s deceptively accurate. He’s a range shooter who’s comfortable finishing in tight. Chabra’s versatility stretches opposing defenses and creates opportunities for teammates. I’m a big believer in Bobby Benson and the impact he’ll make on this program. He has two solid midfielders in Bell and Chabra, and they should only get better under his coaching. 

Emmett Paradine: Midfield, Dartmouth (Freshman)

The freshman midfielder has burst onto the scene for the Big Green. Paradine turned heads with a 7G 3A performance against Hobart last month, but he’s proven to be more than a one-game wonder. Paradine’s 20 points lead all Dartmouth midfielders, and his 3.33 PPG ranks sixth amongst D1 freshmen. 

Big and athletic midfielder who has prototypical size. Paradine has the speed and physicality to create his own shot off the dodge, and he’s flashed as an inside finisher. Dartmouth has quietly been building up the program, and with guys like Paradine, they’ll turn the corner towards national relevance sooner than later. 

Richard Checo: Defense, Lehigh (Freshman)

It’s rare for an underclassman to rank amongst the top defenders in caused turnovers; it’s extraordinary for a freshman to lead the country in both caused turnovers and caused turnovers per game. And that is exactly what Richard Checo is doing. 

Lehigh’s #1 defensive recruit in the class of 2022 has grossly overachieved. Over the head checks, can openers, nuggets, you name it, Checo is doing it. I can’t remember the last time a true freshman defenseman has dominated like this before. Jack Rowlett comes to mind as a cover man, but he wasn’t remotely close to the takeaway artist Checo has flashed. 

The future college lacrosse All-American is a game-wrecker. If he can continue developing as a complete defenseman (off-ball, 1-1, cover, etc) Checo could be one of the nations best for years to come. Checo has been incredibly consistent thus far, but the schedule picks up during the second half. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if he continues playing at the same level. So far, Checo’s early return has been nothing short of incredible. 

Patrick Crogan: Midfield, Georgetown (Freshman)

It’s been a disappointing start for Georgetown’s 2023 college lacrosse campaign, but they’ve found a shining star in freshman Patrick Crogan. The Lexington, MA native is a freak athlete with quarterback-like vision. What he lacks in height he makes up for it with elite speed and a deadly first step. He’s a downhill dodger with vision beyond his years. Crogan hasn’t torched the stat sheet thanks to Georgetown’s great depth. 

The Hoyas welcomed a plethora of established veteran transfers such as Tucker Dordevic, Jacob Kelly, Nicky Solomon, and Brian Minicus, but still, Crogan has found a way to crack the starting lineup. Georgetown is slowly gaining their stride as conference play begins in an overachieving Big East conference. Crogan will play a key role for the Hoyas both this season and years to come.