I’m not a huge believer in early recruiting. The vast majority of 8th graders, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are nowhere near where they need to be, and have years of skill development ahead of them, if they want to succeed at the D1 level.
The standouts at younger ages are often the bigger kids, or the best natural athletes, but that isn’t always the case… in fact, sometimes you see a kid who lacks BOTH size AND speed, and yet he STILL manages to impress.
Now that is a kid I would actually think about recruiting early!
For me, a kid like Alex Trippi (2017 – Bullis School) fits the above mold perfectly.
Trippi is one of the smaller players on the field, and he doesn’t seem to possess a lightning quick first step either. He isn’t crushing people, or running by smaller kids and ripping shots from 15 yards.
Instead, Trippi possesses the ball, shows great patience, and waits for his defender to make a mistake, or lose a step. THEN he goes to the cage… HARD. He gets open nicely, finds space, and throws a pretty mean seam pass through traffic. He makes quick looks on fast breaks, finishes in tight, and possesses a pretty flawless jump shot, where he can go high to high, or high to low.
My favorite part of his game is a little more subtle though. Trippi seems to know that he isn’t going to blow by people, but he does a great job of using his low center of gravity to his benefit. Honestly, he kind of reminds me of Lyle Thompson, who often looks like he is getting his butt kicked by a big longpole, only to pull out a nifty move and dust his defender. His head is up, he draws attention, and makes great passes from these match ups as well. The kid has vision, patience, and can take abuse while doing it.
Trippi may not be your typical D1 early recruit, because he doesn’t have “D1 size or speed”, but he definitely has a high lacrosse IQ, and his skills are as good as any 2017 player I’ve seen recently. His game sense has D1 RECRUIT written all over it.
If Trippi does develop physically, his stock should absolutely skyrocket, but even if he doesn’t grow another inch, Alex Trippi knows the game, and plays it intelligently. That right there is enough for me to expect big things from this incoming high school freshman. If he continues to develop, and doesn’t plateau? The sky is the limit.
It’s easy to see a player like Jake Seau, and say “this kid is going to be good!” because he is already a D1 caliber athlete. He shoots the ball incredibly hard. He crushes the opposition with big hits… But when a younger kid like Trippi displays a more refined lacrosse IQ than a highly touted recruit like Seau, you know this small gem has some serious potential.
Keep an eye for the name Alex Trippi in the coming years. I’m thinking he could be pretty good! And to all you college coaches out there, you’re welcome.