Welcome to the Lax All Stars 2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights series!
The PLL College Draft was held April 26, introducing 32 players into the PLL fold. The league’s training camp is set for May 28 through June 3 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, to determine the final rosters of the eight teams for the 2021 campaign.
Not all 32 of these players will make a team, but right now, the dream is alive for them all. We’re counting down the days until the PLL opens up its training camp by delving deep into every player selected in the 2021 PLL College Draft, with two players included in each post, with help from Ryder Cochrane, Ryan Conwell, Nick Zoroya, and Nick Pietras.
Next up: JT Giles-Harris and Ryan Terefenko.
2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights: JT Giles-Harris & Ryan Terefenko
Who drafted him & when: JT Giles-Harris was selected No. 3 overall by Chrome LC.
Is this about where he was expected to go: This was a little higher than JT Giles-Harris was going in most mock drafts but not by much. He has been considered a solid first rounder for a while.
What are the main skills he brings to the team: Versatility. Early in his career at Duke, he was the solid No. 2 defenseman right alongside PLL defenseman Cade Van Raaphorst. CVR would be drawing the top cover assignments each game while JT Giles-Harris would be the help defender, or he would move to matchup against some of the quicker attackmen.
How’s the fit: Pretty great, actually. A problem top defenders historically ran into in the pro level was they were usually used to be “the guy” who always got paired up with the top opposing attackman. But that’s not really the approach any more. Having defenders to matchup against different attackmen is really what is needed. Guarding Rob Pannell and Grant Ament at X takes two very different approaches. JT Giles-Harris’ career at Duke has allowed him to do a little bit of everything, which is exactly what the Chrome need right now.
After its first season, Chrome brought in current head coach Tim Soudan, who tried to remake the defense as a priority. His top collegiate pick last year was also a close defender, Tom Rigney, but Rigney would go to the MLL for 2020 and isn’t available this year because of military commitments. Combining that with the strong Duke heritage on the Chrome makes Giles-Harris an excellent fit for this defense.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team: James Barclay (2020 roster) and Greg Weyl (waiver add) are JT Giles-Harris’ competition. With Rigney out and Foster Huggins on the holdout list, there’s a three-man battle for the third starting spot alongside Jesse Bernhardt and Mike Manley. That spot is also playing to be the future leader of this defense. Drafting young versus trading for options makes him a favorite for not only stepping into a starting role but also being someone Chrome can start building a defense around in coming years.
School: Ohio State
Position: Short Stick Defensive Midfield
Who drafted him & when: Ryan Terefenko was selected No. 12 overall (Round 2, Pick 4) by Chrome LC.
Is this about where he was expected to go: Not even close. You know a player has fallen a few spots in the draft when the coach drafting them starts laughing in disbelief in the middle of announcing the pick.
What are the main skills he brings to the team: Absolutely everything. Ryan Terefenko is no secret to pro coaches as he is one of those rare midfielders who truly does everything. While he is listed as a short stick, and that has been his primary role, he does a lot more than just trigger transition breaks. He still plays full offensive sets and even faces off.
How’s the fit: Pretty much perfect. This is the type of player Coach Soudan dreams of and exactly the type of player that is starting to bubble to the top of PLL needs lists. With the shorter field and shorter shot clock, having players who can be not just serviceable but GOOD defenders while still being offensive threats is a hot commodity. Realistically, there isn’t a team in the league Ryan Terefenko would not be a great fit for.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team: Going into camp, the Chrome have Will Haus, Donny Moss, Ryan Beville, Jeremey Thompson, and Michael Brown in the SSDM corps. With Haus as the solid No. 1, that No. 2 spot is really up for grabs. From that remaining group, only Moss was on the team last summer, which really makes this position battle an interesting one. Ryan Terefenko does get a leg up on the field as the rookie with high expectations, but making sure he doesn’t have any lingering injuries from the college season will be a factor.
More PLL Rookie Spotlights
There will be plenty of PLL Rookie Spotlights to check out between now and the start of training camp. You can find information about the incoming rookie class here.