Pros I Wish Were in the MLL Tournament
This has been an awesome tournament by the MLL and all the players involved.
I can’t help it I started my organized lacrosse career as a fourth grader (we played in the backyard prior), calling everyone in the third through fifth grade at Penn Yan trying to put a squad together for the Fairport Lacrosse classic. Those teams, coached by Bill Halbert, would practice a few times and go play a festival-style round robin tournament. That was our whole season, one tournament. Then we played box all summer.
Fast forward 20 something years and I have now recruited players to many different schools, our Lake Placid Masters team every summer, 3X on Thursday nights, a spike ball league and a 3×3 basketball league in Fresno, CA, that I had once had the chance to invite Lamar Odom to play in.
The point is, I love the process of trying to find different players and ultimately better players to keep making things interesting for any league.
Through the MLL tournament, I’ve been thinking about how I would add talent to these current rosters. There are a ton of MLL vets who could be useful. If I was a general manager in the MLL, I’d give these guys a call, DM, whatever, and try to get them on my squad!
Unlike the NBA, I’m not sure why the MLL doesn’t get established guys to go against some rookies who have never played. Jamal Crawford was just signed to play in the NBA bubble and he’s 41. Vet presence is huge for any team, in any league.
Author’s note: This was just a fun exercise for me. Remember there are a lot of other variables (family, job, salary cap) that determine if these guys can even play on a current MLL team.
Kyle Rubisch – Former D2 D-man of the year at at school that is no longer in existence (Dowling), “the Predator” played two MLL seasons and completely erased anyone he covered and was a vacuum on loose-balls. Rubes hasn’t played much field at all since then, but with the SR A league being cancelled this summer maybe he would have considered it? I doubt it, but I miss watching him play. The Predator is one of the best close d-men that many people don’t know about.
Garrett Billings – The bald sniper just scored 70+ points in the NLL last year, All-American and National Champ at UVA. He’s played and scored in the MLL and doesn’t need to move to be effective. He’s a total sniper and great in the locker room. With no locker rooms do we say he’s great in the hotel now?
Jordan Hall – The former Deleware Blue Hen has multiple MLL and NLL titles to his name and, simply put, makes every team he plays on MUCH better. He’s a dynamic and shifty offensive player and can play wing and D-Mid at any time.
Stephen Keogh – Keogh is one of the best and toughest mid-range shooters the sport has ever seen. He was having a very good season in the NLL this year. With no lax to be played right now would he have made the trip?
Jeremy Noble – The former Hill Academy and Denver Pioneer star was having a great season in the NLL before COVID-19 cancelled their run. Jer has had a ton of success in the MLL in the past and I miss watching his playmaking and grit during this tournament.
Brett Bucktooth – Hey, Junior is still playing at 45. I bet you Brett is still playing box somewhere and could come out and shoot some low-to-highs all day.
Greg Downing – The Auburn, NY, native (my mom’s hometown) was a dominate two-way middie in this league for a long time. He was still getting after it this year indoor again as one of the best Americans to ever play in the NLL.
Dan Groot – The 10+ year MLL vet would still be one of the best D-Mids in the tournament today. Groot, possibly the best player ever from Canadaguia, NY, is doing a lot of yoga and is Vegan, so he can still run for days.
MJ Kiekebelt – The former D3 defensemen of the year at RIT, he has one of the prettiest/weirdest sticks you’ll ever see. Ground balls for “Kieks” are almost like watching someone play with chopsticks, but he gets everyone. MJ used to be on the Hamilton/Toronto Nationals squads and is still dominant in Lake Placid.
Kevin Crowley – The former #1 overall pick has a ton of success in the MLL, and is a matchup nightmare for short sticks it feels odd we get commercials of Crowley but don’t get to see him play in this tournament!
Malcolm Chase – I get to play with Malcolm play every summer in Lake Placid and he still scares me. The former Whittier Poet would bring meanness and veteran presence to any club.
Pete Milliman – The newly named head coach at Johns Hopkins University is one of the smartest attackmen there is. Pete knows how to score big time goals, having scored the game winner multiple times in the Lake Placid Lacrosse Masters Championships. Teams having a QB on attack who can not only score big goals, but get the guys on the same page would be invaluable (see: Junior, Demver Outlaws).
Sean Wilkins – The former hockey and lacrosse star at RIT it back at campus as the offensive coordinator. Somehow he gets better at shooting every summer. Wilky has been dominating the Can Am scoresheets for the last decade. Like a few of the guys on this list and guys currently dominating the MLL right now, Wilky doesn’t need to move much to have a huge impact.
The New Guys
Jacob Ruest – The Cornwall, Ontario, native and Hill Academy alum has been lighting up the scoreboard the last couple of seasons in the NLL for the Colorado Mammoth. I’ll never forget a conversation Bear Davis and I had about Ruest when he was recruiting him to Bobby Mo. We both kept saying, “all this guy does is score goals all the time.” Ruest is a sick finisher and competitor. I want to see him in pro field lacrosse.
Chad Levick – Look at what Ryan Lee is doing and has been doing with the Outlaws. Lee and Levick were extremely dangerous players at RIT. Before that, I watched these two dominate at practice and during games on our first ever PG team at The Hill Academy. Chad has some of the best mitts and finishing ability I’ve ever seen.
Dan Lintner – The former Hill Academy and Cornell University star, “Lits” has some of the slickest mitts and fastest hands I’ve ever seen. An extremely tough and quick player, Lits is still balling in the NLL, not sure why the MLL hasn’t called him yet?
Zach Miller – We need Zach Miller back in field lacrosse. The former Hill Academy and Denver Pio star is one of the most gifted passers and dodgers the game has ever seen. He’s played in the NLL the last two winters, we need him here.
Dane Dobbie – I’d love to see Dobbie play some field lacrosse. His hands are some of the best ever in the NLL and these would no doubt translate well to the MLL.