Younger brothers usually have the advantage and in many cases, turn out to be the best players in the family.
If that’s the case with Centennial (Ga.) freshman attackman Nicky Solomon then he’s in good shape, seeing as older brother Nate is ranked among the top players in the senior class on Recruiting Rundown.
Nicky, however, recently decided to pledge to Joe Breschi’s UNC program, turning down the opportunity to play with Nate for a year. When he arrives in Chapel Hill in the fall of 2018, he’ll become the first Tar Heel lacrosse player from the state of Georgia.
A product of Atlanta-based LB3 program, founder Liam Banks touts him as the ‘typical younger brother’ who would try and be a sponge around his brother and lacrosse. Those early tendencies have helped him develop a lacrosse IQ and field sense that set him apart from other 2018’s.
“Nicky was always the younger brother playing with Nate and his friends and that’s starting to pay off,” says Banks, a former Ward Melville (N.Y.) and Syracuse All-American attackman. “His IQ is through the roof and I truly haven’t seen another young kid who thinks the way he does on the lacrosse field. He’s two passes ahead and an excellent feeder who is hard to stop and is just a really mature lacrosse player for his age.”
Solomon, who has one of the more impressive highlight reels in the ’18 class, has been playing with confidence after a remarkable summer in which he led IL’s entire event in points despite that being an event open to all high school players. He also attended Summer Jam, Orange Classic, Jake Reed’s Nike Blue Chip, Legacy Cup, Philly Summer Invitational and FLG in 3D.
He’s a head-up dodger with uncanny two-handedness and vision, working from X and demonstrating a slippery dodging style that looks hard to defend. His ability to ride his tail off and make an impact in that aspect of the game is a good sign. Also like that Solomon plays basketball, as tons of quarterback types (I recall Ryan Boyle being a legit hoopster at Gilman in the late 90’s) have helped their skill set by playing the winter sport. There’s a certain quiet on-field swagger – off the field, he’s as nice and polite as can be – that Solomon exudes when he’s out there. Considering how well he has fared against older players, there’s plenty of reason to play that way and I’m looking forward to seeing where his career goes over the next few years.
From my ‘Freshman Frenzy’ piece on 10/21:
“He’s already established himself as a phenomenal prospect, dominating older competition as part of LB3’s 2017 team and tallying a whopping 14 goals and 14 assists during IL Invitational weekend. Solomon also put up five points in the Uncommitted All-Star Game.
Former SU All-American Liam Banks’ pupil is the consummate quarterback possessing equal propensity to both feed and shoot. He has an astounding change of direction and burst in his dodging at X, while it’s also clear that he’s worked a tremendous amount on his off hand. His IQ is quite impressive for a non-hotbed player so young, so his potential to be a force at the next level is considerable. Nicky’s hustle and tenacity in the riding game is also an underrated part of his game, which will soar with a few more years of high school and club ball. He’s already notched 61 goals and 41 assists last spring, which is impressive no matter what level of competition you’re playing. Continuing to play in the very best events in the fall (he has plans to hit the Philly Freshman Showcase and Adrenaline Fall Invitational) and summer will be pivotal.“
Read what Solomon had to say to Recruiting Rundown about his decision:
Why did you decide that UNC would be the best place for you?
In all aspects, you can’t go wrong – it’s close to home with great weather, the academics are excellent and the lacrosse is amazing. The coaching staff made me feel wanted and they’re just awesome people on and off the field, it really seems like a family atmosphere there. They’re getting a lot of the top recruits so it would be cool to be a part of that and help the program get a national championship.
Your brother, Nate, is headed to Syracuse next fall. Was it hard to turn down the opportunity to play with him for a year?
The thought was intriguing but I really just wanted to carve my own path rather than follow in his footsteps. Syracuse was in the mix but I preferred schools like North Carolina and Ohio State and really just looked at those two the most.
It’s funny because he’s been a North Carolina fan his entire life while Syracuse has been the school I’ve always supported. We both have a ton of those schools’ gear and stuff like that so it works out nicely!
How did your visit to Chapel Hill go?
I visited for a football game on October 18th, which is the weekend that I committed. The team was hosting Georgia Tech in the stadium and I loved that whole experience and was there with [Duke’s LC goalie and UNC 2018 commit] Caton Johnson and his family. The whole atmosphere just made me feel at home and that’s when I decided to be a Tar Heel.
Can you talk about how Liam Banks has helped your career? What will it be like to represent the South and the LB3 program when you get to UNC?
Liam has always helped greatly with everything whether it’s calling coaches, helping us develop as attackmen or giving us advice on how to handle things. Like my brother has, Liam has always pushed me to become a better player and it’s awesome representing a great club. I’m looking forward to being Carolina’s first lacrosse player from the state of Georgia so I’d like to be able to help prove that the South can hang with the North in lacrosse.
Who else would you like to thank?
Besides Liam’s guidance, I really want to thank John Zulberti from LB3, who has helped with my technique and pretty much everything. TJ Kemp recently finished up his career at Carolina and has coached me… he’s worked hard with me on my shooting so I’m grateful for that. I would also like to thank my Dad for his support and coaching me throughout the years, my brother for pushing me on the field and my Mom for always being there for me.