The inaugural Midwest Elite Top 80 Showcase (preview at the link) took place over the weekend at the gorgeous athletic complex in Westfield (Ind.) at Grand Park. Despite the cold weather, it was a tremendous success for many of the Midwest’s top prospects.
After speaking with a handful of tournament organizers, club and high school coaches, here were the dozen players who were said to stand out the most. For more, check out US Lax Events’ website with the All-Star Rosters, college coaches in attendance and a look at the facilities.
Wheaton Jackoboice ’17, A, Culver Academy (Ind.) – The transfer from Kansas City program Rockhurst, who also had an excellent summer, showed off his smooth brand of lacrosse by putting up a ton of goals over the weekend. Tall and athletic, he plays behind the net and boasts incredible vision, changing direction with ease and always finishing around eight yards of the cage.
Ethan Harding ’17, A/M, True (Mich.) – An explosive player with a strong shot, it was the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline product’s hustle that stood out, as he played extremely hard every time he was out there on the field. He ran midfield in the All-Star Game and was a force coming down the alley, also making some key plays between the lines.
William Clayton ’18, M, Culver (Ind.) – A beast with box skills, Clayton has received his fair share of hype since brought to Jon Posner’s program, and for good reason. Hailing from British Columbia, he’s great at getting to the middle of the field and is fearless both going to the cage and when the ball is on the ground. Impressive shot on the run, tenacity and two-way play.
Tommy Coyne ’18, A, Deep Dish (Ill.) – With good size (at about 5’11 or so), this is a Naperville Central High School freshman who uses his body very well for his age and has legitimate speed when getting to the cage. Contributed in the ride and also has strong vision, two qualities he shows off for Chicago-area club Deep Dish Lacrosse.
Charlie Kidder ’17, M, True (Ill.) – Another slick player with a lot of intangibles, Kidder wasn’t as big as the other standouts but was a competitor with a seasoned shot on the run. He seemed to see the field very well and had a lot skills that will come off as attractive to college coaches. Plays at Lyons Township HS in Illinois.
Kellen Duff ’18, D, Lake Forest (Ill.) – The younger brother of a Delaware-bound defenseman, Duff might have the potential to be even better. He has a bit of range and is a special athlete with great cover skills and foot speed, covering a lot of space. Likes to get it off the ground and push transition whenever he can.
Cole Johnston ’17, M, True (Ill.) – Coming out of one of the state’s best high school programs in Lake Forest, Johnston is incredibly fast and displayed that up-and-down style, making plays whenever the ball was in his stick and his hands were free. Will need to touch up his lacrosse IQ in his remaining three years on the varsity team, but a solid college prospect for sure.
Henry Stites ’18, A, Titanium (Ky.) – A good little attackman, Stites has a rather impressive lacrosse IQ and was able to finish the ball well. Though he’ll need to work on his consistency and shot selection, he’s a player who provided a spark when he was out there. Plays his high school ball at Louisville Collegiate.
Nate Crowder ’18, LSM, True (Ind.) – Lights out on the wings of face-offs and off the ground in general, Crowder is a high motor player who simply doesn’t stop. He works hard and is relentless with his stick, also showing off awesome transition skills. Plays his high school ball at Hamiton South Eastern and has played club ball for True, Midwest Select and Titanium.
Griffin Harten ’17, LSM, Culver (Ind.) – A member of Midwest Select, Harten is a stud when getting the rock off of the carpet and plays very fast and physical, pushing the ball whenever he had it in his long pole. From what was circulating throughout the weekend, the transfer from Holland (Mich.) has a handful of Division I offers and could be impactful this spring.
Chad Kittaka ’18, M, Titanium (Ind.) – The Carmel HS prospect can be considered among the best freshmen in the region, showing off an absolute rocket of an outside shot. He works his tail off in between the lines, making a series of heads up plays. However, he’ll need to cut down on some bad habits like underhand shots that miss the cage. Regardless, he’s a surefire D1 nominee.
Austin Madronic ’18, A/M, Culver (Ind.) – Coming out of the non-traditional Canadian hotbed of Quebec, Madronic plays club for SweetLax and the Ottawa Capitals. He’s a little versatile than most Canucks, finishing everything with either his left or right hand. Madronic is smooth, great inside, off-ball and with the ball – he may have to wait his turn to get significant minutes, however he has already made some visits to some Big 10 institutions.