Referred to as the best event of the fall for good reason, the Philly Freshman Showcase took place over the weekend and housed the majority of the nation’s best 2018’s, who performed under the keen eyes of all of the early recruiters in Division I. In just its second year of their freshman event at the awesome United Sports facilities in Downingtown (Pa.), Brett Manney and the great people of NXT have a showcase that everybody wants to be part of, with the rosters available here.
Here are the players who stood out, with newly minted contributor Max Mollihan helping out and splitting up the games. The All-Star rosters can be found at this link on Twitter. For any inaccuracies, info, etc. in regards to the writeup, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ross Pridemore, A, Taft (Conn.) / SweetLax – Tremendously athletic with a high IQ and skill level to match, it says a lot about the Virginia commit’s game that he was able to dominate despite having a nagging hip injury that hindered his mobility. He’s a head up dodger who embraced contact and played with a swagger, casually tossing no-look passes to teammates on the All-ACC attack line that also featured Carolina-bound pair Brian Cameron and Nicky Solomon. It’s impressive how complete the Southern transplant’s game is at this early point, and I’d expect him to be a starter for Casey D’Annolfo’s squad right off the bat.
Oliver Hollo, LSM, Deerfield (Mass.) / Patriot – A native of Bernardsville in New Jersey, Hollo deservingly won MVP recognition, showing off an offensive-minded style of play with his longpole. He’s impeccable off of the ground and while he can touch up his 1-on-1 defensive play, he brings a lot to the table and is a stud in the open field. Hope his coaches are ready for all of the phone calls that they’re about to field from the big names in Division I – Hollo is in a high school program that has produced a bevy of promising defensemen and Hollo seems to be the next for Chip Davis.
Matthew Magnan, M, Fox Lane (N.Y.) / Prime Time – It’s easy to see why Magnan played a significant role on the varsity as an eighth grader and committed to Syracuse last month. Not only is he big but he is an elite outside shooter both his left hand and his non-dominant hand, shooting with confidence from long range in the All-Star Game. His quick release is particularly astonishing, as he gets down the alley and has excellent stick skills to help him elude defenders, demanding coverage from the opponent’s longpole. Also liked how he stuck his nose in the dirt and picked up tough groundballs in between the lines.
Nicky Solomon, A, Centennial (Ga.) / LB3 Atlanta – The future Tar Heel continues to impress, showing off a seemingly well-rounded game matched with a very impressive understanding of the game. He demonstrated the ability to do his damage both off-ball and creating opportunities from X and the wings, racking up two goals and an assist, including an absolute laser from the wing to open the second half. Looks like he could be one of the very best in the ’18 class.
Javon Johnson, A, St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.) / Duke’s LC – I’m becoming a big fan of the style of play that the North Carolina resident brings to the table, which is tailor made for an event like the Philly Showcase. He’s a jitterbug and an all-out hustler on the attack end, using his burst of speed when dodging to score or in the riding game, where he’s especially terrific. He’s a tad undersized but has plenty of intriguing qualities to make up for that, often taking advantage of shortstick matchups from several different points on the fields. Had a great goal in the All-Star Game to close out an exceptional fall campaign.
Tate Young, M, Westlake (Tex.) / LI Express – Stepping up his assertiveness, the left-handed midfielder from Austin was outstanding on Saturday, garnering second runner-up MVP honors for his play leading up to the ASG. He made things happen the majority of the time he had the ball in his stick, initiating from all points on the field, which included some inverted opportunities. Separated from his man in a variety of ways, whether it was a stutter step, split dodge or rollback, sending the ball to the net with plenty of velocity.
Joe Neuman, F/O, Whitman (N.Y.) / SweetLax – Winning the King of the X competition against longpole Thor Adamec, Neuman (another one of Schommy’s proteges) is a blue-collar face-off man who is built low to the ground but has tremendous upper and lower body strength to help him outlast his opponents. He’s gritty and does a remarkable job anticipating the whistle and popping it forward, winning all but one draw in the All-Star Game. Neuman has already visited a ton of schools and could be approaching a decision in the coming weeks, especially with increased attention after the masterful showing that the Suffolk County freshman put together.
Sam Witt, M/FO, Acton Boxborough (Mass.) / Fighting Clams – Though much of Team 8’s offense was generated from the attack, Witt shined with his throwback two-way play and face-off prowess. He gobbled up groundballs at the X and in all sorts of situations and made strong decisions with the ball in his stick, also hammering home a few low-to-high and high-to-high beauties. Really enjoy players like this and I’m sure high Division I coaches feel the same way.
Alex Gainey, G, St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Will Vitton, G, Summit (N.J.) / Leading Edge – There were a ton of great goalies there and since it’s hard to evaluate in showcase-style events and All-Star Games, here are two that seemed to be a cut above the rest and amongst the more talented netminders in the country. Vitton has been well-documented before, but he’s a talented lefty with size, confidence and strong technique. He tossed outlets with confidence and was particularly great on low shots. Gainey, meanwhile, was the best communicator there and led the defense very well. Saw all sorts of highlight reel saves from the soon-to-be ISL standout.
Alex Bamford, A, Brunswick (Conn.) / Team 91 – I’ve been hearing great things about Bamford for a long time, so it was nice to see his play back up all of that talk. He’s a big body who backs down his man and makes things happen a lot in that manner but is also a more traditional dodger who beats his defender with a variety of moves and a quick overhand release. If he improves his foot speed, he’ll bring in even more attention from college coaches than he already is at the moment.
Drake Schaffner, D, Gonzaga (D.C.) / Blackwolf – A couple of well known assistant coaches sitting by me came away very impressed with Schaffner’s game, so he’s another player who raised his stock in a major way at the fall’s consensus top individual event. With a thick, sturdy yet fairly athletic frame, he’s a high IQ player who communicates adequately and was a shutdown 1-on-1 cover man around GLE. Forced bad shots by his assignment and got the ball off the ground quickly, moving it to breaking midfielders or clearing it upfield himself. High ceiling for Schaffner’s game.
Mark Rakowski, D, Lawrenceville (N.J.) / Leading Edge – Hailing from Arizona, Rakowski looks the part of a West Coast defenseman blended with the field sense of a seasoned, well-coached East Coast player. He has a habit of laying the lumber and his slides constantly forced turnovers, doing a standout job using his stick and athletic frame to jar the ball loose and wreak havoc. Have to imagine that people are going after him hard knowing how well Rakowski has performed in November.
Kevin Hussey, M, Smithtown East (N.Y.) / LI Express – Hussey definitely brought it on Saturday, registering a pair of goals in the ASG. He provides a lot of offensive punch out of the midfield and simply lets the game come to him rather than forcing anything like many freshmen do. Hussey had a nice reportoire of moves up top and did a nice job of attracting the slide then dumping it off to his man, but he more so of a pure dodger who is able to blow down the alley and put a heavy and accurate shot on cage. Followed all of that up with another nice day in Baltimore on Sunday.
Brian Antonelli, A, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – A flashy and speedy dodger, Antonelli is a difficult player to stop while he’s on his way to the cage. His first step was quicker than most players at the event, instantly creating separation with his dodges, either distributing to cutting teammates, turning the corner or letting one go himself from eight or so yards out. Showed his toughness when leaning over and picking up GB’s despite being surrounded by much bigger defenders, however his slight size may worry some people despite how hard-nosed he can be.
Roland Bryan, A, Cardigan Mountain (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks – A lefty who got to the rack at will, I was impressed with Bryan’s dodging style and high shooting percentage. He most likely won’t be a dodger at the next level, however the ‘Shire product made a series of plays for Team 7, sending the ball out of his pocket and into the back of the net in a hurry. Also made a handful of plays on the ride, where he used his size to his advantage.
Jacob Walthour, LSM, Salisbury (Conn.) / SweetLax – A re-class after standing out in the 2017 All-Star Game at Maverik Showtime this summer, Walthour is without a doubt one of the top longstick midfield products in this class. He’s an excellent athlete who roams the field and hunts down his man before putting the ball on the ground, pushing transition when the opportunity arises. Game is mistake-free for the most part, also doing a good job 1-on-1 from all spots on the field.
Others Who Deserve Namedrops
Thor Adamec, LSM, John Jay (N.Y.) / LI Express North
Matthew Baugher, A, Greenwich (Conn.) / Prime Time
Andrew Bonafede, G, Chaminade (N.Y.) / LI Express
Connor Cassidy, M, Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) / FLG
Steven Cornwell, LSM, Paul VI (Va.) / Madlax
Jackson Cummings, A, McDonogh (Md.) / Breakers
Jay Davidson, D, Bellbrook (Oh.) / Cincy Royals
Connor Devine, M, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / NXT
Ryan Doran, A, Half Hollow Hills East (N.Y.) / Team 91
Kaleb Fernandez, M/FO, Georgetown Prep (Md.) / Club Blue
Jimmy Gabrielsen, M, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Mesa Fresh
Griffin Gelinas, A, Brunswick (Conn.) / Prime Time
Colby Gendron, M, Bedford (N.H.) / Laxachusetts
Finn Jent, M, Highland Park (Tex.) / Texas Mustangs
Zach Johnson, M, St. Albans (D.C.) / Madlax
Emmett Jones, D, Lakeridge (Ore.) / 3d
Tommy Joyce, M, Boston College High (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Will Kusnierek, M, Manhasset (N.Y.) / LI Express
J.T. Lawrence, LSM, Greenwich Country Day (Conn.) / 3d
Brody Laporte, D, Menlo (Calif.) / 3d
Zach Ludd, A, Governor’s Academy (Mass.) / NH Tomahawks
Ramsey McCreary, A, Woodlands (Tex.) / Texas United
Ricky Miezan, M, Episcopal (Va.) / Madlax
Garrett Mize, A, St. Mark’s (Tex.) / Texas Mustangs
Silas Newsome, D, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) / VLC
Beau Pederson, A, Park City (Ut.) / 212
Brian Reda, A, Pleasantville (N.Y.) / LI Express North
Joseph Rice, D, St. Augustine Prep (N.J.) / SouthShore
Grayson Sallade, M, Manheim Township (Pa.) / Duke’s LC
Cade Saustad, D, Highland Park (Tex.) / Texas Mustangs
Daniel Shay, A, Archbishop Spalding (Md.) / Breakers
Kevin Sheehan, A, West Genesee (N.Y.) / SweetLax
Jack Traynor, A, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Mesa Fresh
Zachary Tucci, M/FO, Bedford (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks
Troy Tuveson, D, Loch Raven (Md.) / Breakers
Sutter Urgo, A, Gonzaga (D.C.) / Blackwolf
Anthony Uva, M/FO, Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.) / United
Alex Vardaro, M, Hewlett (N.Y.) / FLG
George Walsh, D, Calvert Hall (Md.) / FCA
Jake Wornow, M, Westfield (N.J.) / Leading Edge