On the heels of Saturday’s Philly Freshman Showcase, which was written up here, a bevy of the event’s top players headed back to United Sports for a Team Invitational that featured 22 of the nation’s top clubs.
Chris Garland, a longtime club coach all over the country, spent the entire day at the facilities in Downingtown and has a breakdown of 25 players who impressed him throughout the day. Chris, who now coaches and teaches in the upper school at St. Paul’s (Md.), is extremely passionate, knowledgeable and unbiased when it comes to high school & club lacrosse. Recruiting Rundown is excited to have him contribute to our coverage of recruiting tournaments going forward, as he brings an excellent, in-depth perspective to the table. Without further ado, here are 25 players from over a dozen club programs who impressed him.
Jacob Kelly, A, FCA / Calvert Hall (Md.) – Kelly has an excellent stick: he plays with it right next to his ear all of the time, and he delivers the ball on a straight line to his teammates. He plays with his head up, and based what I saw yesterday, he takes greater pride in finding the open man rather than scoring a goal. With that being said, Jacob has the ability to beat his man, and he shoots it accurately. He has a great deal of experience in the pick game, and he reads defenses very well. The recent commit to Carolina is now learning how to successfully manage a game, and based on their comeback win against a very strong Leading Edge team, he’s getting better at it all of the time.
Billy Chabot, M, Prime Time / Rye (N.Y.) -When you play against a Prime Time team, expect them to be strong at the X. Billy Chabot did a nice job winning the clamp and the ensuing ground ball in their afternoon game against the Baltimore Breakers. Chabot can be described as tough, physical, and versatile: he plays on both ends of the field, and he’ll be participating in Maverik Showtime this summer.
Ricky Miezan, M, Madlax / Episcopal (Va.) – Evaluating this young man’s ability to play lacrosse is akin to writing a report card comment for an A student: his body of work speaks for itself. Miezan used his size and athleticism to his advantage, and he shot the ball very hard. He cleared the ball with ease throughout their game against Long Island Express, and I’m certainly going to take the opportunity to watch him play this spring for Episcopal.
Harrison Caponiti, M, 3d Select Atlantic / Brunswick (Conn.) -I’ve always enjoyed watching and coaching against the 3d teams for a number of reasons, chief among them is how well their players are coached. Caponiti and his teammates at the midfield initiated first contact with their defenders, something all midfielders will have to learn how to do at the collegiate level, and he played unselfishly. Throughout the day he drew a slide and moved the ball to the correct teammate. He has a good stick work, and he didn’t settle for shots from outside of his shooting range. He was comfortable carrying with his off-hand, and he throws the ball on a rope.
Liam Darragh, G, FCA / Landon (Md.) – Darragh and the FCA defense only allowed three goals in the three halves of lacrosse in which he played. He was the catalyst in their comeback against Leading Edge where he accounted for at least 10 saves. He has quick hands, and he takes up space in the cage. Very impressive goalie prospect.
Tommy Joyce, D, Laxachusetts / Boston College HS (Mass.) – I liked that Joyce was vocal in settled defense, and he constantly readjusted his position to the ball and his man as it moved around the perimeter. He didn’t ball watch, and he put appropriate pressure on his opponent’s hands without compromising the middle of the field. He was a deserving participant in the Fab 40 All Star game, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops over the spring.
Frank Marinello, D, Team 91 / Chaminade (N.Y.) – “He’s big, but he’s not good because he’s big,” as I was told by a coaching friend as we watched Team 91’s game against Prime Time. I want to commend Marinello for his aggressiveness, ability to cover the ball, and ground ball play.
Luca Dannetta, A, Edge / Toronto (Ont.) – The lefty Luca worked hard to get to the middle of the field for his shot, instead of settling for low angle/low percentage shots. He has a great release, and like many of his teammates on this Edge squad, he finishes effectively. He has good size and speed, and I wish I had the opportunity to see him play more over the course of the weekend.
Chris Brandau, G, Breakers / Boys’ Latin (Md.) – The Laker product reportedly played well in the Fab 40 All Star game the previous day, in addition to putting in a solid performance on Sunday. Brandau has a firm grasp of team defense, and he picked off several passes intended for the attackman behind. One of the things younger goalies tend not to do well is successfully manage the clearing game, but he made the right decisions in his games against Prime Time and Eclipse.
James Amorosana, D, Team 91 / Manhasset (N.Y.) – This defender stuck out to me because of several invisible plays that he made throughout the day: directing a midfielder who was slid to towards the open man on the backside; correctly adjusting his position to the ball and his man as it zipped around the field; clearing the ball, getting a touch in the corner, and rolling away from the riding midfielder to hit a shortie. These typically don’t get you noticed, but I want to commend him for playing so well.
Zach Green, A, FCA / Calvert Hall (Md.) – Zach Green could play for me any day. Why? He rides to the midline all of the time. He has a tremendous quickness, a great burst of speed, and a nose for the goal. When he played inside, he followed the slide man looking for the ball. Simply put, he’s a very intelligent and well-coached player.
Griffin Westlin, M, Leading Edge / Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) – I was really impressed with the midfield play of the Leading Edge team, especially Westlin’s performance. He has a nice hitch move, which he set up with his shot from the outside. He threw several accurate pull and throwback passes to counterattack quick slides from the FCA team. I thought he played solid on ball defense and he hunted the ball in the clearing game, rather than running himself into coverage.
Sean Kuttin, M, Team 91 / Chaminade (N.Y.) – Kuttin can beat his man and score with either hand; additionally, the Hopkins-bound freshman plays intelligent and unselfish lacrosse. I loved his explosiveness off of a catch, something players in this age group struggled with all weekend. Simply put, he’s an impressive prospect whom I’m looking forward to seeing play in several events this summer.
Sean Sullivan, A, Titanium / Naperville North (Ill.) – I liked the way Sullivan attacked the cage on Sunday: he worked hard to get the island and the middle of the field, and he finished in front of the goal rather than settling for low percentage shots just above GLE. When he drew a double team, he made a concerted effort to find the open man. In the games I watched, he rode to the midline, and he worked diligently to turn the clearing defender or midfielder back into a double team.
Jackson Cummings, A, Breakers / McDonogh (Md.) -A participant in the Fab 40 All Star game on Saturday afternoon, Jackson has excellent stick work, high lacrosse I.Q., and the ability to put his teammates in a position to be successful. The young lefty is a natural leader and an accurate passer.
Greyson Wolfram, M, 3d Select Atlantic / Brunswick (Conn.) – Of all the midfielders I watched this past Sunday, I really liked Wolfram’s footwork. He, like many of his teammates, initiated first contact with the defender, was physical, drew a slide, and successfully threw the ball down, back, or through to the open man. I found his game to be fundamentally sound, and I’m looking forward to watching him play this summer.
Matt Magnan, M, Prime Time / Fox Lane (N.Y.) – I came away impressed with Prime Time’s team, coaching staff, and this young man’s dodging ability. Magnan has a great face dodge, but it’s clear he’s been working on his left-to-right split. He shoots it well on the run, and he has good vision. He was certainly deserving of a spot in the Fab 40 All Star Game on Saturday afternoon.
Sam Powell, A/M, LI Express North / Bronxville (N.Y.) – Powell ran out of the box a few times to attack the cage, and when he did, he ran very hard. I loved his effort throughout the day, and he shot it overhand consistently. He can both attack and midfield, but yesterday he played most middie.
Jake Mueller, LSM/D, 3d Select Atlantic /Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) – Mueller covered the ball with a consistency that allowed his teammates to play effective team defense off of the ball. He put pressure on an attackman’s hands when appropriate, and he didn’t take unnecessary risks by throwing checks on the goal line extended, or when his opponent attacked the cage. He made contact with his offensive player before they made it to GLE, and he swung his hips around to force said player underneath into the slide. His footwork was good, and I think he has the athleticism to play LSM in college.
Brian Cameron, A, NH Tomahawks / Brewster Academy (N.H.) – The game slowed down, in a good way, when this kid had the ball in his stick on Sunday. He was able to draw slides throughout the day and find open teammates, and much like a post player in basketball, the Carolina commit knows how lean into his defender, feel pressure, and then utilize the appropriate move. He had a few nifty finishes, and dazzled me with the consistency of his stick work.
Nick Bond, M, Leading Edge / Westfield (N.J.) – Bond has a good handle and great velocity on his shot. He knows what to do with the ball when he draws a double team, and he shoots it overhand consistently. Like his teammates, and the better coached middies at this event, he initiated first contact with the defender in order to pin his opponent’s hands against his chest; after doing so, he created space for himself to shoot, or redodge. He’s another young man I’m looking forward to watching play this summer, along with this Leading Edge team.
Jordan Ginder, FO/M, Team 91 / Poly Prep (N.Y.) – He made it look so easy in Team 91’s game against Prime Time. I thought he did a tremendous job at the X against Billy Chabot, which allowed his team to control the pace of play. He generated offense by beating his man, and he made the correct looks after he drew slides. Ginder plays a critical role in the success of this team, and I enjoyed the way he played the game throughout the day. From what I hear, he’s getting a massive amount of recruiting attention.
Steven Cornwell, LSM, MadLax / Paul VI (Va.) – Cornwell has excellent footwork, very good speed, and he played well between the boxes. On one key play in their game against Madlax, he created a turnover, but instead of sprinting towards the box, he supported his team in the clearing game, made a hard cut to the goal, and then subbed himself off at the midline, rather than coming to the box. This created a long dodge for his teammate running towards the goal at full speed. He makes a number of really valuable “invisible plays” like the one I saw on Sunday.
Cade Saustad, D, Texas Mustangs / Highland Park (Tex.) – I thought Saustad had an outstanding Sunday afternoon. He covered the ball effectively, approached his opponent correctly, and he made good decisions in the clearing game. When Cade was off ball, he kept his big eye on his man and his small eye on the ball, and he deflected a few passes thrown near him. I liked everything about his game and the UVA commit didn’t disappoint. More importantly, I thought the Texas Mustang’s defense was a lot of fun to watch. If I had the space, I’d write more about each of his teammates on defense. It is an incredibly disciplined and well-coached unit.
Zach Ludd, A, NH Tomahawks / Governor’s Academy (Mass.) – Ludd utilized his quickness to make a number of key plays throughout the day. He was able to beat his man, get to the island, and make a decision that resulted in something positive for his teammates. He didn’t fall into the trap of trying to do too much on Sunday, which I’d attribute to the coaching staff of the Tomahawks.