‘Electric’ might the most fitting word to describe Episcopal (Va.) freshman midfielder Ricky Miezan, a smooth as silk 6-foot-1, 170-pound athlete who schools rolled out the red carpet for.
On Monday night, however, the dynamo from the D.C. suburbs decided to join the Tar Heel family, committing to Joe Breschi’s program after recently narrowing his decision down to Virginia, Johns Hopkins and North Carolina.
Madlax head coach Cabell Maddux says that he’s never had a player who received so much attention on the recruiting trail, fielding over 20 calls from Division I powerhouses after a weekend at the Big 4 Champion’s League. In front of a who’s who of college coaches, Miezan scored four goals against Philly-based power Big 4 and showed off his off-the-charts athleticism, ability to create separation, clear upfield with ease and shoot accurately on the run.
“Ricky started dominating from May on and just gets to where he wants to be, I’d say things have really clicked for the kid,” says Maddux. “He’s an incredible dodger and shooter on the run and what I also love about him is that he’s an extremely high level soccer player who could have played Division I in that sport if he wanted to.”
Having played extensively with the state’s Olympic Development Program before deciding to focus on lacrosse, Miezan has gained spectacular endurance that will bode well playing both ways in the ACC.
“Endurance and speed are definitely big aspects of soccer that have helped me in lacrosse in transition and clearing the ball,” Miezan says of the crossover. “As a forward, I have the ball a lot and there’s a lot of change of direction and pace, so there are similarities in lacrosse with dodging and defense.”
Despite a busy schedule as a starter on the Maroon, he did his homework during the process, also considering or visiting schools like Maryland, Michigan, Duke and Princeton before cutting down to three programs. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see many schools continue to recruit him despite his commitment, however Miezan is quite firm on his verbal to Carolina.
The day after his commitment, I got him on the phone to talk about his hectic recruitment, the Tar Heels and their staff and how he doesn’t plan on resting on his laurels.
What made you decide on North Carolina?
I decided to choose Carolina because I felt like if I took away lacrosse, it would be the best college experience in all aspects of the school so that’s the place that I’d choose regardless. I loved the big time football and basketball, the location was great and I loved Chapel Hill, especially Franklin Street.
As for the coaches, [Joe] Breschi spoke how he wanted to build a midfield around me and I really liked that idea. He’s a family man with four daughters and me and my family loved that. I got to spend a lot of time with coaches Metzbower and Fiefs on my first visit and then with Coach Breschi on my second visit so I really felt comfortable with my relationships with those great guys.
What were your visits to Chapel Hill like?
On my first of two visits, I toured the campus on the golf cart before coming back to check out the athletic facilities and academic support center, which seemed great with lots of help from the university. On the second visit, I was able to go to a private basketball practice and meet coach Roy Williams and some of the players before going to the game and having an awesome experience there. It was also nice getting a sense of the guys on the [lacrosse] team, having lunch with some of the guys and spending time in the dorms to play some FIFA. In general, I felt really at home at UNC.
What was the whole recruiting process like for you? Now that your decision is out of the way, what’s your mindset going forward?
I never thought it would happen so fast considering I started playing the sport just under three years ago, I sort of became really competitive and serious about the sport and everything came together quickly. During the process, it was really eye-opening and cool to go to all of those big name schools after watching them all on TV in the spring, now all of a sudden I’m visiting them and talking to respected head coaches.
Going forward, there’s always a lot of pressure when freshmen make commitments. I feel like a lot of kids may rest and stop working a little after they commit but you can’t do that. After you decide on a college, that’s where you work even harder with something to prove.
Who would you like to thank for helping you get to where you are?
First of all, I’d like to thank my parents – they drove me around restlessly to all of the tournaments and college visits. I’d also like to thank my coaches, starting with my former rec ball coach Bruce McCulloch, who helped me become the player I am today. Coaches Maddux and Kenlay really helped me develop my skill and polished me into a much better player at this level. At Episcopal, coach [Scott] Conklin helped a lot with the recruitment process talking to coaches and I really can’t wait to play for him this spring.