San Diego’s Adrenaline Challenge, likely the biggest and best tournament of the winter, has always received rave reviews. For recruiters outside of Division I (it falls during a ‘no evaluation’ period), it’s been essential for them to get out of their harsh Januarys and scout the next wave of talent from the Western United States and British Columbia. For the kids, it’s big for them to play with their local teams and show off their skills for the final time before the spring season, putting on display how much they’ve improved since the fall and summer.
Initially, I was disappointed that my vacation to the Virgin Islands would overlap with the Challenge, which was one of my favorite events all of last year thanks to how packed with talent and well run it is. Already at the event to coach eighth graders from the Maryland area, Chris Garland (give him a follow on Twitter – he drops knowledge), however, was able to pick up the slack and provide some awesome notes on the standouts. I made it there in the wee hours of Sunday morning and caught several playoff contests plus the All-Star Games, taking place on two adjacent fields and featuring only uncommitted’s, separated between ’15/16’s and ’17/’18s.
As always, thanks again to the awesome people at ADRLN for a first-class event. Without further ado, here are the players who grabbed our respective attention and put on a show:
Devin Spencer ’16, A, Blue Chip Nationals / Monte Vista (Calif.) – UMass
The highest compliment I can bestow on an attackman is that he plays unselfishly, but when the opportunity presents itself, he can beat his man and score. This is how I’d characterize Devin’s play at the Adrenaline Challenge this past weekend. He handled pressure well, and he played intelligently and under control. Lacrosse IQ is something that is hard to quantify, but easy to describe. I observed Devin playing with his stick in the correct hand, in addition to finding his teammate who was in the best position to score, but not necessarily the person who was most open. He put pressure on the defense by attacking opposite where he received the ball, and when he drew a slide he moved it immediately, rather than trying to make a spectacular play. Simply put, he dazzled me with his consistency and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play.
Jonathan Partamian ’17, M, Goon Elite / Loyola (Calif.) – Uncommitted
The uncommitted next to Jonathan’s name shouldn’t be there too much longer. In his game against the Atlantic Coast Starz, Jonathan was able to consistently create his own shot by beating his defender. It didn’t matter if it was a short stick or long stick midfielder, he would not be denied. In addition to being able to beat his man, Partamian has tremendous velocity on his shot. His athleticism between the lines was impressive, and I hope I have the opportunity to watch him play again this summer. As his coach Mario Waibel said, “We have high hopes for this kid, and he played incredibly well at the Adrenaline Challenge.” I would agree wholeheartedly.
Bubba Fairman ’16, A,Utah Blackhawks Elite / Calverton (Md.) – Navy
I thought Bubba was a standout for the Blackhawks all weekend. He has very good stick work, excellent athleticism, and great endurance. On one play I observed, Bubba rode from the end line to the opposite box, played defense, cleared the ball, dodged against a midfielder, rode again, and then subbed himself off. A moment later, he was put in on offense, and as a result of him drawing a slide and making the correct look, his team scored. He can dodge against defensemen and get to the island, and when he gets to the goal, he finishes in front instead of fading away. He protects his stick well, and unlike many attackman with his athleticism, he doesn’t rely on one move to get separation. He has a very nice split-to-roll double move which I saw him utilize firsthand this fall. I’m going to have the opportunity to see him play this spring against St. Paul’s, and if you take a look at Calverton’s schedule, I think their coach has a pretty good feeling about the team’s upcoming season. Games against Landon, Calvert Hall, Avon Old Farms, St. Anne’s-Belfield, and Georgetown Prep will test their mettle.
Hugh Crance ’15, D, OC Kings / Corona del Mar (Calif.) – Notre Dame
There are many things I loved about Crance’s game, chief among them is the discipline with which he approached the ball. He puts himself in a position to be successful when he’s playing on ball defense because of his attention to detail; moreover, he has great athleticism, which he displayed all weekend with the OC Kings. My favorite play was when Crance approached a Blackhawk’s attackman on the end line, but he didn’t stop his feet from moving; the attackman made a quick roll dodge, but he hung his stick. Crance snapped his wrist, threw a beautiful wrap check, collected the ball, and cleared it efficiently. He can cover, collapse, collect it, and carry it to the offensive end. I enjoyed watching him play all weekend.
Brett Greenlee ’15, LSM, Corona del Mar (Calif.), OC Kings – Denver
The defensive coordinator at CDM is a very lucky man: in addition to Greenlee, he has several other committed Division I prospects on his roster. Greenlee possesses all of the characteristics I imagine a number of college lacrosse coaches coveted in their recruitment of him. First, he really has a knack for picking up ground ball; second, he is able to put pressure on offensive players without being out of control; finally, he demonstrated a high lacrosse I.Q. by making the right play instead of THE play in between the defensive and offensive boxes. He was one of the many talented defensive players I watched this weekend, and based on what I saw, I think he’ll have a bright future for the Pios.
Matthew Cameron ’17, M, Seattle Starz / Blue Ridge (Va.) – Uncommitted
The lefty from British Columbia was very impressive on Sunday. He initiated first contact against anyone who was defending him, and as a result, was able to pin their hands against their chests. After doing so, he was able to redodge or shoot, and several of those shots resulted in goals. He demonstrated athleticism by beating a number of players off of long dodges, and he has excellent hands.
Jackson Lienhart ’15, A, RC Elite Silver / Torrey Pines (Calif.) – Bellarmine
Even though he is listed as an attackman, Lienhart played mostly midfield in the games I watched this weekend. Lienhart is a very skilled lacrosse player: he has an excellent hitch, an explosive and deceptive split, and a powerful shot. I saw him split several double teams on Sunday against the Blackhawks; however, he was beating his man so quickly, his teammates didn’t have the opportunity to clear space for him to dodge. When he did draw an early double team, he made a concerted effort to make the correct look down, back, or through. I appreciated the fact that he didn’t force any through passes to make spectacular plays, and with the talent on this RC Elite Silver team, he didn’t really have to. Recently transferring to TP from Louisville Trinity (Ky.), this young man is a really nice pickup for Bellarmine.
Lucas Pedersen ’17, D, Seattle Starz / Bainbridge Island (Wash.) – Fairfield
Pedersen has excellent size, a very good stick, and he played physical defense throughout the weekend. I hope I have the opportunity to see him play this summer, as I think he has tremendous potential. Committed to Andy Copelan and the Fairfield Stags almost exactly a month ago.
Andrew Beacham ’17, A/M, Alpha / La Costa Canyon (Calif.) – Uncommitted
Watching him for the first time, I walked away very impressed with what Beacham brings to the table and feel like he’s a strong college prospect. His outside shot is fundamentally sound with a rapid release, keeping his stick hidden to throw off opposing goaltenders. Beacham pinged two pipes in the All-Star Game after creating excellent separation while running out of the box. He’s a two-handed player who could also D up his man on the other end but is more so known for being an outstanding outside shooter who would be a great asset to any school’s extra man unit.
Henry Hollen ’15, M, RC Elite Silver / Torrey Pines (Calif.) – Tufts
To start, this kid is an absolute bear. Other players will have an easier job running by their man but very few will impose as much will on matchups inferior in size like Hollen will. He’s extremely right-handed but gets into his guy with the bull dodge better than 95% of recruits I’ve ever seen. Following in club/HS coach Jono Zissi’s footsteps to Tufts.
Campbell Carr ’17, D, Atlantic Coast Starz / Hereford (Md.) – Uncommitted
Carr has been written up by me before, however it’s still a surprise that nobody has scooped him up yet. He looks the part of a high Division I defenseman with superb footwork, especially around GLE, where his cover skills are especially strong. He was able to keep up with his man and execute great checks (plus great off-ball D) in the time I saw him on Sunday, including the All-Star Game. His hustle was off the charts, as he bee-lined it to every groundball and also got back on defense to command his teammates after helping out in the clearing game.
Kevin Kodzis ’16, A, OC Kings / Foothill (Calif.) – Holy Cross
Nate Marano ’15, A, OC Kings / Foothill (Calif.) – Denver
This pair out of Orange County (who also play for the West Coast Starz) always impress with consistency, and their performances throughout the playoffs on the final day caught my eye certainly caught my eye. Kodzis is a really heady player who has standout vision, always looking for the extra pass but also knowing the right situation when to exploit his man for the goal. Liked how he brought it in the riding game on a regular basis as well. I’ve felt for a while that he’s a steal for Holy Cross, choosing the Crusaders over a bevy of Ivies last February.
As for Marano, I don’t have enough good things to say about this kid, who has the potential to come close to having a superb career like that of Foothill alum Erik Adamson, a Denver midfielder who was touted by Inside Lacrosse as a preseason first team AA. He’s extremely fluid and has a nasty shot with either hand and from all points on the field (he can swing between attack and middie). When Nate’s out there – and he almost always is, the OC Kings’ offense functioned better with Marano as a field general. Can’t wait to see what these two are able to do for the Knights this spring.
Zack Franckowiak ’15, A, Utah Blackhawks / Corner Canyon (Ut.) – Uncommitted
Max Franckowiak ’17, A, Utah Blackhawks / Corner Canyon (Ut.) – Uncommitted
Josh Stout ’16, A, Utah Blackhawks / Lone Peak (Ut.) – Uncommitted
There are a lot of reasons to like Franckowiak and I’d imagine that there are a lot of schools out there trying to find a way to get him to head to their respective campus. He showcased highly impressive stick skills and is extraordinarily crafty when the ball is in his crosse, making him a tough cover for everybody who tried to guard him.
Now on to his younger brother, Max, a player I’m pumped to watch going forward. He’s also particularly crafty and jumps off the page right away, showing that in the All-Star Game. He’s athletic, agile and has a nice change of direction, especially when using the rollback to create space from his defender. As for his college prospects, I haven’t heard specific schools mentions but I’d guess that a lot of Division I programs would benefit from his services.
Stout, who was named 2nd team All-Conference last spring, is a recruit who I really like watching. Remember specifically a beauty of a low to high howitzer with no angle (in the semifinal, I believe) plus a key score in their championship loss to RC. He’s a great finisher who almost always buries his opportunities when time and room are there – opponents soon learned that they need to slide to him early. Shifty player who gets off his dodges well and will wind up at a great collegiate program if I had to guess.
Uncommitted All-Stars Who Caught My Eye
Max Freestone ’18, G, Vegas Starz Elite Red
Peter Gish ’16, M, ADVNC
Jason McLean ’15, M, Seaspray Elite
Jack Gibbons ’16, D, Factory Select
Levi Hoffman ’17, A, Seaspray HS
Jordan Yusunas ’17, D, RC Elite Carolina
George Ward ’18, M, Atlantic Coast Starz
Reid Bowering ’16, A, Coquitlam Adanacs
Marc Lefferdink ’16, A, RC Elite Silver
Matt Brandau ’18, A, Atlantic Coast Starz
Cooper Isaacs ’18, LSM, LA Mavs Elite
Sam Cron ’16, F/O, OC Kings
Ethan Smith ’17, M, ADVNC
Will McNamara ’18, A, Utah Elite
Mark Sund ’17, LSM, Coquitlam Adanacs