A Breakdown Of The Top Recruits At SweetLax Invitational

DSC_0067.JPGIf things had been left the way they were, Cameron Henry would have been committed by now, and likely to one of the best programs in the country.

 A 2019 LSM and close defenseman from McCallie School (Tenn.) and LB3, Henry garnered significant interest before the NCAA cracked down on recruiting underclassmen. While some would have been disappointed to not be able to end their recruiting process, it’s actually been refreshing for Henry. 

“I was pretty close to committing, but as soon as the rule came out, I decided to take advantage of it by doing as much as I could and focusing on improving everything,” Henry said.

Henry’s days as an uncommitted prospect are likely numbered, because there’s a whole lot to love about his game. He’s as intriguing a prospect as you can really get. He’s already 6-4 and close to 190 pounds, though doctors have told him there’s a good chance he’ll eventually be around 6-6 with the possibility of topping out at 6-8. He envisions himself playing in the 205 to 210-pound range at the next level, which is an absurdly terrifying prospect when you consider that he’s got the speed and athleticism of a much smaller player. He runs almost effortlessly, handles the ball well and recently started taking faceoffs, just in case being a freakishly athletic, 6-4, 190-pound beast of a pole wasn’t enticing enough to college coaches.

Henry was one of the best players at the SweetLax Invitational and he carved out a spot in the 2019 All-Star Game. An Atlanta-area native, he started for McCallie, one of the South’s best high school programs, this year as a sophomore. Henry tries to get 600 wall ball reps in every day – 300 with each hand – and if he continues to improve his stick, there’s every reason to believe that he could become the prototype for a longstick.

“The percentage of me getting a ground ball is very, very high,” Henry said. “I also feel like my close defense is one of my strong points. I have very quick feet, I’ve really worked on that. I’ve played LSM just about my whole entire life, and it wasn’t until this fall that I started playing close defense at McCallie. Since then, I’ve kind of fallen in love with it.”

Opposing attackmen? Not so much.

Others Who Impressed at the SweetLax Invitational

Ricky Amorim ’19, LSM/D, Duke’s LC / Academy of the New Church (Pa.) 
Amorim was all over the field in a playoff game against Boneyard, showing off many of the attributes that endeared him so much to Providence. He’s got good size with plus athleticism and strong footwork. He causes turnovers without playing out of control, and when he took control of the ball, he did a terrific job of spearheading the transition game.

David Bartkus ’18, M, Fighting Clams / Bedford (Mass.)
The Sacred Heart commit is part of a tough, scrappy Clams outfit, and you have to love his skill set. At times, he can be so smooth that he’ll make things look effortless. He showed that he’s comfortable with using either hand and possesses a good shot. He also displayed some versatility by playing attack at times.

Tommy Beeby ’18, M, Prime Time / John Jay (N.Y.)
Start sliding now. It’s incredibly tough to stop Beeby from getting the shot he wants, and when he does, thanks for coming. Have a safe ride home. The future Delaware Blue Hen can score from just about anywhere, but he’ll find different ways to do it. Sometimes, he’ll take open space and step down. Others, like in overtime against the Clams, he’ll power his way to the rack and snap one home. Either way, Delaware has a good one on its hands.

Spencer Bell ’18, A, Blaze / Fairport (N.Y.)
Let this kid get his hands free and you’ll be fishing the ball out of your net in no time. The lefty showed off an absolute cannon with excellent range. Bell has a bit of a Canadian style to him with a good handle and he’s a pure goal scorer. Despite that, he didn’t shy away from hustling all over the place to make little plays when he wasn’t burying goals.

Jack Brennan ’19, A, SweetLax / Irondequoit (N.Y.)
It’s hard not to like Brennan’s game. A big righty committed to Maryland, he’s got a superb handle, especially under pressure, and he carries the ball like a box player. He’s a strong shooter who’s good at finding ways to get open, and when he gets the ball, it’s over. That being said, he also showed pinpoint accuracy with a couple passes to help his team to a championship.

Mike Browne ’18, D, Duke’s LC / St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.)
I’m pretty familiar with Browne from my previous time at NXT, where the Prep’s best cover guy also plays, and he’s as underrated as it gets. He’s not physically imposing, but he’s capable of staying in just about anybody’s back pocket. This weekend, he displayed a little bit more of a mean streak than he usually does as he helped Duke’s win the 2018 title. Browne also has a great knack for knocking passes down and he’s adept at getting the transition game going.

Carter Henry ’20, M, LB3 / McCallie (Tenn.)
The younger brother of Cameron Henry, Carter brings a slightly different skillset to the table. He’s still got good size – already flirting with 6-2 – but the younger Henry uses his athleticism as part of his excellent dodging ability. He’s got a good shot and also keeps his head up to find his teammates with the ball. Much like his brother, he needs to fill out a bit, but once he does, he’ll be a mismatch for everyone that he goes up against.

Parker Junod ’19, M, SweetLax Florida / Winter Park (Fla.)
You name it, Junod does it. He was one of the better players on his team in the All-Star Game and brought a diverse skill set to the table. He flashed good vision by threading passes to open teammates, and when some of those were dropped, he didn’t get down. Rather, he kept hitting them with passes anyway. You love to see that, plus he showed that he’s not afraid of much by eating a big-time shot. Those skills, coupled with his ability to run for days, endeared him to coaches in attendance.

J.T. Lawrence ’18, LSM, Prime Time / Greenwich (Conn.) 
If Lawrence were three or four inches taller, Colorado College might not have an absolute steal on its hands because everyone would want him. Lawrence was everywhere for PrimeTime. He handles the ball with ease and runs well when kick starting transition. Defensively, he can cover a ton of ground and he showed takeaway ability by knocking the ball loose on multiple occasions.

Taylor Lewis ’19, G, Thunder / Buford (Ga.) 
Lewis stands out right away because you can hear him from anywhere near the field. He’s a strong communicator with his defense, and when shooters get near him, he does an excellent job of taking away low shots and daring guys to beat him high. Once he makes the save, he’s very active in the clearing game.

Logan McNaney ’19, G, SweetLax /  Corning (N.Y.) 
If you’re going to try to shoot low on the Maryland verbal, save your time and effort and just give SweetLax the ball instead. Same outcome, and it’s not a drain on your confidence as a shooter. That said, scoring high on him isn’t easy, either, so good luck. McNaney’s not the biggest goalie, but the quick lefty has good feet and makes everything look so easy, plus he’s quite strong at getting transition going. He was out of this world in the championship game as SweetLax’s 2019s won their home tournament.

Treyton Schug ’19, LSM/D, Orange Crush / Cazenovia (N.Y.)
An athletic lefty, Schug covers a whole lot of ground and made his living between the lines for tournament finalist Orange Crush. When the ball hits the ground, it’s his. Schug runs well and had a hand in a couple of caused turnovers for Crush.

Luke Staudt ’20, G, SweetLax / West Genesee (N.Y.)
You know you’re skilled when you do something that nobody has ever done in West Genny’s incredible history. Staudt did just that when he became the first freshman starting goalie under legendary coach Mike Messere, and it’s not hard to see how he earned that job. He’s already six-feet-tall and is as fundamentally sound as it gets, especially for such a young ‘keeper, and he doesn’t seem to get rattled by much. He was already garnering significant Division I interest before the recruiting rule change, so expect him to be a hot commodity.

Najee Taylor ’19, M, Duke’s LC / Loyola Academy (Ill.)
A Notre Dame verbal, Taylor played with the Duke’s 2018s and didn’t skip a beat against older competition. He’s very athletic and can break down a defender from up top, but if you sag too far off of him, he’ll burn you with a great shot. He nearly knocked the net over on one laser from up top and also made a series of nice feeds to set up his teammates.

Honorable Mention 

Matt Baugher ’18, A, Greenwich (Conn.) / PrimeTime – UMass
Reese Burek ’18, A/M, Fairport (N.Y.) / Blaze
Andrew Calabrese ’19, G, Wilton (Conn.) / PrimeTime – Air Force
Zac Coar ’18, A, La Salle (Pa.) / Duke’s
Zach Diamond ’18, M, Manheim Township (Pa.) / Duke’s – High Point
Gabe Finkelstein ’20, M, Loggers Run (Fla.) / SweetLax Florida
Cameron Hollander ’19, F/O, West Morris (N.J.) / BBL – Bucknell
Ryan Katchen ’19, M, Cardinal Mooney (Fla.) / SweetLax Florida
Peter Klueber ’19, G, Greater Atlanta Christian (Ga.) / LB3
Cade Meyers ’19, D, Tampa Jesuit (Fla.) / SweetLax Florida
Joe Neuman ’18, F/O, Salisbury (Conn.) / SweetLax – Yale
Chase Patterson ’19, F/O, Council Rock South (Pa.) – Duke’s
The entire SweetLax 2019 defense

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