We’re at the point where high school lacrosse players are playing more lacrosse than ever — perhaps too much, a popular view with summer spectators. They’ll finish the spring season and dive right into club tournaments, individual showcases and prospect days for two straight months.
Of course, there’s a benefit in playing tough competition, but how much are those events really preparing players for what to expect when it comes to being a college lacrosse player?
Enter the Legends Committed Experience.
Run last week by Scott Hochstadt and Rory Doucette’s Legends Lacrosse, the event attracted nearly 40 committed players from all over the West with a healthy mix of players headed to the college this month along with many younger committed recruits.
With the ridiculous digs at the Sports Academy, a sprawling 96,000-square foot indoor facility that houses training for dozens of star professional athletes, players got their money’s worth (and then some) by experiencing things that you just don’t find many other places. Whether it was the access to sports psychologists, nutritionists and recovery rooms or footwork drills in massive sand pits and competitions on Dynavision boards, Sports Academy had it all. Of course, that’s on top of the on-field sessions with current and former MLL pros Kyle Harrison, Trevor Tierney, Matt Rambo, Andrew Casimir and Anthony Kelly.
The biggest benefit, however, may have been the classroom sessions with the aforementioned pros talking about what to expect at the college level and how to prepare. Kids’ eyes were glued to the crew of pros as they talked about how to take care of your body, prioritize your time and handle the rigors of college lacrosse.
“We as an industry cover nine of ten steps when it comes to getting the kids to college programs. Once they’re committed, that last step of letting them know what to expect is usually unfinished, so it’s our responsibility to get them as ready as they can be to be college athletes,” said Doucette, a Southern California-based co-founder of Legends who has over 15 years of coaching and events experience. “They need to know how to set goals, manage their time and know how to be a failure – so many kids aren’t used to having to outwork the room because they’re such gifted athletes so accustomed to being the best player on their high school team. We feel like our event is unique with such a long-term return and that there’s such a high value in comparison to events that charge a similar price to scrimmage the whole time.”
No player is going to develop drastically in just two days to become fully ready to take their game from high school to college. However, there’s no doubt that this event was a major step in equipping them with what it takes to be successful going forward.
Now it’s on them to take what they learned, go off to college and rep the West.
Players Who Impressed At The Legends Committed Experience
Logan Soelberg ’19, M, Crespi-Carmelite (Calif.) – Maryland
There’s always a significant jump from high school sophomore to junior from a lacrosse and maturity standpoint, and Soelberg looks more than ready to make that jump. Physically, you might already mistake him for a Big 10 middie, and he has absolutely massive hands and feet to back up his height. Armed with an excellent split dodge and release on his shot, Soelberg had a few moments where he violently hit corners on his shots from up top, drawing reactions from the rest of the camp. In general, the upside’s definitely there.
Dylan Bauer ’20, A, Park City (Ut.) – Hopkins
There’s something to be said about a kid whose feet literally never stop moving. Though he was one of the younger players in attendance, Bauer went to the cage with reckless abandon, leaning into his man and embracing contact with his innate toughness. He’s a scrappy, head-up dodger who consistently got to the island against D guys much bigger, and that caught a lot of attention. I felt like he was one of the better 2020’s at Under Armour in July and I’m looking forward to watching him over the next few years.
JJ Sillstrop ’19, A, La Costa Canyon (Calif.) – Denver
Only 13 members of the Class of 2019 garnered US All-American honors, and Sillstrop was one of them, also winning a title this spring for Kevin Cooper’s Mavericks. He was completely dominant in a shooting accuracy drills, showing off excellent hands and a quick release that impressed his coaches. He appears to be lefty, but it was hard to tell because Sillstrop could still make some excellent plays with his right. In reality, the sky is the limit for the future Pioneer.
Lake de la Fuente ’19, M, Westlake (Tex.) – Cornell
Getting on my radar for the first time last year at Maverik Showtime, it’s de la Fuente’s athleticism and motor that catch evaluators’ eyes right off the bat. Keep watching him in drills and you see a kid that knows what to do with the ball once he draws a slide. He didn’t force shots and was patient, often getting the rock to his teammates in transition. Hailing from Austin, he is a player who is expected to take a big jump next spring for Westlake.
Marquez White ’20, M, Poway (Calif.) – Syracuse
It’s easy to see what Syracuse took White early, loving his game at the Adrenaline ACC Prospect Games and securing his commitment in late February. He’s on a different level athletically and has an awfully impressive IQ to boot. There’s a lot of shake in his dodging reportoire and he often rolled back to his strong hand before burying shots. His understanding of the game was advanced enough that he could also produce offense off of the re-dodge, and he simply made play after play during the event.
Andrew Beacham ’17, M, La Costa Canyon (Calif.) – Towson
Alderik van der Heyde ’17, A, Torrey Pines (Calif.) – Middlebury
Tillman Gallagher ’17, M, Sunset (Ore.) – Michigan
Austin Lowi ’17, A, Palos Verdes (Calif.) – Jacksonville
Kyle McBride ’17, D, Palos Verdes (Calif.) – St. John’s
Easton Gormican ’17, G, Coronado (Calif.) – Bryant
Alex Gainey ’18, G, St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) – Hopkins
Ryan Ramirez ’18, M, Torrey Pines (Calif.) – Bryant
Jake Frane ’17, M, Mountain Vista (Colo.) – Notre Dame
Nick Beeson ’17, M, Poway (Calif.) – Bryant