Making the practice squad in your first year is nothing to shake your head at. Matt Crough, of the New England Black Wolves, will spend his first season in the NLL practicing with the big club while he hones his skills to be able to make a dynamite impact as a sophomore. The 5’9″, 172 lb Peterborough native was drafted 15th overall in September.
“I was thrilled about being drafted to New England,” Crough said. “It’s a new team that’s looking for an identity.”
The Black Wolves, having moved from Philadelphia in the offseason, made a lot of changes, and the lineup features 12 players who are new to the franchise. Crough will likely get a chance to sub in a few times as the team works to find consistency in it’s first year in Connecticut.
“I’m excited to see what I can bring to the table in New England,” Crough said.
A solid player for the MSL’s Peterborough Lakers, Crough has spent two seasons endearing himself to Lakers fans as a player to always be relied on.
In his rookie season with the Lakers (2013), Crough finished ninth in scoring with 31 points in 19 games, plus seven playoff points, finishing behind such stars as Shawn Evans, Mark Steenhuis, and John Grant. In his sophomore season, he finished fourth in scoring with 32 points in 18 games, and added six playoff points.
Current Black Wolves defensive coach Tracey Kelusky was a teammate of Crough in Peterborough, and also coached Crough through the Peterborough Jr. system, and works with him at Kelusky’s Evolve Elite company, so at least one member of the Black Wolves staff knows exactly the kind of talent and good work ethic that Crough brings to the table.
Crough lost the Lakers Rookie of the Year award to fellow 2014 NLL draftee Robert Hope. The Lakers had only two rookies that season, and at the awards ceremony, coach Jamie Batley joked that the award really could have gone to either player, but Hope was chosen because his mom was able to make the ceremony (both Hope and Crough were away at school in the USA).
Crough is also a senior at Dowling College in New York, where he plays attack for the Golden Lions and is majoring in special education. He is spending time practice teaching in the classroom for his final year. He led the team in 2014 with 62 points and a .525 shooting percentage.
Matt Crough is a smart player who will eventually find a permanent place on the Black Wolves roster. He works hard, although he does it quietly so is often not noticed along with his flashier teammates on the Lakers. Away from them, however, in New England, he will show the coaching staff that he is a reliable player who will put the ball in the net as long as he is given the chance.