The migration of talent from north of the border continues and is finding more success each year. The graduations of Cam Flint, Jason Noble, Jake Hayes, Reid Acton, Robert Church, and the list goes on and on, prove that Canadians are successfully putting their stamp on the American Collegiate Lacrosse game. The infusion of their talents are not taking as long as had it been. Here is a list of those to be making headlines next spring, while causing college coaches to try to find the next great coming down from Canada.
1) Brandon Benn – Hopkins – A
69 goals in his first three years at Homewood is a good way to start a career. With Stanwick being able to find the open man, Benn should prosper even more. Many American players have a hard time throwing the ball inside to Canadian teammates, but the influx of Canadians to Hopkins roster will only benefit Benn. It is doubtful if the coaching staff will ask him to do more, like Zach Palmer did by carrying more this season, Benn will still be called upon to finish and he will with the best of them.
2) Wes Berg – Denver – M
After exploding during the playoffs, Berg should start to become a household name in the next two years. 72 points during his freshman season is quite amazing. He was shut out only twice the entire season as well. His consistency will have to remain for the Pioneers to be equal or better than last year’s version. In three games he had 21 goals. Will be interesting to see if his assist totals increase, but his production could get close to the 100 mark in his sophomore season.
3) Mike MacDonald – Princeton – A
Shout out to the Halton Hills Bulldog Alumnus. MacDonald knows how to finish the ball. Princeton playing that two man game on offense enables MacDonald to rack up points. He finished one point behind the team lead, but led the team in goals. The lead in goals was by a good margin as well. Watching MacDonald play, notice the varying locations, how hard he shoots, and its accuracy. As the rest of the team becomes better equipped to play the pick ‘n roll game, watch MacDonald flourish as the leading attackman for the Tigers.
4) Mark Cockerton – Virginia – A
Cockerton came alive in the Duke game this past season. He might have been Virginia’s lone consistent scorer this past year. As frustrating as this season was for the Hoos, this will be a benefit for Cockerton. Why? This past season showed the Cockerton could make the plays that he needed to and I am sure put some confidence in his game. Now as Virginia gets more players taking part and working in the offense, he will be the beneficiary.
5) Jesse King – Ohio State – M
King registered a point in every game he played this past season. He was almost equal in statistics between goals and assists. Watching his first round game against Towson, showed a lot of promise for the Buckeyes. He will have to make due without Schuss around, but I don’t think that will hurt his statistics at all. He earned a lot of goals by cutting through the middle and always has hid head up to spot the open man. Sixty points as a sophomore will increase during his junior campaign. The Buckeye’s might have found a gem in King.
6) Kyle Jackson – Michigan – M
Michigan took a lot of lumps in their first year of competition. I saw their game against Hopkins and one thing certainly stood out: the play of Kyle Jackson. He is a shifty midfielder that knows how to get free to shoot. Given the growing pains of being a first year program, the fact that he put up 26 points is pretty amazing. He is smooth and he earned every point that he got. Michigan got a winner and the hope is that as the pieces evolve around him, Jackson will be the foundation for success with the program.
7) TJ Sanders – PSU – A
Sanders came out of nowhere to put up 48 points as a freshman. Looking at his output, he was pretty consistent throughout the season. If Penn State can create a little more up tempo style, or increase transition opportunities, his numbers should increase. Not to say that 44 goals is bad production by any means. He finished a lot more than he assisted, so he has room to grow in Tambroni’s system. Sanders thrived off of CAA opposition. If he can round out his production to a more balanced game, he could be the foundation for PSU’s point production for the next few years.
8) Jeremy Noble – Denver – M
Noble is on this list for one reason: I am predicting that 2013 was a bump in the road for production and that he will return to his 20 goal / 20 assist production in 2014. His freshman and sophomore seasons were great in terms of production. Noble was a player that teams had to account for as soon as he walked onto the field. This past season, he played in the shadows for the most part. Noble started off hot, but disappeared in the middle of the season, only to put up a few points at the very end. Not that 18 points is poor production, but its not the level that Noble has shown or can produce. He has to be ready for 2014 to get here to get back to his usual form.
9) Sean Young – Syracuse – D –
Quiet in terms of drawing attention on the field, but logged solid minutes for the Orange on their way to the National Championship game. He plays inside out, so he is tough and is always in the hands of his opposition. With Megill graduated, Young will have to take a bigger role in next years defense. Maybe you can liken his game to that of Billy St. George.
10) Chad Tutton – UNC – M
Tutton was shut out during only one contest in 2013, which was against Notre Dame. As a midfielder that is unbelievable consistency. After seeing a few of his games, Tutton knows how to get to the cage and finish. His second game against Duke showed his potential to take over a game after scoring a lone goal in their first meeting. The big lefty causes defenses to collapse quickly, and if they do not they will be fishing the ball out of the back of the net. 48 goals in his first two years in Chapel Hill is impressive. Not many midfielders reach that point for their whole careers. The continued influx of talent in Chapel Hill will enable Tutton to continue to see one on one defenses, which he will find nothing but success against.