ILIndoor Top 35: Garrett Billings #29

Garrett Billings arrived 2 seasons ago and the Rock have played in 2 title games. Coincidence? (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Garrett Billings arrived 2 seasons ago and the Rock have played in 2 title games. Coincidence? (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Garrett Billings could have been National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year in 2010. But teammate Stephan Leblanc got in the way. No big, though, right? It’s all about winning and since Billings burst on to the scene with the Rock in 2010, with Leblanc, that’s pretty much all the Rock has done. Billings played a big role in Toronto’s run to the 2010 title game, where they lost. And he played an equally big role in the run to the 2011 title game, where they won. So after scoring 83 points as a rookie, one more than Leblanc, Billings responded with a 75-point effort in 2011 and if he’s anything, he’s consistent.

He’s missed just 1 NLL game in his 2 seasons and with 64 goals in the regular season, the Rock have learned they can count on him for about 2 goals per game. Same with the playoffs, where he has 13 goals in 6 games.

Billings brought quite the resume to the NLL. The right-hander out of Langley, B.C., walked softly, talked even more softly, and carried a big stick. He was a leader for the University of Virginia but even before that, he scored at a frenetic and solid pace for the BCJALL Burnaby Lakers, helping them win the 2005 Minto Cup with 104 points in the regular season and 26 points in the BCJALL postseason. He led the 2010 WLA Langley Thunder with 63 points in 13 games, then stayed in Ontario this past summer, where he continued his work with Leblanc with Six Nations of MSL. Billings was second on the team with 54 points in 20 regular-season games, 4 points behind team leader, you guessed it, Leblanc.

Billings says his transition into the NLL was helped by the fact that he didn’t start there until he was finished with college and was 23 when he first reported to the Rock. Maturity and experience certainly do help in the NLL, which is hardly a kids’ league. He’s established himself as a man the Rock can count on and working with the cast he’s got in Toronto, it’s easy enough to see how he’s well on his way to cementing his status as one of the game’s greats.

Top 35 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)

No. 35 (32): Mike Thompson
No. 34 (20): Jeff Zywicki
No. 33 (41): Shawn Evans
No. 32 (29): Blaine Manning
No. 31 (nr): Mike Carnegie
No. 30 (42): Paul Rabil

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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