Kevin Crowley didn’t exactly sneak up on the National Lacrosse League, even though he was a rookie. Then again, he wasn’t exactly a rookie. By definition, maybe. By poise and effectiveness? Hardly. The 6-foot-4 right-hander out of New Westminster, B.C., had made plenty of NCAA headlines as an attackman at Stony Brook, but field skills don’t always translate to box skills. No worries. How does 4-plus season of Junior A and portions of 2 Senior A seasons with the New Westminster Salmonbellies sound? His skills there, along with his NCAA feats, helped make him the No. 1 overall entry draft pick for the NLL in 2012 and he did not disappoint.
He came into Philadelphia riding a wave of momentum. He scored 24 points in 6 regular-season games with the 2011 ‘Bellies, then led all WLA playoff scorers with 39 points in 10 games. All this while scoring 20 points in 10 MLL games for the Hamilton Nationals of Major League Lacrosse. So by the time he arrived in Philly to suit up for the Wings, his wheels were greased, and it showed.
He debuted with a 7-point game for the Wings and went on to score 5 or more points in 7 of his 16 regular-season games. He finished the season with 81 points (being named Rookie of the Week 3 times) and his 36 goals were tied for the team lead. But more important than the personal numbers is the fact that he was a big part of the Wings’ resurgence and the team qualified for the NLL playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Wings lost in the first round, but Crowley dropped 7 points on the Knighthawks in that loss.
What it comes down to is this: the kid is legit. He’s got the frame to create his own space and the confidence to shoot. Even more, he moves well without the ball to either create a distraction and pull defenders away, which creates room for teammates, or gets himself into position to finish on his own. Either way, Crowley’s got a big career in front of him and fans in Philadelphia, Hamilton and New Westminster are eager to see more.
Fact: In 16 combined regular season games over the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the New Westminster Salmonbellies are 13-3 when Crowley is in the lineup.
No. 40: Jeff GilbertChavez 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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