With the National Lacrosse League entry draft next Monday, it’s time to roll out IL Indoor’s annual Top Prospects list. As always, this is not a list of the order in which we believe the draft will unfold. Team needs and geography play too large of a roll, especially when players are similar in potential but one lives closer to a team than the other. Proximity also determines how familiar teams may be with players, and that can be a huge consideration as well–the more you get to watch someone play the better idea you have of whether he fits your club.
This year we’ll break the list down into five sections, beginning with the final 10 of our prospects list. This group includes a pair of goalies, four lefty forwards and four Americans. The latter are always a tricky call for teams deciding when to select them. Many are just too talented to leave out of the list at all but how can you tell which players will be able to make the adjustment to the box game?
Without further ado, here are our 41st to 50th prospects for 2012.
41 – Jordie Daradick – LF/T Okotoks Raiders (RMJLL), St. Catharines Athletics (OLA Jr A)
A small (5′8”, 170lb) but talented lefty, Daradick put up 66 points for the As in 2011 and followed that up with 52 this summer before becoming part of the St. Catharines trade-deadline exodus. But rather than wind up with an OLA contender, he headed out west where he got into six regular season and eight playoff games with Okotoks. He’s basically a 3-point-per-game scorer who won’t take a lot of penalties and is happy to share the ball. He’s unlikely to crack a roster in the nine-team NLL, but those attributes make him a candidate to get a look from a team needing a complementary player.
42 – Wenster Green – LT Six Nations Arrows (OLA Jr A)
Green won’t even turn 19 till December, so drafting him would be a bit of a flyer for a pro team. In his two seasons with the Arrows, though, he showed flashes that suggest he’ll become an effective player as he matures. Green is solid in the defensive zone and doesn’t hesitate to throw his weight around. He also fits in well with the Arrows’ predilection for a running game. He’s comfortable taking off up the floor and handles the ball well. He’s the kind of player for whom CLax is perfectly suited. It will give him a chance to develop physically and learn what it’s like to play a fast-paced game against men.
43 – Sam Bradman – RT Salisbury University (NCAA Div 3)
Named the best player in Division 3 by the US Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, Bradman is a huge talent who scored 201 goals in college field lacrosse, including 71 his senior year. So he can handle a stick. As usual for college players, the big question is can he handle playing in a small space against big men who hold ill intent for him. The willowy (6′, 160lb) midfielder would appear to be well served spending some time in one or more of the alphabet stew of indoor leagues cropping up in the States. There he’ll get a chance to acclimatize to playing on the rug without having the likes of Rory Smith waiting to snap him in half.
44 – Steele Stanwick – LF University of Virginia (NCAA Div 1)
Stanwick is hugely popular with field lacrosse fans, he looks like an All-American guy and he plays like one as well—he was twice named to the first team and won the Tewaarton Award as top player in the country as a junior in 2011. He also sounds like a great guy, active in the community and generous with his time. The cold reality is that none of that matters as much as that he’s a field guy trying to make it in box lacrosse and that is getting harder and harder to do with nine teams in the NLL and a ton of strong Canadian junior players graduating every year. That’s not to say he can’t make it in the NLL. It’ll just be nigh on impossible for him to make the jump directly, which means teams are unlikely to spend a high draft pick on him.
45 – Lukas Coote – LG Whitby Warriors, Brampton Excelsiors, Mississauga Tomahawks (OLA Jr A)
Coote shared the Melville Award for fewest goals allowed in the Ontario Junior loop this summer with Alexis Buque. The Warriors acquired him before the season to fill in while Buque was away at school and Coote did an excellent job for them. He finished fourth in the league in goals against average and sixth in save percentage. The 6′2”, 175-pounder uses his big frame to his advantage, blocking the goal well and playing solid angles, and he can also move reasonably well. With the recent influx of young goalies into the NLL, it’ll be tough for this year’s draft crop to grab spots, but Coote has the ability to at least challenge for the next level.
46 – Bryan Neufeld – LF Brampton Excelsiors, Ajax Rock (MSL), St. Catharines Athletics (OLA Jr A), Siena College (NCAA Div 1)
Finished fifth in Ontario Jr A scoring in 2010 with 33 goals and 60 assists for 93 points. Neufeld has yet to make a big impact at the senior level yet, but he’s a useful mid-sized player who can step in and fill a role. Neufeld was extraordinarily consistent in college, scoring between 37 and 41 goals each of his four years at Siena.
47 – Simon Giourmetakis – LF Maple Ridge Burrards (WLA) Edmonton Outlaws (Rocky Mountain Sr B), Coquitlam Adanacs (BCJALL), Edmonton Eclipse (Rocky Mountain Jr A), Canisius College (NCAA Div 1)
The leading scorer in the Rocky Mountain league in 2009, Giourmetakis won a Minto Cup with Coquitlam the following summer. He has consistently scored well when playing in Alberta but hasn’t shown he can play at the same level when he gets to British Columbia. Lefty forwards are in demand,though, and he may get a sniff from one of the Alberta teams. He has decent size and at 23 has already made the transition to playing against men.
48 – Ryan Serville – RF Whitby Warriors, Akwesasne Indians (OLA Junior A)
Lit it up in Jr B, scoring 182 points in 39 games with the Clarington Green Gaels. He’s north of six feet and 200 pounds but doesn’t play the kind of physical game his big body would suggest could be his forte. Won a Minto Cup with the Warriors and stepped up to play some big games for them this summer. A team may well look at his size and potential and spend a fairly early pick on him, and they just may get a steal.
49 – Michael Manley – RD Duke University (NCAA Div 1)
A 6′1”, 205-pound defender who has excelled throughout his career with the Blue Devils and has a championship pedigree from their title in 2010. He has also shown he can deal with adversity, rebounding from an injury that cost him the entire 2011 season to come back and earn All-American honours again. His MLL assistant GM says he’s a natural leader who knows how to play indoors as well, so he’s definitely worth a shot with a later pick.
50 – Connor Danko – RG Peterborough Lakers, St. Catharines Athletics (OLA Jr A)
Danko is a small man playing a big man’s position. He did a very good job for the Lakers after they acquired him to be their starting goalie with the graduation of Tyler Belanger, who left big shoes to fill as the reigning Canadian Jr Goalie of the Year. Danko had some excellent games for Peterborough and finished fourth in the league in save percentage and seventh in goals against average. He struggled a bit in the playoffs, especially against a Six Nations Arrows club that took advantage of his tendency to drop down on shots and leave open space over his shoulders. If he can fix that ongoing issue without impeding his impressive athleticism, Danko could turn out to be a solid goalie. He’s also a strong character player and a positive in the dressing room.
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