A lot of people won’t read past the headline because if there’s a polarizing figure in the world of box lacrosse today, it’s Paul Rabil. Bad shooter, overrated, field player, they say. Problem is, the best part of Rabil’s game doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. Heart and hustle. Rabil’s got a ton of it and when it’s coming at you in a 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame, you’re gonna feel it. In a world of instant gratification, the impact that Rabil has had, and can have down the road, often is lost in the shuffle. That’s a real shame because there is no doubt that Paul Rabil can help your indoor lacrosse team and where he does that this winter — if he does it all — remains to be seen.
Rabil’s combination of size and speed obviously plays well in the field game. As a midfielder, he’s got a dodge that eats up defenders. This summer, he led Major League Lacrosse with an astounding 72 points in 14 games – 14 points ahead of No. 2 — to break the league’s single-season scoring record. It added up him being named the MLL Offensive Player of the Year for the third time in 4 seasons.
Last winter was a bit of a roller coaster ride for Rabil, though. He began his fourth season with the Washington Stealth and had a respectable 15 points in 5 games, along with 27 loose balls. But his request for a trade closer to home back East was acknowledged, sort of. A February trade landed him in Edmonton, but Rabil never reported so his fourth season ended as a holdout and today, he’s a member of the Rochester Knighthawks after another trade. Whether he plays this season remains to be seen but this much is obvious: He’s a coveted asset in the NLL.
Teams like Edmonton and Rochester – the 2 NLL finalists last year – aren’t going to trade for him if they didn’t believe in his potential. He does a lot of things so well already. He moves the ball quickly in transition and protects it well. He breaks down a defense with the attention he draws. He’s not going to be intimidated, whether he’s attacking or defending. And the scary thing is, he’s not done learning.
He’s a coachable player and once he polishes his shot and learns how to do more effective work off the ball in the tighter spaces inside, Rabil could easily turn himself into one of the most lethal forces of the indoor game.
Fact: Since 2005, his first season at Johns Hopkins, Rabil has played in 6 championship games and won 4 with NCAA titles in 2005 and 2007, an NLL title with Washington in 2010 and an MLL title with Boston in 2011. His teams lost in the 2008 NCAA final and the 2011 NLL final.
Top 40 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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