Ranking the NLL’s first-round draft classes: Class of ‘98 has a bit of everything at No. 7

Goalie Matt Disher and his old-school lid help push the draft Class of 1998 toward the top. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Goalie Matt Disher and his old-school lid help push the draft Class of 1998 toward the top. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Big names, big games. The Class of 1998 has ‘em both. Casey Powell. Kaleb Toth. Chris Sanderson. And that’s just getting started, with 3 of the 7 picks that made up this round of talent that very nearly put this group in the Top 5. For sure, these fellas have every aspect of the game represented, and represented well. Goals, saves, faceoffs and defense. It’s all there for the Class of 1998 and some of these guys aren’t done yet. But by the time it’s all said and done, we could be looking at one of the most effective and most balanced classes ever drafted into the National Lacrosse League. You’d think with Powell going at No. 1, it’d be downhill from there for the rest of the round, but that is hardly the case. See for youself, after the jump.

1998 first-round draft picks

1. Casey Powell (Knighthawks)
2. Kaleb Toth (Rock)
3. Rory Graham (Rock)
4. Chris Sanderson (Thunder)
5. Brad MacArthur (Knighthawks)
6. Jamie Hanford (Wings)
7. Matt Disher (Bandits)

Regular season statistics

Games: 905
Goals: 626 (89.4 average per player)
Assists: 784 (112.0)
Points: 1,410 (201.4) (ranks No. 9 and No. 5 out of 24 classes)

Playoffs

Games: 69
Goals: 66 (9.4)
Assists: 76 (10.9)
Points: 142 (20.3) (No. 7 and No. 2)

Overall ranking: 7

The Class of 1998 has just 7 picks, but a couple of the names are legendary. Casey Powell was the top overall pick coming out of Syracuse and to say he struggled early is not accurate. Dude has always played with a ton of heart and the fact of the matter was, he just didn’t know the indoor game early on.

Maybe that played into his decision to take a short break from the game but when he came back, he was on and his progress in the indoor game was very apparent. It led to him being named MVP after the 2010 season and is the first American to win the award. He missed last season as he recovered from an injury and apparently is ready to return for the 2013 season, with the Rochester Knighthawks.

Kaleb Toth, of course, scored THAT goal in the final seconds for the Rock to win the 2000 NLL championship and he’s been a steady offensive option for the large part of his career until he saw his playing time begin to diminish this past season in Calgary. Sanderson, known more for his prowess as a goalie in the field game than in the NLL, passed away from cancer earlier this year but his impact on the game as a player and coach will forever be honored and cherished. Another goalie in this class, Disher, was as classy as pro athletes come, jumping between the pipes to do his job and rarely complaining.

Hanford was a tremendous D man and MacArthur played for a few teams in his 7-year career, making a name for himself as one of the game’s most effective drawmen. There’s no doubt this class belongs in the Top 10, so the No. 7 slot fits them quite well with big points coming from their playoff scoring average as a group, which ranks them No. 2 overall among all the 24 draft classes.

Previous classes

No. 24: Class of 1988
No. 23: Class of 1989
No. 22: Class of 1993
No. 21: Class of 1994
No. 20: Class of 1995
No. 19: Class of 1997
No. 18: Class of 1992
No. 17: Class of 1996
No. 16: Class of 1991
No. 15: Class of 2011
No. 14: Class of 2010
No. 13: Class of 2004
No. 12: Class of 2008
No. 11: Class of 2007
No. 10: Class of 2009
No. 9: Class of 2006
No. 8: Class of 2002

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.

Rate This Story:

Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (0 rating, 2 votes)
Loading ... Loading ...