The $64,000 question with elite prospect Dhane Smith is, what position will he play? And the answer is…drumroll, please…no one’s really sure. “I haven’t really asked, to be honest. I keep meaning to and I just forget about it,” Smith told IL Indoor with a chuckle. “I think I’m playing transition but I’m not even too sure. They kind of mentioned maybe putting me on ball team (faceoff) and maybe power play and penalty kill, but other than that they haven’t really told me where I’m going to be playing.” Surely assistant coach Rich Kilgour, who handles the defensive end for the Buffalo Bandits, knows what the team intends to do with their first pick, fifth overall in this year’s draft. So what’s the story, Rich? “We’re really wide open to what we’re going to try to do with him cause he can do anything,” Kilgour responds.
“In the rookie camp he just dominated offensively, he had a couple of nice runs in transition and he’s a big body and I’m pretty sure he can do anything out the D door. With him being young, there is really a chance we could use him almost anywhere.”
Ah, the dilemma created by drafting a multi-talented, uber-athletic young player. Perhaps Smith’s preferences will come into play. Surely he’s told the coaches what he’d like to do, right? Not so much. “I think his greatest thing is right now he’s 20 years old and can run like a deer,” Kilgour added. “Chugger [GM of Buffalo and Kitchener-Waterloo Steve Dietrich] used him out the D door in the summertime so he’s got a little taste of that. He led Junior A in scoring so he can do that. He seemed to have a great attitude, so I think if we told him he was going in net he’d say, ‘Sure, whatever you want, coach.’”
In fact, Smith did make it clear to IL Indoor that he’ll do whatever the Bandits want him to. He’s just excited to get to main camp this weekend for a variety of reasons. Chief among them? “Pretty much just meeting all the guys. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was little so it’s a pretty exciting thing to do. I’m hoping to meet Tavares and all that,” Smith says. Of course, he has to make sure to go in ready to work and not just stare around all star-struck.
He’s ready for that, too. “I know I have to battle for a spot, whether it’s with any of the top players it’s still my career too. It’s going to be good off-floor I’m going to get to meet them but on-floor it’s going to be totally different.”
Smith will be heading to camp already having had a taste of the coaching of the legendarily irascible Daris Kilgour, Buffalo’s head man. “It was good. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, actually, so far,” Smith admitted. “I’d kind of heard things, he’s a yeller and what not. So I kind of prepared myself. It wasn’t that bad for rookie camp at least.”
There was no question that Daris was watching, though. “As soon as I stepped on the floor he told me he’s gonna be watching me to see whether I walk, jog or run, so he was keeping an eye on me pretty closely,” Smith said.
As Rich Kilgour says, though, it’s still fairly wide open where Smith will be used, although he did acknowledge that they had an idea. “We are definitely leaning towards the transition role because the boy can run like a deer, he creates opportunities for himself just by running up and down the floor. I think that’s where we’re mostly looking for him to go. But with the season we had last year he could really wind up anywhere on the floor.”
Wherever he winds up, the coaches won’t be the only ones keeping a close eye on Dhane Smith. The lacrosse world will be watching to see the rookie’s impact in Banditland.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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