Actions speak louder than words, and Shayne Jackson is a great example of that. Much was said of this year’s National Lacrosse League draft and the immense size – 6-foot-6, 6-5 and 6-4 – for some of the players. Yet at 5-9, Jackson wasn’t in that discussion. But that doesn’t make him any less of a player because the Minnesota Swarm made him the No. 4 overall draft pick (the team’s No. 3 overall) in the September entry draft, and Jackson has plenty of action to replace the lack of words about his size. “I’m expecting to contribute hard work and whatever it takes to win a championship,” Jackson says.
Of course, that’s what you expect a draft pick to say. But that’s not just talk from Jackson. He’s got the numbers to back it up and those numbers speak for themselves, so he doesn’t really have to say much, if anything at all.
On the field at Limestone College, the left-hander out of Bownmanville, Ont., was the Division II Player of the Year in 2012 and a first-team All-American. Before that, he was the JUCO Player of the Year at Onondaga Community College and 2-time national champ. He won a Minto Cup in 2011 with Whitby and this past summer got his first taste of senior ball with the Langley Thunder. There, he played a solid role (38 points in 14 games) in helping the Thunder advance to the Mann Cup finals.
But now he’s got a new challenge in front of him, and that’s adapting to the NLL.
“Summer ball, there’s more clutching and grabbing,” he said. “The NLL is more open and they can’t really grab you as much or they’ll be penalized. So as an offensive guy, it’s a lot nicer.”
Praised for his poise and leadership, Jackson should be more than ready for the pressure of NLL arenas. Langley coach Rod Jensen told ILIndoor earlier this year that what Jackson lacks in physical tools he makes up for in skill and ability.
But Jackson, the No. 1 pick in last year’s MSL draft whose rights were transferred from Ajax to Langley, is not one to coast and won’t settle for just a passing grade. He wants to excel and even though he’s had some training camp sessions and a scrimmage to get acclimated, he’s counting on the advice of others to help the process.
“They’ve been great,” Jackson said of Swarm veterans Ryan Benesch and Callum Crawford. “They’re both great guys and that makes it easier. I’m just trying to aodk in whatever they’re telling and showing me. From Day 1, it’s been a family atmosphere.”
The NLL game may be a bit different than what’s played in Ontario or out West, but Jackson says the Swarm want him to keep it simple when he pulls the blue and gold sweater on.
“They just told me to play like I have been playing,” he said. “That’s the reason they drafted me.”
And should the Swarm happen to be hoisting the Champion’s Cup high come next May, that’ll be the other reason they drafted him.
Twitter handle: twitter.com/ShayneJackson32
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