ILIndoor fan poll: NLL’s Unsung Hero?

Aaron Wilson will bring his very quiet but very effective game to the Buffalo offense in 2013. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Aaron Wilson will bring his very quiet but very effective game to the Buffalo offense in 2013. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

It’s kinda weird how the whole Unsung Hero scenario unfolds. On the one hand, you’re recognizing a player for his contributions to a game that often go unnoticed. Then again, the guy who fills that role well enough is often the guy who doesn’t care about being recognized for it. He just wants to win. See the circle of irony there? You’ll never catch that tail, but we’re going to go ahead vote anyway, offering you the opportunity to vote from a list of candidates for who best fulfills the role of Unsung Hero in the National Lacrosse League. Take a gander among the listed picks and if you don’t like what you see, start a thread. But first, a look.

In Buffalo is Aaron Wilson, a forward, and defenders Derek Suddons and Scott Self. Both Wilson and Suddons are new to the team this year, but Self’s been in Bandit Land for a few seasons now. And if you’ve seen any Bandits games, you’ve seen how fired up and emotional Self can be. He’s clearly passionate about winning and isn’t afraid to speak his mind if things aren’t going as planned. But he walks the walk as well, mucking it up with anyone who gets in his way.

Wilson and Suddons haven’t had the chance to show their wares in Buffalo, but their styles are similar in that they’re not flashy but they are effective. They don’t say much, but their actions do speak much louder than anything they might say. Wilson, for years, has been one of the game’s best table setters, while Suddons has been a consistent and quality force out of the back end.

Scott Ranger in Calgary has been one of the team’s most potent and reliable scoring options over the last few seasons, but his work is often overshadowed by teammates with bigger and flashier numbers. Ranger toils on, though, with nary a sound. The kid just wants to play. Ilija Gajic redefined his role in Colorado, putting his offense in the backseat to emerge as a faceoff man for the Mammoth. You think it’s easy putting the glory of scoring goals — in front of 15,000 in Colorado — behind you?

Kevin Ross was a big part of Minnesota’s success last year as younger teammates stole the headlines; will he do the same now that he’s in Philadelphia? Tyler Burton doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his role in the Knighthawks winning last year’s Champion’s Cup and Colorado’s Jon Sullivan has been a solid addition to the growing effectiveness of the defensive unit in Colorado.

Kasey Beirnes in Toronto accepts his status in Toronto behind the superstar names in Doyle, Billings, Sanderson and Leblanc and doesn’t let it interfere with his steady production, while Dean Hill in Washington really should get more credit than he does for the work he does. He started slowly last year, but when he’s on his game, the soft-spoken big man does much to help clear lanes and attract defenders to keep teammates away from the double teams.

So there’s your primer. Where’s your vote?

Who gets your vote as Unsung Hero of the NLL?

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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.

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