Ethan O’Connor was named the Rookie of the Year in Major Series Lacrosse. Among the stiff competition he faced for that award was Jason Noble. That fact alone gives you a pretty good idea of just how good O’Connor is and why he’s likely to be selected with one of the early picks in this year’s National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. While Noble only played 11 games with the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and that worked against his chances of winning the rookie award, O’Connor was a worthy recipient based on his body of work during the summer. The righty transition player started out playing pretty well for the Brampton Excelsiors and improved throughout the 18 games he played.
He proved to be a sound defender who is up to the challenge of facing some of the top offensive players in the world. He seldom appeared to be neglecting his defensive duties in favour of leaking out up the floor for transition opportunities. But when opportunities arose, he was ready to jump at them. O’Connor was often the first player breaking out of his zone when the Excelsiors had a shot at a loose ball or rebound and is adept at finding open space to accept a pass.
His speed is a definite asset, as is his ability to finish. O’Connor wound up tied for fifth on Brampton in goals. Admittedly, that was for an offensively-challenged team (Brampton finished fifth in the six-team league with just 146 goals in 20 games), but that underscores the importance of his contributions in the offensive zone. O’Connor totalled 9 goals and 7 assists for 16 points. He also showed an improving ability in the faceoff circle and was an effective penalty killer while taking only six minutes in penalties himself throughout the season.
With only nine teams in the National Lacrosse League, rosters almost surely being reduced in size for 2014 and so many players competing for jobs, it’s going to be hard for any new player to earn a spot in the lineup. O’Connor has the tools to play in the league and looks like he’s ready to step in and contribute right away.
From: Milton, Ontario
Junior A: Burlington Chiefs
Senior A: Brampton Excelsiors
What do you feel your greatest asset is that would allow you to translate your game to the NLL? My greatest asset is my ability to be coached and learn from those around me so as to avoid making the same mistake twice.
One word to describe your game? Intelligent
What role/position do you see yourself playing in the NLL? I see myself playing within a transition role. Going out the back door, getting stops and then pushing the ball up the floor for either a scoring opportunity or safely passing it off to the offence.
What current or former NLLer would you most closely compare or model your game after? I was lucky to play with and learn from some great defenders this past summer with the Excelsiors, however growing up I always looked up to and tried to model my game after Steve Toll.
Your greatest accomplishment during your lacrosse career? Winning the 2010 Founders Cup with the Halton Hills Bulldogs.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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