The skill of Jesse Gamble has never been doubted. He just needed the right time and the right space to display it and by all accounts, the 2013 season was it. Giving the National Lacrosse League’s Toronto Rock some real pace out of the back end, Gamble broke through as one of the best transition men in the game last winter and his efforts did not go unnoticed. He was a second-team All-Pro in the NLL and was runner-up in the Transition Player of the Year voting. The 2011 draft pick led the Rock with 108 loose balls and showed he had a nose for the net, finishing the NLL season with 15 points (9 goals, 6 assists). And although his NLL season ended before he would have liked, the end of his summer season with the Six Nations Chiefs was a dream come true.
Gamble dropped 15 points (6-9) in 12 summer games for Six Nations before the playoffs kicked in. He was a force in transition for the Chiefs and while his 11 points (6-5) in 9 MSL playoff games aren’t to be discounted, it’s not what he was there for. Teams that have Gamble on their roster have him there to get the ball moving out of the danger zone and just like he did for the Rock, he did that for the Chiefs with impressive regularity.
Upon arrival at the Mann Cup in Victoria, Gamble’s speed and nose for the break helped the Chiefs counter Victoria’s strong transition and the result was a Mann Cup title for Six Nations. There were plenty of moving and effective parts that made the Mann possible for Six Nations, but Gamble and others like him filled a role that’s often overlooked, but no less important than scoring goals or stopping them.
And that’s what pushed Gamble into the Top 50 in 2013.
“Jesse Gamble burst on to the scene in 2013 as a full-time member of the Toronto Rock defense. It doesn’t end there as he also established himself as their top draw team threat. Some mandown time gave this guy lots of responsibilities, proving many scouts wrong who surely overlooked him in the draft because of his lack of size. Already an experienced Mann Cup champion, Gamble’s determination should take him to another level this year.” – Marty O’Neill
“As fun as it is to watch the goal-scorers and the acrobatic saves, I really, really love to watch the transition game unfold and Gamble brought that dimension to an exciting new level for the Rock last year. It can be such a dangerous weapon and catch opponents off-guard and there are few other moments at lacrosse games where you literally hold your breath as the play unfolds.” – Bob Chavez
“Not sure how we wound up with Gamble this low in the list. He’s blazing fast and a danger to pick off a pass or scoop a loose ball and go the length of the floor to score any time. He’s also developed into a consistently sound defender who overcomes his lack of height with strength and footwork.” – Stephen Stamp
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