There’s a lot of Kiel Matisz to go around and he’s more than willing. The National Lacrosse League’s Minnesota Swarm. Major League Lacrosse’s Ohio Machine. And Major Series Lacrosse’s Brooklin Redmen. But no matter where he’s playing, he’s bringing all 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds of him right at you and given the skill that he’s already displaying, the thought of him getting even better as he grows older is a scary thought. For opponents, anyway. For now, the Swarm, Machine and Redmen are all loving the fact that he’s on their side and they’re all learning they can count on the big guy to be more than just a big body: He’s a potent contributor on offense and that’s largely what pushed him into ILIndoor’s Top 50 list for the first time.
Last year in Minnesota, Matisz filled some roles depleted by injuries so he didn’t get his chance to work up front until later in the season. He played all 16 regular season games and finished with 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) — 4th on the team — and 70 loosies, numbers that earned him a spot on the NLL’s All-Rookie team. He was runner-up in voting for Rookie of the Year.
He split his summer between Brooklin of MSL and the MLL’s Ohio Machine. His 50 points (21-29) ranked 3rd for Brooklin, a team he helped lead to the MSL finals before it was dismissed by Six Nations. On the field, he contributed 18 points (14-4) in 10 games for the Ohio Machine.
What this all adds up to is an impressive display of versatility and hunger. Put him in a role, any role, and he’ll not only get it done, but he’ll get it done well. He moves well with and without the ball. He’ll drop back on D and even if he’s not a pure stopper, he’ll at least make you work for the time and space you want. And if you put him up front to produce some offense, he’s got the size and skill to be a potent weapon.
And that’s why it’s so scary to think of what’s in front of him. We know what he can already do. So what’s he going to do with a few more years of experience and learning under his belt?
“He’s huge and uses his size to his advantage. Matisz can carry the ball, draw and dish, drive hard to the net and finish, or even go back and play defence if you need him to. He needs to develop more consistency to climb this list, but he has the skill set and drive to become a cornerstone player.” – Stephen Stamp
“You know Matisz is big. He knows he’s big. And there’s not a thing you can do about it. Because it’s not just big that gets him to where he wants to be, it’s skill and IQ. Matisz has a great sense for the game that gets him to the right place at the right times. With the experience he’ll gain in the years to come, there’s no reason he can’t become one of the game’s elite.” – Bob Chavez
“Matisz is a big talented man and his offensive numbers showed that Minnesota got just what it was looking for when it drafted him. Matisz actually started last season as a defenseman, which makes those numbers even more appealing. No question the playing time out of the shoot gave Kiel the confidence he needed to get his NLL legs under him. With a healthy playoffs under his belt and a successful summer season, look for Matisz to add to his numbers in 2014.” – Marty O’Neill
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