Disclaimer: This article contains minimal hyperbole.
The 2011 draft is the most important draft in the last five years of the league. It may be the most important draft in the history of the league. As such, you are reading the most important primer. Also, it is important to note that as much as I suck at predicting games (and boy do I SUCK at that); I am unmatched in my ability to identify MLL talent.
The draft order is still being determined for 2011, due to possible expansion teams and ret-conned transactions. However, if new teams were to come into the league, the order of the first round of the collegiate draft would be: [Hypothetical Expansion Team 1 and 2] Toronto, Whatever the Machine will become, Denver, Boston, Long Island, Chesapeake. That order will hold throughout each round unless there are trades, and the order itself is based on this year’s finish.
Similarly, the order in which I present the class of 2011 will also vary according to their finish. This is not a definitive ranking so much as it is a collection of what I believe to be the players ready to contribute to MLL teams right now. Save the hate mail/comments. I’m HELPING you. Now read, monkey, read!
Joel White LSM, Syracuse University
Plays like: Brodie Merrill
An absolutely devastating LSM for the past two years, Joel White not only plays like Brodie Merrill; he is the NEXT Brodie Merrill. He’s fast, he’s strong and he has filthier handles than a sexed up Harley Davidson. If White has a better season than he had last year (he should – he has improved every year for the Orange) then he will be the #1 pick. Elite, shut down and takeaway longpoles are rare – a guy that can be all of those things at once can change the destiny of a franchise.
Billy Bitter A, UNC
Plays like: Mike Watson
Reckless. Kid just plays recklessly. That’s why people love him. His ability to get free of his defender and go right to cage is what makes him one of the best attackmen in the game. He took a beating last year, and so did his stats – 71 points sophomore year; 44 as a junior – but he’s the guy every team wants. Bitter flies around the offensive zone like a surface to air missile – it will be scary to see what he can do with the dive shot in the MLL. Also, I miss Mike Watson and Bitter reminds me of him. I hear he shills water that’s wet now.
Kevin Crowley M, Stony Brook
Plays like: Stephen Berger
Oh, yah, sure – he’s Canadian. But he’s also one of the most viable Canadian midfielders of his generation. That’s really not as grandiose as it sounds, but it’s impressive nonetheless. He’s already played against MLL level competition at the 2010 World Games. In fact he had a goal in both of the USA/Canada games, the first of which gave Canada the lead back in the third quarter. He’s a physical specimen and will develop into a complete player under Rick Sowell this year at the Brook. But unlike Berger, he won’t be the last guy picked in the draft. BOOM! ROASTED!
Shamel Bratton M, UVA
Plays like: Flashy like a Powell, runs like Josh Sims (back in the day)
Yes, the Bratton brothers will be MLL bound after this season. It feels like only yesterday we were all watching youtube clips of their high school games and wondering what kind of impact they will have on the NCAA lacrosse scene. Well, not to be a downer, but both the Bratton bros are good players. They’re not world beaters – but they have world beating confidence and will try anything on the field. In the NCAA that drives coaches crazy – in the MLL it will drive fans crazy. Shamel is more polished offensively (42 points in 2010: 24 goals and 17 assists) and will step onto the first line of any MLL team out of the gate.
Jay Card A, Hofstra
Plays like: Jeff Zywicki
Another sneaky Canadian. It’s like they have a factory up there in the cold north that produces lacrosse players with snake DNA. If you turn the sound down on your TV and watch Hofstra games you can almost feel Card slither to net right before he scores a goal. If this were 2005 I’d make a Harry Potter joke, but its NOT 2005 and now we know that Harry Potter sucks. Get over it. Let me get this straight – the most powerful and popular “wizard” of all time ends up with a ginger? Are you kidding me? Maybe he can wizard her some personality to go with her devil locks. What was I saying? Oh, yeah Jay Card. Watch him lead the NCAA in points. Lock it in. He’s that good.
John Galloway G, Syracuse
Plays like: Mickey Jarboe
Simply put: the best goalie prospect to come out in the last five years. With new teams coming into the league and nearly every team keeping an aging keeper on their roster he’s a lock for the first round. I mean, assuming he doesn’t go out in the first round to Army again. That was crazy. I watched that game, and Galloway should not shoulder any of the blame for the loss. The offense squandered opportunities left, right, center, and diagonally. It was an inept game of Connect 4 to see who could suck the most on Cuse’s attack. Galloway is rare in that he does not have any weaknesses. He’s not even afflicted by the dreaded addiction to cakes and pies that eventually does in every keeper. Word is the Roch are coming back and this is the cornerstone that they need.
Rhamel Bratton M, UVA
Plays like: Flashy, but strong like the middle Powell, all around midfield presence like A.J Haugen (also back in the day)
The difference between Rhamel and Shamel is that Rhamel plays with a chip on his shoulder. And he plays better defense if only because early in his UVA career that’s where he got his time. He’s a little stronger than Shamel and when you’re meaner and stronger than your brother chances are you’re going to bring the pain on the field. Ask my brother. I used to tie him to the goal and rip shots at him even though he’s 6’ 2’’ 220lbs. I’m just that much meaner. So is Rhamel.
Brian Farrell D, Maryland
Plays like: Nick Polanco
Okay, maybe he’s not as fast as Polanco once was, but he’s certainly as dynamic and definitely just as deadly with his checks. Farrell, like every D-man, thinks he’s a midfielder with a big stick and will run the ball up the field if he gets a chance, which is good because that’s the first box you check when you scout poles for the MLL. Hey, what’s Black and White and Red all over? A newspaper, you idiot. What do you think this is? Bad metaphor hour? Farrell is an absolute beast – if you thought Diogo Godoi was big you should probably watch Farrell at some point next year. He’s damn near glacial.
Kyle Wharton A, Johns Hopkins
Plays like: Drew Westervelt
He of the ripped net and Rabilesque shooting technique, Wharton has achieved notoriety as Hopkins’…only good player returning next year? Burn? Sort of. Wharton doesn’t dodge. (He doesn’t have to everyone ducks when he catches the ball) Doesn’t really feed. (9 assists in 2010). Doesn’t like passing up his shot. 2010: 75 shots – second on the team to Stevie Boyle. He’s only on this list because of his size and power; he’s listed at 6’ 2’’ 200 but he looks more like 6’ 4’’ 230 – that shade of blue is slimming/someone is fudging their numbers. Wharton will have to take a huge step forward if he’s going to go in the first round of next year’s draft, but if he plays in the right system and gets the shots he likes he will be deadly.
I’ll be honest, I could do a list of 20 guys that could make the first round. I know a ton of people are out there going “how could you forget ________ he’s ____________ing awesome!” I’m sure he is. This is just a sample of next year’s draft. Imagine the possibilities of each one of these guys as a Cannon and you will see where I’m coming from. Each one fills a void. Each one steps in immediately. Each one could be ours. All ours. Muaha….Muahahahah MUAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahah!!!
A man can change his stars – can a team?
See you in 2011, folks.