Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tim Jacob at Brown

One of my favorite players, Tim Jacob (Bellarmine College Prep, Class of 2011), gets a very nice mention from his college coach, Lars Tiffany at Brown University. Here's the quote from Inside Lacrosse: "The biggest surprise as a freshman this fall has been attackman Tim Jacob from Bellarmine College Prep and Palo Alto, Calif. He was not expected to make an immediate impact but has been a “pleasant surprise,” said Tiffany."

You can read the article about Brown's entering class at:

Way to go, Tim!

Will Montero to Bryant!

De La Salle's fine midfielder, Will Montero – Class of 2013 – has committed to Bryant University, where he will play for famed Coach, Mike Pressler. He'll also join two other Nor Cal standouts – Nico Dutra and Sean Mullin – on the Bulldogs squad. Will is an ultra-smooth middie, with an excellent shot on the run. But, even better, he's got a strong lacrosse IQ, VERY strong fundamentals, and an impressive sense for the geometries of the game. Mike Pressler is getting a good one! Here are some highlights from Will's 2011 season:

Friday, September 23, 2011

WSL ranks Top Club Teams in the West - II

"You're entitled to your own opinions, but you aren't entitled to your own facts."

A week or so ago, I commented on the WestSideLax rankings of the top Club Teams in the Western United States. At that time, they had counted down the teams from #10 to #4. While, in my opinion, they ranked the Golden State Titans too low, they're entitled to their own opinions.

They continued their countdown over the next week, ranking the Orange County Kings #3, the Alcatraz Outlaws #2, and the San DIego Lax Dawgs #1. You can see their complete rankings here. All I can say is, they're entitled to their own opinions, but they aren't entitled to their own facts.

West SideLax specifies the criteria they use in their rankings. Here they are:

• Summer 2011 wins
• Coaches feedback
• Strength of schedule
• College commitments
• Observed performance

Let's examine each of these metrics:

Summer Wins reads to me as, "Who did you defeat," rather than "How many wins did you have." By that definition, wins in strong tournaments matter. So, which tournaments are strong? On the National circuit, top college coaches rank them as follows: Brine Shootout, Champ Camp, Tri-State, King of the Hill, Gait Cup, and Hotbeds. Teams that vie for victories in these tournaments are testing themselves against a very strong pool of nationally ranked Club teams. Only two of the WestSideLax contenders elected to compete in the top National Circuit tourneys. They were the Golden State Titans and the Alcatraz Outlaws.

Coaches Feedback could mean High School Coaches, College Coaches, or a mix of the two. Heck, it could even mean Youth Lacrosse coaches, since they aren't specific. I'll assume that they mean College Coaches, since if they meant anything else, there is no way that Western teams who competed only on the East Coast could be evaluated. If this is true, the best measure of feedback from college coaches is who they recruit.

Strength of Schedule is just that. If your club team didn't compete in the top East Coast tourneys, your team did not have a strong schedule. Period.

College Commitments are redundant with any reasonable definition of Coaches feedback. One or the other needs to be dumped.

Observed performance is another ill-defined metric. Who's doing the observing? WSL? HS coaches, or College Coaches? It matters. Here's why: If the Alcatraz Outlaws - who played only on the East Coast - were not seen by WSL's "observers," why were they ranked at all?

Enough! WSL's metrics are fatally flawed, but I admire their effort. WSL adds value to the Western Lacrosse community, they're innovative and they're a terrific source of game write-ups and other lax news throughout the West. I check their website every day.

So, who are the best Club teams in the geographic area staked out by WSL? Here's my cut, using the following metrics:
College Commitments - College coaches vote with their offers. They guys they recruit are the best players. Coaches now recruit nationally. They see ALL the candidates. They travel the East Coast, the West Coast and most places in between. In addition, when they watch their candidates, they can answer  the question: Who are the top Club teams?
Performance in strong tournaments - Being in the Sweet Sixteen in a top East Coast tournament means more than winning a tournament consisting of competition from local Club teams.

Best in the West (I have seen every one of these teams play within the last 15 months)
10 Minnesota Elite - MN sent 10 of its 2011 Seniors to play NCAA DI. Fourth highest total in the West. Most all of MN's top players play for the Elite.
9 Denver Elite - Colorado sent 13 players from the Class of 2011 to NCAA DI schools - third highest total in the West. Not all of them played for the Elite, but they defeated a mid-tier LI Express team at the Brine Shootout. This is a solid team.
8 Golden State Titans - This NorCal team is quite young, but VERY good. Several early DI commits. They took 5th place at the Hotbeds tourney. I might have this team ranked too low.
7 OC Kings - A nice team from California's Central Coast section. Some of these players also play on Team America, about which more later.
6 Arizona Burn - Arizona is an up-and-comer in the Lacrosse world. Charlie Hushek and Brock Ghelfi lead this team. They suffer from not having many lax teams in the state, but the Burn gets almost all the good players.
5 Brady's Bunch - An eclectic team from a number of States but - make no mistake - they are VERY good. Lots and lots of NCAA players.
4 San Diego Lax Dawgs - I have enjoyed watching the LaxDawgs over several years! They're big, athletic, and well coached. In my mind, the best of the teams that didn't go East this past summer.
3 Team America - An Orange County team that made the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp. They're well coordinated and well coached.
2 Dallas Select - Texas sent 16 Seniors to NCAA DI schools in 2011 - second most in the West. A bunch of them played for Dallas Select. Of their four tourney appearances, three were in the East, the other at the Denver Team Camp. They made the semi-finals at three of the four, though they did not make the semis at their toughest camp - King of the Hill.
1 Alcatraz Outlaws - Twenty-two Outlaws have committed to NCAA DI schools in the last three years. No other Club team in the Western United States comes close to that total. Attended two tourneys this year - King of the Hill and Gait Cup - and made the finals at both. Both King of the Hill and Gait Cup  are top 5 tourneys and in both instances, the Outlaws lost to the consensus #1 Club team in the nation - Laxachusetts. Western Club Lacrosse gets no better than this.

There you have it! You can disagree with my rankings and the metrics I've chosen, but my facts speak for themselves.   


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mike Schlosser to Michigan

Mike Schlosser (Class of 2013), the loose-hipped Middie from Davis has committed to NCAA DI Michigan. He dodges like a lightning bolt and dazzles in the open field. The Wolverines are lucky to have him! He'll join his Alcatraz Outlaw teammate, Mike Hernandez (Class of 2012), at Michigan. Two terrific Middies, with entirely different styles. Both styles are needed in any Midfield. Congrats to Mike!

Here's his Hightlight vid:

Chad Cohan to Duke

Senior Chad Cohan, the excellent St. Ignatius Attack, has committed to Duke University. There he'll join his lacrosse playing brother, Dax, as well as his sister. While I've known about this commit for a while, it was only recently publicized.

Chad is a very good all around Attackman, whose riding game, lacrosse IQ, and crafty dodging are excellent. These qualities made him an appealing recruit to Duke. I believe he'll be a solid contributor at Duke! Coach Danowski is fortunate to have landed him.

As an interesting aside, The Cohan brothers and the Emery brothers apparently live in parallel universes. Both sets of brothers attend/attended St. Ignatius, both sets of brothers will attend the same school, both sets of brothers will attend powerhouse ACC schools, and both sets of brothers will attend a college that won the NCAA DI Men's Lacrosse Championship within the last two years.   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

WestSideLax rates Top Western Club teams has been running a series that counts down the top 10 club teams in their "West of the Mississippi" geography. It's pretty good and you can read it here. They've counted down from #10 to #4 so far, in the following order:
 That leaves three to go. Who will they be?

There are a number of candidates in my opinion, including Minnesota Elite, Team America, Dallas Select, and the Alcatraz Outlaws. In addition, if one includes the single-school summer teams, I think both Cherry Creek and Fog City would make this top ten. But, let's say "Club" – by the WestSideLax definition – includes only multi-school teams. So, here we go! My #3 is Dallas Select. They made the final 4 at three different summer tournaments (Finals at Denver Team Camp, Semi-Finals at Notre Dame, and Semi-Finals at UNC), though they didn't do as well at King of the Hill. My #2 team is Team America, built around Corona Del Mar, Palos Verdes, and St. Margaret's players. Team America made it to the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp. Champ Camp is, in my opinion, the second most competitive summer tournament in the country. While the Brine Shootout has become the toughest summer tourney, Champ Camp still provides VERY difficult competition. My #1 Club team  West of the Mississippi – would be the Alcatraz Outlaws, who made the Finals of both tournaments they entered – King of the Hill and the Gait Cup, losing in both tournaments to Laxachusetts. Laxachusetts, in my opinion, had the best summer tournament run in the country in 2011.  So, those are my top three Club teams.

That leaves unanswered the question as to how Cherry Creek and Fog City would be ranked if they were club teams. My take is that both would rank above Dallas Select and below Team America. I'd also make one final adjustment to WestSide Lax's rankings. The Golden State Titans would rank a smidge higher than #9 in my rankings. Their performance at the Hotbeds was a major accomplishment. 

What do you think?

Thanks to WestSideLax for their excellent idea and thoughtful analysis! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another NorCal DI recruit?

The Dilettante has been hearing rumors that another NorCal Class of 2012 laxer has committed to a DI school. Comment if you've got the whole story!

Duke Lacrosse Coaches Clinics on the Web

The Dilettante has been fortunate to take in the Duke University Coaches Clinics in each of the last two years. They've been given at the Duke Lacrosse film room to local North Carolina coaches for several years now. It's a five star clinic by Coach Danowski and his excellent staff. This Fall's Clinics will be available to Coaches all around the country as the sessions will be broadcast live on the web, using the schedule below. All times are in the evening using the Eastern time zone. Full details can be found at:
Go Duke
Well worth any High School Coach's time and highly recommended!

WednesdaySept. 217-9:30 
WednesdayOct. 197-9:30
WednesdayNov. 167-9:30
WednesdayDec. 147-9:30
WednesdayJan. 187-9:30

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Griffin Goudreau 2011 Highlights

Griffin Goudreau, the 6'5" 220 pound Close D/LSM has committed to play for NCAA DI Providence College. Griffin, who attends Bellarmine College Prep, played for the Alcatraz Outlaws this past summer, where he caught the eye of a number of coaches. Here are his highlights from the 2011 season.

Matt Corbin 2011 Highlights

Matt Corbin, the fine De La Salle Close D, has committed to play NCAA DIII at highly regarded Haverford. Matt is in the Class of 2012 and will join another NorCal guy next year on the 'Fords - Jack Bodine, Class of 2011, from  Saint Ignatius.

Haverford is a supreb academic institution and Matt is a very strong student. Sounds like a great fit. The 'Fords are getting a tough, sizable, tenacious defender. They're lucky to have him!

Michael Hernandez 2011 Highlights

Michael Hernandez, the fine 2012 Piedmont Middie, has committed to the University of Michigan. He played for the Alcatraz Outlaws this past summer, where he tore it up at the Gait Cup and King of the Hill. Here are his Junior year highlights.

In Praise of Off-Season Teams from a Single School

For almost a decade, I've been watching summer lacrosse travel teams do battle with teams from other locales–teams from New Hampshire to Florida, and Texas to Washington– in tournaments with as few as eight teams in the bracket to tourneys with as may as 74 in the bracket. They've all been great fun and cumulate as one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

Over these years, what I appreciate most about summer tourney teams has changed. For whatever reason, I used to be most attracted to the big, fast, powerful hyper-AllStar teams that attempted to amalgamate the very best athletes from a sizable geographic region. Teams like Gotskillz, Tri-State Black, Laxachussets, Long Island Express, Dukes and the Crabs. It was great to see these aggregations of superstars go mano-a-mano against an opposing superstar from another of the very top clubs. I still like to watch these one-on-one battles among the very elite Select teams, but in the last few years I've found myself drawn to the School teams.You know, the teams comprised of players from a single High School. I've had a hard time understanding why this change occurred, but think I finally can explain it – at least to myself.

School teams may attend the same tournaments as Select teams, but they have different objectives. School teams are formed primarily to prepare for next season's  conference play and the Regional, Sectional, and State tournaments that follow. Last year's Seniors have graduated and the heart of the new team will have to be found among the former Juniors, Sophs, and Frosh who were on the Varsity last season. Yes, the players want to be seen by the peripatetic bands of college coaches who carry their Renettos and clipboards, rotating from one field to another every half a game. But the purpose and the attention of their school coaches is focused on building the best possible SCHOOL team for the next season. 

The objectives of recruiting clubs are different. They form teams to showcase the best players in a given grade within an entire region. There is no future for these teams. They play in the moment, for the summer, then they evanesce. Generally, there's not much teaching going on with the recruiting teams. They run basic offenses, have basic slide packages and hope to compete by exploiting mismatches. Off ball movement, off ball picks, fake slides, the two man game, the three man game and other team elements of lacrosse are mostly missing when one watches the recruiting club teams. I've got nothing against Club teams. They serve their purpose. It's just that the play so predictable. There's a lot of individual athleticism and not much coordinated grace. It is what it is.

School teams have team objectives. They exploit with skills and superb coordination. It's beautiful to watch. It's purposeful beyond the objective of getting Jimmy recruited by XYZ DI school. These teams adapt to changing conditions. If the offense isn't effective when initiating with a dodge, they'll switch to initiate off the pick. If neither crease sliding nor adjacent slides are working, you'll see these teams move into a zone. Lacrosse becomes a thinking man's game. I love it!

The different objectives of school teams doesn't mean they can't compete in tournaments dominated by Club teams. De La Salle did very well at the UNC camp a couple of years ago. Saint Ignatius won the UNC Camp a year ago and made the Sweet Sixteen at Champ Camp - the last school team standing! And at Hotbeds this year, the Championship Game was between two School teams - West Islip and Ward Melville.

So, which school teams among our NorCal enclave travel together in the off season? Well, the Snipers, from Monte Vista, go to the Adrenaline Challenge every January, and always do well. They won NCS last year. The De La Salle boys have traveled as a team for the last several years. Many of those years they won NCS. Saint Ignatius, traveling as Fog City, has gone to Champ Camp or the UNC Camp for the last four or five years. They've been the top team in CCS for some while. Bellarmine has traveled as a school team as well. I believe it has helped them become  the powerhouse they are today. Let me know of other schools who travel together in the off season. Don't get me wrong. All of these teams abide by CIF rules and regs, but - within the rules - they find a way to play together in the off season  

So, here's to the School teams! They make Lacrosse endlessly entertaining for fans of the game.