LaxDirt's MLL Player Spotlights for the first half of the season.
Since we have hit the halfway point in the 2013 MLL season, I feel it is time to honor a few players who have played well but have not had that one big game that I sadly have taken too much into account in handing out the Spotlight every week. So now, I want to shed some light on a few players who have played great so far, but have not gotten much mention from the lacrosse media, myself included.
The Spotlight Players:
Terry Kimener, Denver Outlaws-
I have gone on record saying he is my favorite non Duke Player in the league and it is quite true. Kimener is the most versatile short stick I have ever seen. He is a guy who has the offensive ability to score 30 points in this league, from either attack or midfield, and also plays solid defensive midfield when needed. I have seen Kimener shoot on the run with either hand, shoot distance; dodge from down low, Mr. Versatile does it all. He is quietly a big part of Denver’s success.
John Ranagan, Rochester Rattlers-
Ranagan has silenced a lot of people so far this year. Tim said in the 3 up 3 down column we likely won’t see him in the up column again after his performance in Atlanta, and then he scores another hat trick. I was mad that he saw action over Dave Lawson this week, who I still think is the best middie in this draft class, but he produced again. Hard to dispute what’s working.
Logan Schuss, Ohio Machine-
The next Zack Greer, except better. He has shot lights out for the Machine so far and I have no clue how he didn’t win rookie of the week in his debut. Yea yea Rob Pannell is great and all but no rookie has impressed me like Schuss has so far. Off-ball and dodging, and for some reason running out of the box, he is producing big time.
The NY short stick d-middies-
The offensive midfielders for the Lizards are killing me. They should be rivaling the Bayhawks for the title of best unit in the league but they have looked unimpressive. But the Unterstein brothers and co. have played solid lockdown defense so far this season and nobody has given them any props. Kevin Crowley this past week was not really their fault, no shortie can guard him. They have made up for the poor play of the close D and Adams’ average play so far this year.
Casey Cittadino, Charlotte Hounds-
He has been the best d-middie in the league so far this year to me. He and Kevin Drew have really made so much of a difference for this Charlotte team. He is also the only short stick who can guard Rabil; he has done it in Denver as well. I think he just has a way of ticking the big guy off, Rabil almost swung at him in Boston last year.
John Tucker, Boston Cannons coach-
He did exactly what I would have done. I think Duffy was being too nice to Rabil and letting him have too much say in the huddle, but Rabil is not Boyle and has not earned that right. Tucker let others dodge and initiate and it worked. Rabil took way less shots and did not run the offense and they won. Wow, who has been saying that would work for like, what, the past year and a half? THIS GUY!
The Slacker Players:
There are also players that have not lived up to the bill so far this year. Some have it in them to redeem themselves, some do not.
The Garber Family and John Algie, Ohio Machine-
I don’t care that they won last Saturday, they need to go. Garber has just not been the coach that they need, there are players on most team’s practice squad better than his son, and John Algie has marketed the team well, but you can only market a bad team for so long. They need a GM who also knows how to put a winning roster together as well.
Colin Briggs, Boston Cannons-
This is not entirely his fault. The Cannons just would rather play Stone Flint, which I think is a mistake. Do the guy a favor and trade him to like a Rochester or Ohio, a team that could actually use a guy who can be a go to dodging middie who can play well off ball and play d. Oh wait, the Cannons need that too. Why are they not playing him?
NY offensive midfield-
I have said this so many times. I’m beating a dead horse. They have all the potential in the world, but have not dominated like they should. Still, we were saying the same things about the Bayhawks midfield in 2010, the first year this super squad came together. It took a while but they figured it out and won a title as a fourth seed. Can NY do the same?
Cody Jamison, Hamilton Nationals-
His entire career he has not shown me anything. He is a super star in the indoor league but so is Dan Dawson and Dawson sucked in the MLL during his brief stint too. It doesn’t always translate, and in this case, people refuse to believe that it won’t. It makes me sick that they save a roster spot for him. He should have never worn the 22 at Syracuse. He wasn’t even that good in college, what like barley 40 points his senior year, if that? Come on just cut him already. He is not a horrible player, but there are plenty of better lefty Canadians that would love his spot (Mark Matthews, Zach Greer last year, Shayne Jackson). I just don’t understand why the Nats stand by this guy. Mark Millon could even do a better job, there are other options out there.
The Leveille brothers, Rochester Rattlers-
These two have really disappointed me. Kevin can’t play in their system and continues to try and relive the glory days when he was the go to guy, and Mike I just not able to fully commit to MLL, which is understandable when you work on Wall Street. They got to go. Why has Stevie “the Pride of Derry, NH” Boyle not been on the field that much?
Ned Crotty, Rochester Rattlers-
Yup, I put him here. I put a Duke guy in the bad column. It happened. I firmly believe that when Crotty plays his best, he is the best player on the planet. But you need a good team around you to do that, it is not entirely his fault, but to this point in the season he has looked very very very average. He may be 12th in league scoring, which isn’t bad, and 3.9 PPG is not bad either, but Crotty is not an average player and needs to show it. Sadly, we may not see it since this offense has looked quite out of whack, especially the attack unit. Brendan Mundolf, Kevin Crowley, Paul Rabil, and now Rob Pannell put up big numbers because they play in great offenses that compliment them. Crotty does not have that luxury. As a Duke fan, now I know how Bovee feels when Jamison takes the field all the time, seeing stars underperform is a sad thing, particularly when they are from your favorite college team.