By Kevin Barney | 1/15/13 4:25 PM
Following every draft there are always questions on how we felt we did, why we made the selections we did, and what was the thought process behind decisions. I wanted to take the Cannons fans behind the scenes of the 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft!
First, we have a great coaching staff that spent countless hours preparing for this draft. It started the morning after we lost in the 2012 MLL Semi-Finals. Throughout the fall and early winter, coaches went to fall ball games up and down the East Coast, talked to college coaches, and spent every free hour watching film and player highlights.
Our focus was always to make our top three picks (pick numbers six, nine and fourteen) the best possible, and to select players who could go from the NCAAs to our starting lineup. As the draft neared, we began analyzing the first fourteen picks to map out what other teams would do and who would be available at each of our picks. Come draft night, we had just over a dozen different scenarios and were ready to get the best players to join the Cannons.
One of our goals with the #6 pick was to also keep in mind which player we would be able to select with the #9 pick. When it came time to pick, we were excited to still see both Cam Flint and Scott Ratliff available, as both were players we were ready to select at #6. Coach Duffy, Coach Murphy and I quickly discussed the options and were confident that if we selected Cam Flint at pick number six, Scott Ratliff would still be available at pick number nine based on what we projected both Denver and Charlotte to select. The decision was made and Cam Flint became our 1st round draft pick!
Cam Flint was our highest ranked offensive midfielder in the draft. He is not only athletic and a strong offensive player, but he is a talented and versatile player who can play anywhere on offense, as well as also get back and be a strong defensive short stick. Flint is an exciting player who can cause many problems for defenses. Not only can he shoot from outside, but his dodging skills bring to us another player who can get to the cage. “Flint is a do it all guy with MLL ready skills,” said Coach Duffy.
As we projected, Scott Ratliff was still available when it was our turn to pick at #9. Ratliff is a player that fits right into the Cannons mold. He plays the wing on face-offs and is a smart defensive player who can cause turnovers. Ratliff is also great at picking up ground balls, loves to push transition, and can make the right pass or put the ball in the net himself. He gives us versatility, something we look for in our long poles. We have poles who can play defense but also understand the importance in this league of winning possession and pushing transition. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Ratliff is on the defending NCAA National Champions Loyola Hounds!
We almost made a trade involving the #14 pick right after we selected Ratliff at pick number nine (sorry, not going to say what it involved!). Luckily for us, the trade did not happen. We also never thought Will Manny would still be available at pick number fourteen. Another easy choice was made; Manny has proven already that he is an offensive threat to not only score, but is someone who can also find the open teammate. He has that knack of reading the game and being in the right spot on the field at all times. Manny led UMass in goals, assists and points in 2012 (44, 33, and 77, respectively).
We now had a top LSM, offensive middie and attackman with our three picks; smiles were seen across our draft table. We had five picks remaining and we knew the talent in the draft was going to allow us to continue to select players who would make us a better team right away.
As with Manny at number fourteen, we had Lee Coppersmith of Johns Hopkins ranked higher than twenty-two on our draft board; another pleasant surprise. You can never have enough depth at midfield, and according to Coach Duffy, Coppersmith “is fast with a great first step, can dodge downhill and shoot on the run.”
The trend continued of seeing players we expected to go in earlier rounds still available when our turn came around. With the #30 pick we selected Jake Smith, defenseman out of UMass. The second UMass Minuteman we chose that night from a team that went undefeated in the regular season. We had their best offensive player and now we got their best defensive player in Smith. Jake Smith was the defenseman who was always assigned the task of covering the best offensive player on the opposing team. We have often targeted local products who we hoped would help the team. This time we got a player we knew would make our team better who also happened to be a Medfield, MA native.
We didn’t have another selection until the 46th pick and only had three remaining overall. Once again the coaching staff’s preparation paid off as we had an extensive list of players that we felt could contribute to our team and add depth, plus a few we could take a chance on. We had local players, players from top schools, and players who may have been off the other teams' radars.
With the #46 pick, we selected David DiMaria, attackman out of Lehigh University. DiMaria is a lefty who has the ability to make plays around the net. Lehigh is an upcoming lax program, coached by former MLL star Kevin Casesse. Casesse is not only raising his program but he is starting to turn out players who transition well into MLL. We are excited to watch DiMaria this spring and how his game continues to progress.
Brendan Buckley, defenseman/Army, was our 7th round pick. “Buckley is a player similar to Jake Smith. He is hardnosed and always covering the best players in Patriot league, including first pick Peter Baum,” explained Coach Duffy. It is always a risk in selecting a military guy as to where their career will take them, but we felt the risk and reward with Buckley was well worth the chance.
With our final pick, we again added depth at one of the hardest working positions on the field, the short stick midfielder. We selected Quinn Cully from Notre Dame. Cully is a player that not only will have a chance to play, but comes out of one of the best youth and high school lacrosse programs: Duxbury, MA. “Cully has been an impact player for Notre Dame, and he’s often covered by the best offensive middies in the country,” said Coach Duffy.
The 2013 Collegiate Draft was an overwhelming success for the Cannons. We feel all eight of our picks will come in ready to compete for playing time and will make us a better team. We selected two attackman, two offensive middies, one short stick middie, one long stick middie and two defensemen; balanced picks that will fill holes and add depth to our team this year and for the future. We are excited for the NCAA season to begin and ultimately for these players to join the Cannons this summer!