Recruiting Interview with Head Coach Jon Black of the Men’s Lacrosse Team at Notre Dame de Namur University

Coach Jon Black, Head Coach of the Notre Dame de Namur University Argonauts in Belmont, CA, stepped into my office the other day to answer some questions for all of our soon to be student-athletes out there. Coach Black played at NDNU from 2004-2008 where he had a 41-11 record while consistently being in the top-10 of all Division II Lacrosse programs. He then stopped at the High School Lacrosse level to coach at Carlmont High School in Belmont, in the same area as NDNU. This was just a pit stop of experience for him because in 2015 he was named the head coach of his alumnus, NDNU. On top of being the head coach of the Lacrosse team, he is also the Assistant Director of admissions at the University. You can say, Coach Black is a very key part of the NDNU community.

 

1. What type of players do you look for and where? What do you look for in a recruit? What type of player best fits your program?
We pride ourselves as having one of (if not) the most diverse roster in the NCAA with players coming from all over the nation. We’ve had players from New York, Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Canada, and all over California. Regardless of region, we look for players who have the talent to make an immediate impact as soon as they step foot on campus. Some larger Division II lacrosse programs have roster sizes up to 80-85 players and you rarely see players on the field until their junior year. Here at NDNU, we like to keep the roster no larger than low to mid 30’s, ensuring that guys can step in right away and make their mark on the program.

 

2. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
Two words: Email and Film. There are hundreds of thousands of talented lacrosse players around the nation (and the globe). Don’t assume a coach knows about you unless you’ve actually received an individual correspondence from them! Often, the best way to get a hold of a coach is to simply browse that school’s athletic website and find the coach’s email.  I wouldn’t recommend calling a coach as the first method of contact.  A simple email with an introduction, name, position, and graduation year along with a link to highlight film is perfect. The coach will reach out to you if they are interested in communicating further.

 

3. What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?
As much as hitting the wall and throwing around with your friends helps with skill building, here at the NCAA level, we’re looking for players who not only have those basic skills but truly understand the game (“Lacrosse IQ”). Lacrosse IQ is a truly invaluable trait to have, especially at the NCAA level where everything like checks, shots, etc come a lot faster.  Having a player know how to read and anticipate what’s going to happen before it happens is truly the best skill a player can have. Be a true student of the game and always think a play ahead!  This skill only comes with experience, so play as much lacrosse as possible before you get to the next level.

 

4. What common recruiting mistakes should players and parents avoid? 
Not many student-athletes understand the difference between divisions at the NCAA level.  There are many pros and cons with every division and school. For example, the Division II level typically consists of smaller institutions with some colleges and universities having only 500-1,000 undergraduate students. It’s all about “fit.”  If you like smaller, more intimate environments who typically take their athletics seriously, you’ll enjoy most Division II schools. At the same time, if you are looking for a huge school with football games on campus and tens of thousands of students walking around, you may not enjoy the Division II atmosphere.  We’re fortunate here at NDNU because we’re the only Division II school in the entire state of California and west of Colorado.  With some of the best weather in the world, being steps away from Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, Facebook, etc), only 20 minutes from both San Francisco and San Jose and 15 minutes to the nearest beach, NDNU is quickly becoming one of the premier universities on the west coast, especially for lacrosse.  The most important thing to do is tour the campus and meet with the coach.  Get a sense of their “coaching philosophy” to see if that’s a school you can see yourself.  And finally, making a college decision is not a one-year decision…it’s a four-year decision!

 

5. What should a recruit include in a message to you that will draw your attention? Contrary to what recruits might think, I don’t want players to attend NDNU “just to play lacrosse.” Here at NDNU, we think much bigger than that!  There’s no doubt you will have one of the best student-athlete experiences in the nation as a lacrosse player at NDNU, but we’re always asking our players to think beyond lacrosse and beyond themselves.  In fact, we place a high emphasis on community engagement and for three out of the last four years, the lacrosse program has been awarded the Athletic Department’s Community Engagement Award for the number of hours of service in the local community. Over the last four years, we’ve completed nearly 4,000 hours of community service and raised nearly $20,000 for various non-profit organizations.

 

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Jon Black or Notre Dame de Namur University. 

Two Sport Athlete

If you ask any college athlete they will tell you playing a sport in college is equivalent to having a full time job. Playing one sport is hard enough let alone trying to multitask two sports. Kenzie Kent is one of the very few superior athletes that is capable of managing two sports in college. Kenzie plays hockey and lacrosse for Boston College and she contributes incredibly at both.  Kenzie helped Boston College’s hockey team make it to the national semifinal but would lose to Wisconsin 1-0. After that devastating lose she carries that pain and motivation onto the turf filed as she begins her lacrosse season. What Kenzie is accomplishing ispurely amazing considering the fact that she plays two sports that happen back to back. Hockey can be very demanding of someones body and then to jump right into lacrosse, well that shows passion for how much she truly loves these sports. Hockey runs from September through March and lacrosse runs from March to May, so the amount of wear and tear that Kenzie places on her body is astonishing. She always Continue reading…

Ethan Bell (’18 Goalie) Commits to Bridgewater College!

CONGRATULATIONS Ethan Bell on your big decision to play D3 Lacrosse at Bridgewater College!

Ethan is a goalie for Kellam High School and 757 Select. He will be attending Bridgewater College after his graduation next spring. He considered other schools such as Christopher Newport University and Lebanon Valley College, but ultimately decided that Bridgewater would be the best choice to excel in both lacrosse and academics. He would like to thank his parents and all of his coaches for their continued support over the years of his lacrosse career.

Chase LaDrido’s Makes Final Decision

Chase LaDrido is 14 years old and has already made a commitment of where he wants to play lacrosse after high school. Chase decided to go with Johns Hopkins and Chase became the first west coast player of the 2020 class to commit to a Division 1 men’s lacrosse. Chase’s biggest reason for committing so soon was because of the agony of a high school recruiting process. Anyone who has been recruited out of high school knows this process all to well. The numerous phone calls, the constant promises, and the why our program is better. This can take a lot out of a high school student when they are trying to focus on grades and also improving their game for the next level. The NCAA are working elegantly on passing rule that would ban college coaches communicating with student athletes until their junior year and this could happen as soon as April. Chase’s parents are happy with his decision and think it will make it easier on Chase. They believe that not worrying about applying and making college visits will allow their son to dedicate more time improving in class and on the field.

Lane Tourtellot (’17 Defense/LSM) Commits to Guilford College!

Lets hear it for Lane Tourtellot! As a senior at Needham Broughton High School, Lane has committed to play Division 3 Lacrosse at Guilford College! The Brine All-American also considered the lacrosse programs at Hampton-Sydney and Bridgewater. However, he ultimately chose the Guilford Quakers because he can participate in strong academics while also playing lacrosse at a high level.

How Early is too Early

Nowadays it’s normal to have a phenom freshmen on your team in any college sport. Usually you think of a senior being the vocal leader and carrying the team, but now freshmen can be expected to also carry this role. Although phenom freshmen may be a norm, it is controversial when the recruiting process should begin for these young stars. Bay Shore attack man Brennan O’Neill has committed to play lacrosse for Penn State in 2021 and Brennan is only a 13 year old eighth grader. Brennan is not the only one who has committed at an early age. Caitlyn Wurzburger and Justin Brown who were both in middle school committed to play college lacrosse. The reason coaches are recruiting this young is because they look at it as an advantage over their competitors.

Although it is illegal for college recruits to communicate with athletes until their junior year of high school, many college recruits are using a loop hole. Instead of contacting the Continue reading…

The Legacy Behind the 376th Win

Coach Krzyzewski might be the first coach you think of when you think of Duke, but John Danowski is just as important or more. Before Coach Danowski came to Duke they were in turmoil due to three players being falsely accused of rape charges. As soon as Danowski took over he made sure that turmoil was put in the past and he quickly moved on. Danowski dominate start began at LIU-C.W Post where he was an assistant head coach. During his time as an assistant head coach it was a bit of a struggle financially, making only $4,000 and requiring his wife and him to live off meal passes for the semester. He would later go on to become the head coach at LIU Post and would have a record of 27-16. He would then become the head coach of Hofstra and would completely change the atmosphere, turning them into a powerhouse by piling up 192 wins. Danowski’s accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed at Hofstra, winning the F. Morris Touchstone Award for the Division 1 Coach of the Year. Along his journey  Continue reading…

PJ Lombara (’17 Attack) Commits to Muhlenberg College!!

Let’s give a big round of applause for PJ Lombara after his big decision to play lacrosse at Muhlenberg College!! After considering both Trinity College and Saint Anselm College, PJ ultimately decided that Mulenberg “was the best fit for [him] academically, athletically and [he] really liked the campus and the coaching staff”. PJ will join the Mules next season after his graduation this year from St. John’s Prep.

 

 

Life After Lacrosse

Wade Hoag was thrilled to get the opportunity to play the sport he loved at Hope college. Then the unthinkable happened one summer. Hoag was working on construction and was raised into the air on a metal platform by a forklift. The platform gave way and lead to Hoag plummeting 20 feet with the platform following him on his way down. As Hoag hit the ground the platform had his back pinched between the concrete. Hoag lived through the accident but it came with a price and that was stripping him of joy. Hoag was paralyzed from the waist down and was realizing that his lacrosse career was now over. Hoag missed most of his first semester due to being in the hospital and was constantly hoping to attend Hope college. Although Hoag’s nurse told him in no way was he capable of attending Hope college Hoag proved them wrong and attended Hope college and later became a member of the lacrosse team. Although Hoag couldn’t play Continue reading…

Austin Burton (’18 LSM/Defense) Commits to Bridgewater College!

A big congrats to Austin Burton for committing to play college lacrosse at Bridgewater College! Austin is currently a junior at Parkville Senior High School, where he was recently named Second Team All County LSM in 2016, and also plays for the MD Wolfpack club team. Other schools that he considered were Immaculata, Arcadia, and Messiah, but he says the coaches and family atmosphere are what convinced him to play for the Eagles. Austin believes there is a bright future for the Bridgewater lacrosse program and is excited to be a part of competing for the ODAC Championship! Lastly, he would like to thank all of his coaches and his family, especially his mom, for all of their support throughout the years.