Standouts from National 175’s Liberty Bell Challenge

Top players seen by Connor Entenmann of ConnectLAX at Liberty Bell Challenge Showcase on July 8th.

Hey everyone, the next stop on the recruiting circuit was the National 175 Liberty Bell Challenge in Philadelphia. The showcase did not disappoint the fans or the college coaches that traveled to the City of Brotherly Love. The depth of talent at each position within each recruiting class was impressive. These players battled through some grueling games in high temperatures and there was not much sign of fatigue other than a great deal of empty water bottles and coolers. With that being said, let’s get into some standouts.



Class of 2017:

Griffin Hanes, M, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Bishop McDevitt High School

Hayes displayed a great knack for the goal. He was constantly a factor in the offensive end whether that was dishing out assists or finishing his shots in a variety of ways.   He produced throughout the day, which shows that his athleticism and endurance are well above par.


Jack Farrell, M, Team Turnpike 2017, Phillips Exeter

Farrell showed an elite first step that allowed him to get his hands free often. He constantly got momentum down the righty alley and finished from a variety of distances on the run. He didn’t display his left hand much, but his jab step to get to the righty was so good that he was never really tested to take his left.


Logan Adams, D, Duke’s Lacrosse Club 2017, Hunterdon High School

The ability to press his attackmen around the perimeter and in the danger areas was what stood out to coaches most. Logan constantly made his matchup uncomfortable and his range allowed him to be aggressive at all times. One thing players can take away from Logan’s play is that it’s not always about takeaways that result in turnovers. Logan’s footwork and pressure often forced players into bad passes, which resulted in ground ball situations.


Timothy Kopp, M, LB3, Grady High School

Kopp really runs the field well. He made plays in between the hashes that make him look like a player coaches would leave on the field for extended shifts. His athleticism was evident and I could see coaches giving him a green light in transition situations at all times in college. He’s doesn’t have the size, but you can picture a bit of Jack Near (Notre Dame alum) in him.



Nick Heiler, M, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Lansdale Catholic

Nick was dominant at the faceoff x throughout the day. I didn’t witness many draws that he didn’t win the initial clamp, which immediately shows he’s got a talent for beating the whistle. But more importantly, his ability to control the ball after winning the clamp was impressive. He constantly navigated the ball to himself or his wings through traffic. Pushing the ball to himself also caused a good deal of fast break situations.




Class of 2018:

Liam Riordan, A, Connecticut Chargers, Pomfret School

Riordan looked like your prototypical x attackmen. His stick skills and the way he carried the ball reminded me a lot of Harvard’s Devin Dwyer. He used his stick fakes to shift defenses and open holes on the inside. He finished in a variety of ways. Causing turnovers in the ride was also a big part of Riordan’s game, which is incredibly important.


Matthew Lane, LSM, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Lancaster Country Day School

Lane was constantly making his presence felt in between the restraining lines. Midfielders would carry the ball over midfield comfortably and seconds later Lane was there to press them.   The ball seemed to be on the frequently because of Lane’s efforts and he often pushed transition wisely.


Ethan Dewbrey, A, Connecticut Chargers, Darien High School

Dewbrey was a real threat with his shot anywhere within fifteen yards. You could see defenses stretching out towards him, which led to more openings inside for his teammates. I can see a lot of man-up plays being drawn up for Dewbrey in his final years of high school and in college.


Carter Leibrock, G, Connecticut Chargers, Fairfield Ludlow

Carter’s ability to navigate the defense was immediately apparent. His voice covered the whole field. He covers up a lot of cage and he really uses that to his advantage when shooters are on the doorstep. Shooters were shown zero net in close due to Leibrock’s angles and stick positioning. His doorstep saves quickly became transition opportunities for his team.


Class of 2019

Adam Paymer, LSM, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Hershey High School

Simply put, Paymer was everywhere. His often won loose ball battles that he had no business winning. His ability to cover ground at such a fast pace always kept him in the play and in result he created havoc. I liked Paymer’s ability to pick up ground balls in traffic on the first attempt. Often times you see ground balls stay in a scrap for a few seconds but Paymer takes care of that quickly and gets on the run.


Gunnar Bogorowski, M, Duke’s Lacrosse Club, Germantown Academy

Gunnar was similar to Paymer, just he did everything with a shortstick. Paymer and Bogorowski could make an excellent tandem for somebody’s defensive midfield. However, Gunnar displayed skill in the offensive end as well. His great dodging and footwork drew a lot of slides and he was able to make easy passes to his teammates.


Christopher Crapanzano, M, NJ Riot, Ridge High School

Coaches raved about this kid’s ability to scrap on faceoffs. He plays with an effort and edge that shows he takes no plays off. There were a few times where his opponents thought they had a comfortable ground ball in front of them only to find out Chris one second away in making it a scrap.


Cullen Wolf, M, Patriot, Seton Hall Prep

Cullen’s split dodge was one of the best I saw in any class. He had a few gorgeous plays where he shook his defender, got his hands free, and finished his shot in the corner of the net.   Wolf attacks the defense from all areas of the field against any matchup. His elite first step makes him a top flight prospect in the 2019 class.


Class of 2020

Jimmy Goranov, D, Connecticut Chargers, Darien High School

Jimmy was one of the best young d guys I saw all day. He constantly one his matchup and pushed them away from the heart of the defense. Goranov also displayed great stick skills in the clear and was a threat when he crossed midfield. He’s got the next few years to fill out but I think he’s a legitimate prospect for any college coach.


Dash Sachs, M, Long Island Express North, Staples

This kid was dominant at the faceoff x. He wins draws with ease and is excellent with the ball in his stick. He is undersized, but it does not slow him down. He’s too fast on the clamp and his technique off the ground is effortless. I think he will be one of the top midfield prospects in this class due to his ability to stay on the field and play offense against potential fogos.


Skylar Schutler, A, STEPS, Summit High School

Schutler is a great x attackmen in the showcase today. He really showed a great feel for taking his defensemen to the net versus pulling it out and getting his teammates involved. He had a few great inside rolls today that he easily finished. His head is always up, which is a great habit to have with years ahead of him.



Nat175 Best of the Best Standouts

This past week National 175 held its tournament, Best of the Best,                                               on Long Island. After talking to some of theCmOA4wFWQAAZFH2 kids playing out there and watching play myself, I can definitely say the competition was fierce. The divisions ranged from 2017 all the way to 2024, which makes me feel extremely old. The CT Chargers (2017 & 2020), Team LI (2018 & 2024), and LI Outlaws Select (2022 & 2023) all had multiple teams win their divisions, while ADVNC SAC 2019 and the Dukes 2021 won their divisions as well. Game play was held in multiple locations including Garden City, Uniondale, and Hicksville depending on the age group. Sadly, I only had the chance to watch the older divisions so this article focuses on them.

There were definitely some standout players at the tournament. This list is only a few of the vast numbers of talented players and athletes.

Class of 2017

Mike Pullano, M, 32 / Manhasset High School, NY

Mike is a middie but also a face-off guy. He did a great job on the face-offs because of his aggression and clear heart. It is impossible to win a game if you cannot possess the ball, and winning face-offs leads to more possessions.

Class of 2018

Eddie Arnold, D, 32 / Manhasset High School, NY

Eddie was a starter for his varsity team as a freshman this past year. He’s extremely athletic and fast. His stick and ball handling skills were impressive and he was clearly an asset for 32 coming out of the back end.

DJ Baraniuk, M, Thunder / Mount Olive High School, NJ

DJ truly controls the tempo on the offensive end. His ability to calm his teammates and amp them up when need be was astonishing to see in a player his age. DJ’s great at pushing the ball out of transition and his vision enables him to get the job done.

Class of 2019

Connor Drake, M/A, CT Chargers / Wilton High School, CT

Connor was clearly one of the most dominant players on the field. He was fast and electric, making it extremely difficult to guard him. His feeding capabilities and outside shooting made him a threat all over the field.

Patrick Chisholm, G, NJ Riot

Patrick is a strong goalkeeper and a good, solid ball stopper. He was active in the clears and also showed leadership by directing traffic on the defensive end.

Black Ewaskey, LSM, Bucks Select

Black is aggressive offball which leads to many opportunities for groundballs. He went after gbs with the same aggression that he demonstrated throughout the game. He also seemed to be a great asset for Bucks Select in their clears.

DJ Kelly, A, NJ Riot / Bergen Catholic High School, NJ

DJ is a lefty attackman. His amazing vision allows him to string together feeds left and right making him a huge offensive threat.







Big 4 HHH Summer Champions League Standouts

After a very long and hot weekend, I hope that whoever played at Big 4 HHH is resting and hydrating as much as possible because it was straight up WAR at the Hill School. A simple glance at the list of teams who played should be enough to picture how talented this group of players was. Having never played at this tournament when I was a high school recruit, the amount of competition and intensity at a summer event was new to me, but nonetheless exciting as hell.

25-30% of these kids are already committed all the way down to the Class of 2020 and many of these teams have played each other over the past three or four years at summer tournaments, which only heated up the intensity. There were too many great players to fit into one write-up so I came up with a list of kids who not only stood out this weekend, but also may have been overlooked in the past.



Class of 2017:

Cole Touhey, G, Blue Star Lacrosse / Rutgers Prep (N.J.) – Rutgers

A loud presence in the cage, Touhey stands tall in the net making it seem smaller and makes a great defender as he is always aware of sneaking attackman to intercept and send the ball downfield. An acrobat at making saves, he often frustrates offensive players and is very smart clearing the ball.

Cole is a very athletic and explosive goalie who is comfortable making dramatic saves under pressure and have shooters scratching their heads.” –MV Whitlow (Blue Star Coach)

Ben Shapiro, FO/M, Eclipse Lacrosse / Brunswick School (C.T.) – Uncommitted

Standing at only 5’8, Shapiro uses his strength and ability to stay low to the ground to win the clamp almost every draw. He also has great wing awareness as he uses his teammates once teams start to adapt to him winning the draw. Shows great potential as he can only get stronger and faster, I think someone will pick him up by the end of summer.

Ben had an incredible season at Brunswick having around a 90% win percentage at the faceoff X. We picked him up late in his recruiting process, but are very excited to have him as he is just a great asset to a team.” -John Appelt (Eclipse Coach)

Owen McElroy, G, Leading Edge Elite / Avon Old Farms (C.T.) – Georgetown

He’s great in the cage constantly making big time saves in big time moments as well as defensive plays to scoop up loose ground balls and intercept cross-field passes. Also has excellent vision in the clearing game and serves as a great anchor for one of the best defenses in the class of 2017.

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Recruiting Insight with Kean University Head Coach Shelley Sheiner

The world of recruiting is a very serious competition amongst many quality athletes.  However, throughout the process it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of not only the decision one may make, but also the experience that follows.  Shelley Sheiner, Head Coach of Kean University is one who understands the benefits of lacrosse, as well as a quality college experience.

Coach Sheiner has been the head coach of Kean University since 2004, in his time he has broke the all-time records for wins in a single season on multiple occasions.  Sheiner and his players had a 9-8 record in 2015 with a 4-2 record in conference.

Not only has Coach Sheiner had success molding great teams in the win loss column, but he has also prided himself on the loyalty that exists in his current and former players.  We sat down with Coach Sheiner to learn about what makes his team so consistent as well as what makes the Kean experience so great.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

The advice that any player that should receive, whether it is Division I, II or III, is have as strong an academic profile as possible.  Having the best possible grades and board scores opens a lot more doors for you, especially at the Division III level with certain institutions.  Not only will it help you get into school, but also teaches you an important lesson of balancing sports and academics.

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Recruiting Insight with Hartwick College Assistant Coach Henry La Sala

One aspect a recruit looks for when joining a school is the state of the coaching staff.  As a young man, it’s important to find a coaching staff that cares about your future but also knows how to work well together themselves.  Hartwick College is a school that comes to mind when you think of a well put together coaching staff as they have a very unique quality, which is two brothers working the sideline together.  Henry LaSala, one of the two brothers on the staff, serves as assistant coach of Hartwick College.

Coach LaSala is entering his 2nd year as a member of the Hartwick coaching staff.  Success has followed LaSala throughout his career as prior to joining Hartwick, he served as an assistant coach on numerous top ranked Adrian College teams.

We sat down with Coach LaSala to learn more about the up and coming Hartwick program as well as what players stand out on his recruiting radar. Some players might think being a specialist is what gets you into college, but Coach LaSala tells players otherwise as he and the rest of the Hartwick staff value versatility over anything.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

Figure out what you want criteria wise.  What do you want to study, do you want a big school, near a city or a town setting?  Once you figure those questions out, visit as many schools as possible that fit your criteria.  Don’t close the door because maybe a team didn’t do as well the year before but you might find something that you won’t expect or will entice you when you do make a visit.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Email us with a video.  Spark our interest that way and keep us updated as to where you will be playing as we keep a pretty good job of getting out and seeing the guys that do email and come in touch with us.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

Right now we’re leaning more towards a raw athlete.  We look for guys that can fill more than one role as we’re getting away from the specialized mindset of lacrosse.  We don’t necessarily need a specific player, but rather a guy who is athletic enough who comes in as an attackmen but can fill the role as a midfielder.  Or a face-off guy who is confident staying on the field after the face-off. We want versatile guys who can fill more than one role for us.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

Biggest thing is I think is getting tougher.  There are so many events out there that kids are playing so much lacrosse that it’s hard to keep the competitive level up.  A guy who is tough stands out from the crowd at all of the various lacrosse tournaments and events.

We look at which guys are playing hard and working hard, but not just necessarily on the ball. We want guys who are working hard away from the ball, whether that be recovering on defense or working hard to support the ball on offense.  We want guys who are competing at all times on the field.

What is special about playing at Hartwick College?

Best thing is about Hartwick is that we offer an opportunity to play right away. We’re a brand new coaching staff, going into our 2nd year.  We’re recruiting our first fully recruited class this year so the opportunity to play right away is a realistic opportunity with us.

Also, our conference, the Empire Eight is one of the top Division III conferences.  Year in year out there seems to be 2-3 teams from the Empire Eight in the top 20.  If we position ourselves towards the top of the conference then we will have a chance to be top 20, which is a unique opportunity to have in Division III.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

Understand that at the next level that a lot of work goes into it.  You really have to love this sport to play in college.  You’re putting in a lot of hours, whether it is practice, meetings, scouting report, film, study hours, for an opportunity to play 14 times a season.  Kids must understand that even though it is a very rewarding experience, it is also a very serious commitment.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Henry LaSala or Hartwick College.

Recruiting Insight with Elizabethtown College Head Coach Drew Delaney

As high school students begin to go through the recruiting process, there are many aspects of college that any student will look into. Drew Delaney of Elizabethtown College is one who is very knowledgeable of not only the aspects that make a lacrosse team great, but also what makes a college experience special.

Coach Delaney began his tenure at Elizabethtown in the summer of 2013.  In his second year in 2015, he and the Blue Jays soared with a 14-3 record as well as a 7-0 conference record.

This success is nothing new to Delaney as he came to Elizabethtown with 10 years of coaching experience behind him.  As Coach Delaney continues to build a special program at Elizabethtown, we sat down with him to learn more about what makes a recruit standout, as well as what makes Elizabethtown such a extraordinary experience for any lacrosse player.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

The biggest thing when starting their college search is to figure out what type of institution they’re looking for whether it is size, location, or what majors they want.  At the end of the day this is a huge investment.  Lacrosse is an aspect of their decision, so these students need to find the right fit academically and a place that’s going to put them where they want to be at the end of their 4 years.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

I always tell players recruiting is not going to happen to them.  They have to be proactive in being found by coaches.  To get on our radar we’re looking for students who are reaching out via email and phone.   Letting us know of their interest, letting us know why they’re interested.   Providing important things like transcripts, highlights, and SAT scores are something every coach is looking for so be prepared to provide them.  The guys that are organized in getting things to coaches are the ones that stand out in the crowd.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

I think we’re looking for is potential.  With the new accelerated recruiting a lot of players are making their decisions early, which is leaving a lot of strong players who may not have developed as quickly.  We’re looking for someone who is exceptional in terms of skill level or possesses great potential in terms of athleticism.

We want to be one of the fastest teams in Division III.  We want to have an aggressive style and we want to find players who fit that style.  Having players who are slick and creative or athletes who are able to really push the tempo, those are the guys that really stand out to us.  And we obviously need defenders and goalies that don’t just get stops but create full field offense, as well.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

Obviously keeping a stick in your hand, developing the ability to throw from any angle, building some creativity.  Also, working on foot speed, and increasing strength is going to help a young player get noticed and get an opportunity.  Guys should work on becoming lacrosse strong, not weight room strong.  Train to increase your range of motion, your flexibility and your explosiveness and don’t get caught up in how much weight you are using.

What is special about playing at Elizabethtown College?

What stands out to me in my two years with the program is just how passionate our student-athletes are about the institution, as well as the program. Our guys are involved in everything on campus, whether it be clubs, organizations, or intramurals.  They’re supportive of other students on campus and it’s a full college experience where you can be involved in as many things as you want.  Our guys can pursue a lot of great majors and also compete in the highest level of Division III.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

The big thing families need to remember is it’s a big decision for these young men, as well as a big financial commitment, so it’s important to take their time.  These kids should do the research to find the right fit.  They shouldn’t feel pressure.  If students have done the work in classroom and on the field, they will have a lot of great opportunities.   Remember not making a decision quickly means you may miss out on one opportunity, but there will be many other great opportunities at another school.  Make sure you have the information you need to be comfortable making a commitment.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Drew Delaney or Elizabethtown College.

Recruiting Insight with Hope College Head Coach Michael Schanhals

For some, lacrosse is synonymous with the east coast.  However, as the game as grown over the years, schools are molding quality programs all over the country.  Michael Schanhals, head coach of Hope College, is in that category as he enters his 4th year leading the way at this Midwest school.

Coach Schanhals is quite familiar with Hope College as he played attack and goalie on Hope’s team, as well as being named captain during the 1990 season.  After college he went on to lead East Grand Rapids High School Lacrosse team to a couple of state championships before ultimately ending up back at Hope College in 2004.

We sat down with Coach Schanhals to hear more about the goals he has in mind for this program. He made it clear that though there are many attributes to a player’s game that will catch a coach’s eye, there’s nothing more promising than a recruit who can pick up a college level ground ball in a physical, fast-paced environment

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

For us, it’s school first.  Take care of your academics, do your due diligence when it comes to researching the programs that Division III schools offer academically.  I don’t think you need to know everything you want do with your life when you’re 17/18 years old, but just do a little homework before you reach out to various institutions, it will make the process a lot easier.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

First thing is, we want to see a genuine interest in coming to school to study here.  Second, you have to be a ballplayer and have a competitive attitude.  We offer a couple prospect days during the course of the school year and at the beginning of the summer. We’re on the road all summer/part of winter at different recruiting events around the county so reach out and let us know where you’re going to be and if you’re on the recruiting circuit then we will definitely look for you.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player

Obviously, the ability to play the game the right way stands out.  We look for a guy who is willing and able to get a NCAA-level ground ball.  Someone who’s going 100 miles per hour through traffic, picks it up off the ground on the first try, goes through it cleanly and is confident in making a decision with the ball right away.  Having that trait is crucial to success and you don’t want that to be a project when you step on campus.

We also look at eyes, hands, and feet.  Are you matching feet well defensively, or getting away from pressure and exploding on offense?  What happens after a good play?  What happens after a bad play?  We like to see players live so we can really grasp how they handle all aspects of the game and if they carry themselves in the right manner.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

There are a lot of different ways a kid can elevate their game, but overall athleticism is really special.  Playing sports other than lacrosse is always a benefit as it helps with your athleticism and other various skills.  There are also lacrosse specific skills, and you can do a lot with flawless stick skills. Doing daily wall ball work really does show either in a live game or a film clip.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

For families of recruits, be patient and ask questions.  Take control of the situation, as it’s a very important decision beyond lacrosse and encourage your kid make the best decision and not just fall for an early or enticing offer.  Pay attention to all factors in decision-making process not just all the different things that coaches are selling.  If you trust your kid, it will give your kid confidence in making the decision on his own.

When you visit, look the coach in the eye and make sure it’s place you want to spend time and where you want to earn your degree.  There are a lot of factors so you want to make sure you consider all angles, and you feel right about your decision.

The specific advice I would give to a kid is wherever you decide; this has to be some place where you’re comfortable, as you want to be in a growth mindset.  You are probably a really good player now but you want to be a better player.  We understand you won’t be perfect when you enter college but coaches will want you to be willing to work on whatever is needed to take your game to the next level.  That senior year of high school feels like the end but it’s really the beginning.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Michael Schanhals or Hope College.

Recruiting Insight with DePauw University Head Coach Carl Haas

When going through the college selection process, recruits will often make decisions based solely on the quality of the team or program they are planning on intending.  However, many coaches will be the first one to tell a recruit that there is also a life outside of lacrosse. Carl Haas of DePauw University is a successful coach when it comes to a growing program, but also understands what a student should get out of a college experience.

Coach Haas has been in the lead since the start, as he became the first men’s lacrosse head coach of DePauw University in 2012.  He and his players had a 6-9 record in their 2015 campaign, doubling their win total from the previous year.

We sat down with Coach Haas to hear more about the Midwest school that’s on the rise as well as some of his favorite things about DePauw.  Any recruit would be happy to find a program like DePauw that’s always trying to maximize it’s potential as well as giving it’s players an experience beyond the lacrosse field.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

First of all make sure you’re doing your homework.  As far as researching what type of school it is, size, location and also gaining a feel of the school by visiting.  Also, when you visit a campus you should ask yourself, if I did not play lacrosse here would I be happy?  Lacrosse is a major piece of your college decision, but if you can find a school that you know you would enjoy outside of lacrosse then you are on the right path.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

We can’t see every kid out there, so if somebody has an interest in us definitely reach out to us.  Also, film is so important now, as it gives us insight into players that we can’t go see at every event.  So if you do reach out to us, with a video or just an email make sure you tell me about your grades, as we want to ensure that any prospective recruit could handle the academic rigor of a Division III school such as DePauw.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

We want to get up and down the field, we want to run and gun.  We’re always looking for guys who are fast.  Beyond speed, we’ll look at a guy with a great skill set and also the guy who is a raw athlete.  Although we may not have the amount of time to be in contact with players, I like to believe there’s more coaching at this level. Due to the limited time that we have with players, we have to make sure that what we’re asking them to do is very clear, specific and has the ability to be accomplished.

For our system, we take the strengths that people bring to the table and make them work on our team.  We use the individual strengths that these players have and fit them into our system as we’d much rather do this than narrow in one specific skill type/player throughout the recruiting search.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

The speed of the game at the college level is easier adjustable than most people think.  It’s the mental side of things that I find is what I find high school players struggle to adjust to.  Some guys aren’t exposed to this so the way to combat this and better yourself is to be the smartest lacrosse player you can be, whether that means watching film, watching high quality lacrosse or studying your own game.

What is special about playing at DePauw University?

First of all, the style of play is definitely a unique asset of our team.  If you want to play early we can offer that to you if you have the right skill set.  Every year we offer first year guys a chance to play as we always put out the best guys no matter the age.

Our school is definitely a hidden gem in terms of location.  This is starting to show as in this recruiting class we have guys coming in from California, Texas, North Carolina and Maryland.  We are starting to reach out to the coast, which is very important as we look to find talent anywhere. Also, we’re highly ranked academic institution.  We give study abroad opportunities, specialized business programs and we also have Greek life options if that interests a player.  We strive to take a proactive approach about the return on investment for the students.  We care about student athletes and their life after school.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

Be honest with yourself. Say you’re a rising sophomore and a teammate commits, it will often make you feel pressure to commit right after.  You need to stay the course and go at your own pace and follow your own path.  There are 2-3 times more Division III schools than Division I schools, so the chances are just higher you will play Division III than Division I.  Be honest with yourself, be honest with your skill-set, be honest with how passionate you are and start to understand where you fit and which school you would excel at.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Carl Haas or DePauw University.

Recruiting Insight with Drew University Head Coach Thomas Leanos

Lacrosse might be an up and coming sport, but there is still room for continued success.  When you think of continued success, Tom Leanos out of Drew University is a name that comes to mind.  Drew University’s all-time leader in wins has served as head coach for over four decades.

Since Coach Leanos joined the coaching staff in 1983, his program has prided itself on being a top team as well as a close-knit community.  He and his players are all aware of the special bond that exists in this New Jersey school.

Coach Leanos has led the Rangers to the postseason 20 different times throughout his career. He believes that this team is poised for something special in the near future with the high character and class that his players show.  We sat down with Coach Leanos to learn a little more about the unique traits that he feels hint at great potential on the field, but also off the field and in the classroom.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

The reality is that for a majority of young men who want to play lacrosse at the varsity level in College, Division 3 offers the most opportunity. There are presently over 200 colleges which sponsor men’s lacrosse at the D-3 college varsity level, which is greater then both D-1 and D-2 combined. The competition level is varied, offering players of different skill level to participate.  The academic quality is also varied, so just about anyone who really wants to participate may find a school that is a good fit.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Students need to take charge of the process and don’t wait until your senior year to do so.

Use resources at your school (coaches, counselors, etc). Speak to your parents about the realities of location, academic quality, cost, quality of lacrosse program, etc. Then they, not their parents, should begin to roll their sleeves up and begin to communicate. Then begin to research the Colleges that realistically match your desires.

What impresses college coaches is when the players themselves are the one generating letters, emails, phone calls and text messages.   Coaches want to try and establish relationships with the players and best way to do that is for the students to initiate the process.

The college recruiting process has changed significantly since the information age. Don’t assume that your ability in lacrosse is going to get you into a school that might be a reach for you academically. Your grades and test scores create more opportunities and expand your possible choices.

Log into college athletic websites to see about prospect days, open houses, etc. Contact a coach by email and attach a copy of a video of your play, and your transcript. Schedule a day visit to the school and a meeting with the coach and be prepared for this visit.

Remember, coaches either recruit players, or players recruit colleges! Don’t assume that your academic fit is necessarily the right athletic fit, or vice versa. The college coach will give you that info, as will the college admissions office.

How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

The culture has really changed over the past 4-5 years with the summers and club programs.  It pushes the process from both the players perspective but also the coaches and colleges perspective.

Coaches who can receive early commitments in this environment really help their program and school.  Not only coming from the athletic department and coaches, but also coming from the admissions office, parents and students. It really means that the students, parents, coaches, admissions offices, etc. all have to be prepared for this early process. Early academic reads, likely letters, financial aid offers, athletic scholarship offers, and most importantly, families, need to be prepared earlier and earlier.

As a coach, I need to be prepared much earlier and so does my school. It’s a really different process then the regular student applicant approach to college search. I’ve really been pushed to become more fluent with my phone and my computer.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

The first thing I look for is a young man that’s motivated.  One who displays interest in our school from the beginning and makes it known to us.  As much as players like to feel wanted by a coach, it goes both ways.  We look at the little things. Do they hustle, do they stand in the back of a huddle talking to their buddies when a coach is speaking. Do they have good lacrosse or sports IQ.  We want guys who are eager and are good citizens. Raw athletes need to be developed with time. A refined lacrosse player with good skills is great but the better the level of the college program, the deeper the team will be with skilled players. The intangibles may make the difference in the long run. Are they good students? A player who isn’t clouded by concern for grades, or other campus issues will be able to focus more on what he is able to give to the team while on the practice and game field.

We try to do our homework on our recruits. Many times from recommendations from their high school or club coaches, as well as our own players who may host a young man for an overnight campus visit. We want young men who are willing to “buy in” to what it takes to be a successful college athlete both on the field and off the field.

What is special about playing at Drew University?

From the beginning, Drew’s location stood out to me as distinctive. Drew is geographically situated in the middle of the highest concentration of  high school lacrosse in the country withNY, NJ, PA, New England, and MD all within 4 hours from campus.  The location near one of the most vibrant cities in the world offers our students a variety of opportunities while they are undergraduates as well as graduates.

Also, we are members of the Landmark Conference in lacrosse. It is competitive from top to bottom. Since 2008, which was the inaugural season for the conference lacrosse play, we have seen 6 schools win the conference tournament title (Drew, Merchant Marine, Goucher, Scranton, Susquehanna, and Catholic.) and advance to Post Season play.  Although Merchant Marine will be departing the Landmark for the Skyline Conference, we have added Elizabethtown in 2015 and will add Moravian in 2017.

Drew is special because of the guys who have played here. They are close knit and support the program and are proud to be called Drew Rangers!  They enrolled at Drew as young men and graduated as men! In the last week, I have dinner with two of my former players who are attorney’s in Morristown, NJ, and spoke to one of our HOF players who just became a dad!  This is what it’s all about! This is what makes Drew special!

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

Do your homework, research the school and get to know it before you begin making decisions.  It will make your experience so much better in terms of going into a program that you have an understanding of the feel of the school. Also, if you go visit a school, try and check out a class and spend a night on campus.  Also, try to spend a similar night on campus, not just a Friday or Saturday. Evaluate the campus’ during a time when it’s not just about the social activities That way you will have a much better feel as to what the school is like on a day-to-day basis

Also, college isn’t utopia. It rarely satisfies all of your dreams and aspirations! Give it time! If at the end of your college playing days you can say that you got a quality education, had a satisfying athletic experience, made lifelong friends, and learned much about yourself and how you relate in a team environment, then your experience has been a good one.

As Earl Weaver, baseball HOF manager once said! “It’s what I learned after I thought that I knew it all that made a real difference in my managing”!

Go Rangers!

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Tom Leanos or Drew University.

Lees-McRae Names Andrew Bascom as New Assistant Coach

This week it has been announced that coach Andrew Bascom will become the newest assistant coach to the Lees-McRae lacrosse program.

“We are fortunate to have Andrew helping our men’s lacrosse program and we look forward to continuing its growth,” praised McPhail.

Prior to joining Bobcat nation, Bascom spent the last 19 months as the assistant coach at Wheelock College in Boston, Mass. With the Wildcats, he assisted the head coach in all recruiting aspects and practice plans.

Bascom was a four-year varsity starter at Western Connecticut State and was tabbed captain during his senior campaign. He earned his bachelors in communication studies while amassing 39 points and over 150 groundballs in his career as a Colonial.

“I would like to thank Mr. McPhail and President (Barry) Buxton for the opportunity to work with the men’s lacrosse program and to be a part of the Lees-McRae family,” said Bascom. “I would also like to thank Coach Darry Thornton for giving me the opportunity to work with and learn from him. Darry has so much knowledge and experience to pass on and I’m ready to take it all in and get to work. I am very excited to be a part of an up and coming program and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”

He was the head coach for Brookfield Youth Lacrosse from March 2013 to June 2013 and spent time as the BOSS Lacrosse head coach from June 2012 to Aug. 2012.

“I am pleased to welcome Andrew Bascom to the Lees-McRae community and our men’s lacrosse program. It is a great time to be a Bobcat as our growth continues both on and off the lacrosse field,” praised head coach Darry Thornton. “Andrew exemplifies everything I am looking for in an assistant coach. His energy, passion and drive will benefit our program as we move forward.”

Since Sept. 2012, Bascom has worked as the assistant general manager at Wilton Sport and Fitness in Wilton, Conn. He is responsible for organizing all parties while offering private coaching lessons and clinics for all age ranges.