This past week National 175 held its tournament, Best of the Best, on Long Island. After talking to some of the 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.