Top recruits who are well rounded and lead both on the field and in the classroom can use their grades to open doors, which in lacrosse recruiting is the number of colleges you can play for. We spoke with Colgate University, Head Coach Mike Murphy, about what young players can do in order to continue to grow as a lacrosse player and as an individual.
In his third season at the helm of the Colgate men’s lacrosse program, Coach Murphy has compiled an impressive 31-18 (.632) record and has been to the Patriot League Tournament three times. In 2012 he led the Colgate Raiders to a Patriot League regular-season title. Finishing with a record of 14-4, including a 6-0 road mark, a 6-2 record against nationally-ranked opponents, and a win over undefeated No. 1 Massachusetts in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to becoming the head coach at Colgate University, Murphy, served as an assistant coach at Army. In his seven seasons with the Black Knights, Coach Murphy’s defensive teams consistently ranked among the best both in the Patriot League and nationally. Having coached for and against some best teams in the country, Coach Mike Murphy offers great prospective on the college lacrosse landscape.
What advice do you have for players interested in Division I schools?
Get your grades up; the most important thing is to focus on schoolwork. My advice, even for the young guys who make that early commitment and think the pressure is off them because they’ve already committed to play somewhere is to continue working hard and take Advance Placement and Honors courses in High School that challenge you. The intensity of college and the workload you are expected to handle is an eye opener for many young people and by taking a challenging course load in High School you can better prepare yourself for college.
What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar ?
The best way for players to get on my recruiting radar is to be proactive. Show coaches you have an interest in their program. Create a recruiting profile that shows coaches the tournaments and showcases you will be attending as well as any highlight clips you may have. Attend coach’s prospect days, for example the Colgate Prospect day is run like a regular Colgate practice. We limit it to a maximum of 50 players and bring in local DIII coaches to help increase competition and exposure.
What type of player’s do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
Colgate looks for guys that are going to compete and play hard. There isn’t a perfect model of a lacrosse player that we look for but we are looking for guys who work hard at their game and have begun to hone their skills. Players, who can play both sides of the field and contribute positively on both offense and defense. Midfielders that can play in between the lines and be go both ways. Attackmen who can make crisp clean passes and finish around the cage. Long Poles that can run well and can translate defense into offense. At Colgate, we want guys that are always trying to improve their game and who compete in and out of the classroom.
What areas of player development would you recommend players to focus on?
The areas of development that I would recommend players to work on are first their stick skills. If you’re an athletic kid with polished stick skills then you don’t have to worry as much about that in college. Instead you can worry more about learning the game and how to make your teammates better. Players who constantly work on their stick skills are able to pick up the college game quicker. Take your stick out in the yard and work on your skills by throwing the ball off the wall, the wall will never get tired, I promise. We like to see players who have great lacrosse IQ’s and know the ins and outs of the game. An awesome way to do this is to simply watch lacrosse. There are plenty of ways to stream, watch and learn about the game.
How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?
At Colgate before we can fully commit to a player we have to make sure that their academic standing matches their athletic ability. This makes us susceptible to the accelerated recruiting process because we cannot offer scholarships to players until we are positive they can handle the academic rigors of Colgate University. However, accelerated recruiting allows us to find kids that fall through the cracks. Colgate University, which would be considered a midmajor in basketball terms, finds kids that develop late and turn into really good players. Personally, I dislike the accelerated recruiting process because of the negative effects it has on the players and their families.
The accelerated recruiting process pressures young players into making a decision early in their lacrosse careers before really finding out more information about the school. Factors such as distance, cost, style of play, academics are all important parts of making your college decision. I believe the accelerated recruiting process is the cause for players making regretful decisions and the reason for transfer rates in college increasing.
Great, thanks Coach Murphy. Any final thoughts?
As a coach you want players who come into your program and are willing to accept roles. Take Peter Baum for example, arguably the best player in Colgate Men’s Lacrosse history, Peter made a conscious decision to go to Colgate University and was able to play and start all four years. It’s all about finding the right fit and deciding on a school were you can see the field and make a positive impact on the program.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Colgate University or Mike Murphy.