NATIONALS' DRAFT DAY MEMORIES
1/13/12 12:00 AM
(Hamilton, January 13)… For 64 college kids around the country, tonight will mark a special moment in their lacrosse careers. The Hamilton Nationals will make January 13, 2012, a day to remember for eight college lacrosse players as they make their selections at the 2012 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft.
The Nationals have the seventh-overall selection in the draft, which will take place from 8:30 to 11:00 p.m. at the Marriott Liberty Ballroom in Philadelphia. The Draft will be streamed live on the MLL Website, majorleaguelacrosse.com.
Draft Day has special significance for every player in the MLL. Nationals Joe Walters and Kevin Crowley both reminisced about the day they joined the professional ranks. For four-time All-American Joe Walters it was the beginning of a whirlwind week. The University of Maryland star made the jump immediately and has never looked back. Well, except for today, when he the two-time MLL champion and three-time All-MLL team selection went back to the start of his pro career.
“MLL Draft day is an exciting experience. I remember a big trade went down giving Rochester the first pick so I was really hoping they would take me first overall, giving me the opportunity to play in front of my hometown,” said Walters, who was picked in 2006. “It was a busy week surrounding the draft, with the NCAA Final Four, Tewaaraton Banquet and the All-American Banquet, then flying right out to LA for my first MLL game with the Rattlers. I am grateful Jody Gage and staff had confidence in me to take me first overall. As they say, the rest is history.”
This evening, the 12th Collegiate Draft in MLL history headlines the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention. The Long Island Lizards will select first and the Ohio Machine will select second. Last season, the Nationals owned the first-overall selection and tabbed two-time All-American Kevin Crowley out of Stony Brook University. Crowley finished his career as Stony Brook’s all-time point leader with 232 (131+101). In 2011, he was named a First Team All-American and the winner of the USILA's Lt. Donald McLaughlin, Jr. Award for Outstanding Midfielder of the Year. The New Westminster, BC, native scored 30 goals and added 26 assists this and earned a fourth straight First Team All-America East selection. In 2010, he was honored as the USILA Enners Award, given to nation's most outstanding Division I player and a First Team All-American nod. Getting selected by the Nationals gave Crowley the chance to introduce the MLL to the sports fans in Hamilton, Ontario.
“I was excited to take the next step to becoming a professional athlete and excited to represent a new team and new community of lacrosse fans,” said the Nationals’ second-year midfielder, who recorded 20 points in 10 games in his MLL rookie season.
The Nats head into the 2012 season after an impressive 2011 campaign that landed the team in the league Finals. After finishing with a 7-5 record, Hamilton knocked off Denver to advance to the MLL title game, but fell one goal shy to the Boston Cannons, 10-9.
Tonight is an opportunity to add to a roster that nearly brought the Nats a second title in three seasons. Stephen Keogh, who was the 25th overall pick in last year’s draft, was one of the players taken in a Hamilton draft class named one of the best ever. After winning two national championships (2008 and 2009) and earning two-time All-American status at Syracuse, the Toronto native scored seven goals in three games for Hamilton. He will watch the draft to learn the next crop of Nationals’ rookies and spot any former Orange teammates that get selected.
“I'm excited for the players who are in the draft for this coming year. It's a real talented draft and I am excited to see who the Nationals pick up to help make our team even better,” said Keogh. “Excited to see what happens and hoping to see some Syracuse guys taken.”
The Nationals will open the 2012 season against the Denver Outlaws, on Saturday, May 5th at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Hamilton makes its home debut on Friday, May 18th with an 11:00 a.m. contest against the Chesapeake Bayhawks at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. For ticket information, contact the Nationals Ticket Office at (905) 768-2225.