NATIONALS BATTLE FOR ROOKIE SCORING TITLE
4/27/12 12:00 AM
(April 27, 2012)… In less than a month, Kevin Crowley and Adam Jones could join the Hamilton Nationals in their quest to return to the Major League Lacrosse Finals. Yet, for one more weekend, the two youngsters will go head-to-head to win the National Lacrosse League rookie scoring race.
“It’s tough not to keep an eye on how the other rookies are doing in the league, but at the end of the day it's about playing to the best of your ability game-in and game-out and doing what it takes to help your team win,” said Crowley.
“It feels great. It's a real honor,” said Jones. “Kevin is a good friend of mine. I’m glad the race is having a positive impact on our season and hopefully that continues.”
The players are among the top choices for the NLL Thunder Tribe Rookie of the Year Award. Jones is eighth in the NLL with 73 points (28+45) and has a six-point lead over Crowley with one game to play. Crowley is second on the Philadelphia Wings and 12th in the NLL with 67 points (36+31).
Jones and the Mammoth play in front of a national TV audience at 7:30 p.m. on CBS SportsNet against the Minnesota Swarm at the Xcel Energy Center. The game is a preview of the West Division Semifinals, which is slated for the Pepsi Center at a date and time to be determined.
Crowley and the Wings travel to Rochester to play the Knighthawks at 7:30 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. The game has playoff implications for Philadelphia, who can clinch a home playoff game with a win. The Wings can also capture the East Division title with a win and a Toronto loss to Edmonton. With a win, Philadelphia would secure its first home game since 2002.
Both players are enjoying their first playoff runs in the NLL. Crowley was the first overall selection in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, while Jones was picked third overall by the Mammoth.
“Playing in the NLL is everything I imagined it to be. It's great to have the chance to play the game I love in front of thousands of people every weekend,” said Crowley. “With the playoffs right around the corner there’s added incentive on winning every game and I think that shows on the floor in every player’s competitiveness and intensity.”
“It is something to strive for and that's the reason we play: To win a championship,” said Jones.
It’s only natural that Jones and Crowley are focused on the NLL Playoffs and a shot at winning the Champion’s Cup in their first seasons. Right now, Jones is totally committed to the Mammoth and a long playoff run.
“Right now I am all in with Mammoth,” he said. “I'll cross that bridge at the appropriate time.”
Jones was a two-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) First Team performer in his four-year career at Canisius College. He was also the first player in the program’s history to garner All-American honors, as well as the first to be named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. The Owen Sound, Ontario, native was selected by Hamilton in the 10th round (79th overall) in the 2012 Major League Lacrosse Supplemental Draft.
Crowley enters his second season with the Nats after finishing sixth on the team with 20 points (14+6) in 10 games. The Stony Brook standout was the Nationals’ first-round selection (first overall) in the 2011 MLL Collegiate Draft. The New Westminster, BC, star was a key part of the Nationals’ team that advanced to the MLL Finals in 2011.
“I'm looking forward to this upcoming MLL season,” said Crowley. “We have a great core of guys hungry to get back to that championship game.”
The Nats head into the 2012 season after an impressive 2011 campaign that landed the team in the MLL Finals. Nationals will open the 2012 season against the Denver Outlaws, on Saturday, May 5th at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The 9:00 p.m. contest will be featured on ESPN3.
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.