The Syracuse Orange had four players selected in the 2017 MLL Draft, including two in the first round. The event was held at Toby Keith’s at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA.
Sunday was the second time in the last two years that Syracuse has had two players selected in the first round. The Orange now have the most players selected in MLL drafts of any school, the most first round picks of any school, and have had a player selected in every draft.
Back when I did a stint with the MLL, the Draft was held at Stevens University on the Wednesday after Championship Weekend. It’s moved around on the calendar quite a bit since then, but I think holding it on the division I off-day during the Tournament is a good move. Patriot Place wasn’t around when I grew up in Boston but I actually loved the one in Syracuse (I know I’m probably alone on that one).
This will be David Gross’s last year as the Commissioner of the MLL as he will step down after the 2017 season. After a two year stint with the Boston Cannons, Gross was hired as the Commissioner in 2004. I was an intern with the League during the 2009 summer, although he always told us never to call ourselves “interns”. I’ve had a lot of experience interning in both the sports and legal world, and have never worked under an organization’s leader who took more interest in simply teaching and educating lowly interns. Every monday we sat down with David and he taught us about a different aspect of the business. I learned a tremendous amount that summer and will always be grateful for my experience with the League and the personal interest he took in making sure every one of his “summer employees” benefited from their time in the office and received a truly educational experience. I wish him nothing but the best in whatever he does after the MLL.
Back to the draft...
The first overall selection featured the Florida Launch snatching up attackman Dylan Molloy of the Brown Bears. Notre Dame’s Sergio Perkovic was the second pick going to the Boston Cannons while Matt Rambo of the Maryland Terrapins was selected third by the Charlotte Hounds.
In addition to the first pick, the Florida Launch had the fourth pick after trading Matt Landis and Rob Haus to the Boston Cannons. With that fourth selection, the Launch took Syracuse’s Nick Mariano. Four picks later, the Launch were on the clock again after they received the eighth spot in the draft for trading Lyle Thompson and former Syracuse Orange Jeremy Thompson to the Chesapeake Bayhawks. With the eighth pick, Florida grabbed Sergio Salcido. Both Salcido and Mariano were expected to go in the first round, so not much of a surprise here. With those two picks the Launch now have four Syracuse players including Steven Brooks and Jovan Miller.
It’s hard to argue that Salcido and Mariano have not the best midfield combination in college lacrosse the last year or two, so it will be interesting to see if they are placed on the same midfield line for their pro careers with Florida. Nice package pickup for the Launch.
As part of that trade between Florida and Chesapeake, the Bayhawks received the 38th overall pick (5th round) and with its selection took Ben Williams. I saw a lot of mock drafts in which Williams was predicted to go in the second round, so this is a pretty big fall for him but he really didn’t help himself in the second half of the 2017 season.
The Bayhawks are last in the MLL at the X with a .444 faceoff winning percentage. They certainly needed a fogo and Williams was one of three faceoff guys the franchise took including Stephen Kelly of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Jake Froccaro of the Villanova Wildcats. Froccaro is not really a fogo and he actually picked up 48 points this past year while winning .525 percent of his faceoffs. Williams went 28-53 against Kelly in two games this season but the two are polar opposites in terms of the styles they play. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
The final Syracuse player selected was Scott Firman, taken by the New York Lizards with the 43rd pick (5th round). Firman really stepped up this year and was the rock of the Syracuse defense. He did a ton of work on the field to find his way into the draft, really helping himself with his 2017 play.
There were only two Syracuse seniors who started a game this year who did not get selected, Evan Molloy and Jordan Evans. Neither player not being selected was much of a surprise.
Looking ahead to next year’s senior class, I think the Orange only get one selection in the 2018 MLL Draft, Brendan Bomberry.
Congratulations to Firman, Williams, Salcido, Mariano, and the rest of the senior class. These guys treated us to one of the most exciting, if not anxiety inducing, regular seasons. Good luck.