Closing the generation gap
Lacrosse experts compare NCAA's young stars to those of the past
Lacrosse experts Kyle Harrison and Brett Hughes are back to debate the college game after a historic weekend in NCAA lax (which Kyle admittedly missed, tsk-tsk). This week, the former All-Americans have today's superstars on their minds.
Which players today are reminiscent of players who defined past generations?
Brett Hughes: K-Harri, you and I are right in the middle of these young guys coming up and the old guard of an absolutely amazing generation of lacrosse players. Duke's Max Quinzani is such a spark plug of a lacrosse player. He can really drive that corner quicker than most, reminding me of a Drew McKnight, but he has a little bit to grow before he is on that level. Both McKnight and Quinzani never seem to back down, either, which is why McKnight was one of my all-time favorite players.
I would also say a guy such as Maryland's Will Yeatman reminds me of former Loyola player and current Long Island Lizard Tim "The Monster" Goettelmann. Both are just absolute loads when they get going.
Kyle Harrison: As far as players from today reminding me of players from the past, there are definitely a few who stick out in my head. Ben Hunt, the middie from North Carolina, reminds me of former Carolina middie Bryant Will. Maybe it's the long strides they both take when they run or the fact that they are both pretty tall players, but I think they have the same style of play as well. Both unselfish guys who can dodge, draw a slide and move the ball to the open man. I saw Hunt have a huge play against Maryland a few weeks back, blowing by his pole, drawing a slide and making a difficult pass across his body to a wide-open attackman waiting for the ball (who finished it).
Yeatman actually reminds me of Ian Dingman from Navy a few years back. Both big guys who use their bodies but have slick sticks as well. I feel like Will is starting to understand how big he is and how difficult he is to cover. He'll get better every game and find new ways to use his body, the same way Dingman did.
What is the game you're looking forward to most?
BH: The Virginia-Maryland seven-OT thriller -- and Tiger Woods reminding us that he is the most dominant and exciting athlete (along with LeBron James) in sports today -- got me thinking about all the huge games coming up. The Big City Classic is this weekend (ESPNU, noon and 2:30 p.m. ET). I can imagine some of those games will be unreal (Virginia plays UNC, followed by Syracuse-Princeton and Hofstra-Delaware), not to mention Giants Stadium will be an amazing environment to watch a game.
That being said, I'm not going with UVA versus UNC or Syracuse versus Princeton; I want to see what happens in the Cornell-Harvard game. An Ivy League matchup that will showcase more than just some great players, I think the game will show us where both of these teams really stand as we start to look toward May. The Ivy is going to be a fun conference to watch unfold, so I'll have my eye on this game. Cornell is the better team, but I think Harvard is a hungry team, and my Cinderella choice. I'm seeing a Harvard upset, which would bring both teams to 6-2.
KH: Going with Harvard, huh? Interesting choice; it should be a good game. Unfortunately for the boys at Harvard, I don't see Max Seibald & Co. losing this one.
I'd love to pick another game and another team, but the Johns Hopkins-Albany game is a big one this week. Hop took a loss last week at UNC and now sits at 3-4, while Albany sits at 5-2. With Maryland, Navy, Towson and Loyola on the schedule, this is a tough couple of weeks for the Blue Jays. They'll come out fired up, but they aren't playing the Albany of old. It'll be a tough game at Homewood Field on Saturday afternoon. I'm going with Hopkins by 2.
Best shooter in the college game:
KH: Maryland's Grant Catalino
BH: Johns Hopkins' Kyle Wharton
Best all-around player:
KH: Cornell's Max Seibald
BH: Virginia's Danny Glading
Best place to play (location, not field):
KH: North Carolina
BH: Charlottesville, Va.
2009 men's basketball champions:
KH: North Carolina
BH: North Carolina
In honor of basketball's Final Four, who is your early lacrosse Final Four?BH: When it comes to men's hoops, I have to say I am a huge UNC fan. I know that's tough to hear coming from a University of Virginia guy, but it's Michael Jordan; he made it hard for me not to cheer for the Tar Heels. So with UNC, Villanova, UConn and Michigan State rounding off the basketball Final Four, here's my pick for the men's lacrosse Final Four: Virginia, Cuse, Princeton and Maryland.
C'mon, Harri, I want your choice now so we can both see how bad you end up in May.
KH: Stop mentioning Michael Jordan all the time to try to soften me up. MJ can't save you. Though I still think it's too early to tell, my Final Four picks are Virginia, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins (don't hate; this was the Jays' record at this time in 2007 and then they didn't lose a game the rest of the year) and Cornell. I'd be lying if I said I was positive here, but at this point in the season, these are the four I'd pick.
Brett Hughes is the lacrosse editor of ESPNRISE.com, ESPN's high school sports site. Check out his blog.