The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2016 NLL Rookie of the Year award. The Calgary Roughnecks’ Wesley Berg and Georgia Swarm’s Jesse King and Randy Staats were voted as the top trio of players from this year’s rookie class.
Berg ranked third on the Roughnecks and 26th overall in scoring, second among NLL rookies in goals (27) and first in power play goals (9), third in assists (40) and points (67), and fourth among rookies and first among first-year forwards in loose balls (88). Berg recorded three or more points in 15 games with three hat tricks and seven multi-goal games in 18 games played. The 23-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C. played collegiately at the University of Denver where he won a national title in 2015 and was named the tournament’s MVP. The two-time All-American and Tewaaraton Award finalist finished as Denver’s all-time leading scorer and scored the second-most goals in NCAA Tournament history (39). Berg was drafted by Calgary in the first round (4th overall) of the 2015 NLL Draft and was named NLL Rookie of the Month for March.
King finished third on the Swarm in scoring with 77 points, second-most among rookies and 18th-most overall, and finished second in assists (55), fourth in goals (22), plus fifth among rookies and third among first-year forwards in loose balls (83). He posted three or more points in 15 games with four hat tricks and five games with six-plus points in 17 games played. The Victoria, B.C. native played collegiately at Ohio State University, where he finished fourth all-time in program history with 208 points and 119 goals, and was a three-time USILA All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist. The 23-year-old, who was selected by Georgia in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2015 NLL Draft, won NLL Rookie of the Month for February.
Staats set the new NLL single-season rookie scoring record with 95 points, which led the Swarm and were 10th-most in the league overall. Staats led all rookies in points (95), goals (36) and assists (59), and was second in power play goals (8) and fifth in loose balls (84), second-most among first-year forwards. He posted six or more points in nine games including six hat tricks and 14 multi-goal games in 18 games played. The 23-year-old from Six Nations, Ont. played collegiately at Syracuse University and was Georgia’s first-round (6th overall) selection in the 2015 NLL Draft. Staats was a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist in 2014 and two-time NJCAA Player of the Year at Onondaga C.C. in 2012 and 2013. Staats won the NLL Rookie of the Month award in January and April.
The 2016 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 27 in Toronto, Ont.
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Thursday, June 30: Most Valuable Player award finalists
Tuesday, July 5: Teammate of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, July 6: Air Canada Wingman of the Year award finalists
Thursday, July 7: Executive of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 11: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 27: 2016 NLL Season Awards Ceremony