The Rochester Knighthawks have re-signed local product Joe Walters to a two-year deal. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The Rochester Knighthawks have announced that the team has re-signed local lacrosse product Joe Walters to a two-year deal. The former West Irondequoit High School star enters his sixth season with the Knighthawks in 2014 after winning back-to-back NLL Championships with the club.
“I am happy that the front office has done an outstanding job keeping our team together, which I am sure was one of their main goals” said Walters. “I am grateful to be a part of this championship team.”
Walters left his mark on the 2013 NLL Championship, as he scored the game-winning goal in an 11-10 victory over the Washington Stealth. It was part of a six-point night (1+5), which tied him with teammate Cody Jamieson (3+3) – who was named Championship Game MVP – for most points in the title game.
“He works so hard on his game, and he has great vision. By far, he’s one of the elite passers in the league and he works hard on his shot,” said Jamieson. “He brings a new dynamic to our offense with the way he can break down defenses.”
The championship capped off the greatest offensive year of his career. Walters collected career highs in goals (9), assists (25) and points (34). In the postseason, he finished tied for third on the team with 12 points in three games. With 46 points in his last 18 games, the former four-time college All-American stands poised for a breakout season.
“I think Joe is finding his stride here. He is executing the pick-and-roll fairly well with Johnny (Powless). Those two are running the two-man game well. He is a good ball carrier, has a good outside shot and he has a great first step. We are looking forward to a big year from him,” said Knighthawks Assistant Coach Andy Secore.
Walters has thrived the past two seasons, notching 38 assists and 50 points, which is the best two-year run of his career.
“He has worked hard on his game going in the summer,” said Knighthawks Assistant Coach Paul Day. “He has worked real hard on his pick and roll game with Johnny Powless and his understanding of the indoor game. He still hasn't reached his potential and he is in the best shape of his career. He will continue to be an impact player.”
Walters and Powless have provided a solid one-two punch on the left side of the Knighthawks’ offense. Powless, a former fifth overall pick, has recorded 91 points in his first two seasons as a pro. On many occasions, he scores off assists from Walters.
“Joe Walters has great vision and sees the floor very well, which makes him fun to play with,” he said.
“We’ve formed a lot of chemistry over the last couple of years. I’ve learned so much from playing with everyone on our team. To play alongside and learn from guys like Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson has been amazing,” added Walters. “With Johnny, even though he is so young, I find myself just watching him in practice and being in awe. It’s pretty awesome to play with him every day.”
Walters, 29, has also continued to excel in the community, teaching kids about the dangers of bullying. To date, he has spoken to over 5,000 kids as part of the team’s “We Got Your Back” anti-bullying campaign. He was subsequently awarded the Knighthawks Community Service Award the past four seasons. He even earned NLL All-Green Team honors for his work in the Rochester community in 2013.
Re-signing with the Knighthawks has allowed the former season ticket holder to continue a dream that started back in 1995 when Rochester kicked off its inaugural season.
“It’s a unique situation and very special to play for the team I grew up watching,” he said. “Playing in front of friends and family never gets old.”