(LYNDHURST, NJ): .The National Lacrosse League has announced that Columbus Landsharks forward Tracey Kelusky has been named the 2000-2001 NLL Rookie of the Year.
The first overall selection in the 2000 NLL Entry Draft lived up to all the hype during his rookie season in the League. Kelusky, the 5-8, 170-pound forward from Peterborough, Ontario, led all NLL rookies in scoring. In 14 games, Kelusky collected 51 points on 24 goals and 27 assists (24 27=51). Kelusky also finished second among rookies in loose balls with 98 behind teammate Marshall Abrams (115).
Kelusky's season was filled with many highlight moments during his first year on the turf for the 'Sharks. Kelusky's top performance of his career came against the Buffalo Bandits on March 2, when he picked up four goals and assisted on eight others to lead his Landsharks against the high-powered Bandits. Kelusky's 12-point performance earned him NLL Player of the Week honors.
Kelusky achieved all this while battleing with more than just the League's top defenders. The rookie played the entire season with two broken ribs. The Landsharks captain continued to play his physical style of play with astounding success, regardless of the injury.
"Tracey showed a lot of courage by leading this team, despite playing with broken ribs," Columbus Head Coach Marty Cooper said. "We can only imagine what a healthy Tracey Kelusky can do."
Kelusky's leadership both on and off the floor was quite evident the entire season. Kelusky added to his own personal highlight reelwith each touch of the ball. From Kelusky's over-the -shoulder goal with a New York Saints defender draped over him in his first NLL game, to his unbelievable goal to force overtime with five seconds remaining in regulation time against the Ottawa Rebel, Kelusky has done it all.
Kelusky joined last season's Rookie of the Year, the Rochester Knighthawks' John Grant as the only players to be named the NLL Rookie of the Month twice (January and March).
Kelusky will be honored by NLL Commissioner Jim Jennings during a special ceremony at halftime of Friday night's Champion's Cup Finals at the Air Canada Centre.
On Thursday, April 26, the National Lacrosse League will announce the 2000-2001 Most Valuable Player.