According to IL Indoor, Onondaga Community College's Randy Staats is one of the top prospects for the 2015 NLL Entry Draft. (Photo: Jim Commentucci)
With the 2013 NLL Entry Draft right around the corner, IL Indoor co-editor and draft guru Stephen Stamp continues his comprehensive coverage by looking way ahead to the 2015 Draft, which will include coveted draft-eligible prospects such as Onondaga Community College's Randy Staats, University of Denver's Wes Berg and University at Albany's Lyle Thompson.
"Last week, the Prospect Tracker took at look at the early candidates for the top picks in the 2014 draft," Stamp writes. "We also put in a tease about the 2015 crop of players. Well, you don’t have to wait any longer as this week IL Indoor brings you the top players expected to be coming into the NLL Entry Draft in 2015 to be rookies in the 2016 season. And while the 2013 Draft was a good one and 2014 promises to be as well, neither has the depth of potential star power that the 2015 annual talent distribution exercise promises."
Randy Staats, RF, Six Nations Arrows and Onondaga Community College
"Four years ago, a 16-year-old Staats would probably have been a first-round pick if he’d entered the draft. He put up 39 goals and 56 for 95 points, good for fourth in OLA Jr A, and was named the league’s most valuable player. Remember, he was 16! Then, disaster struck and struck again. Staats (pronounced like Stotts) missed back to back seasons with devastating knee injuries. He returned to the Arrows in 2012 and posted 85 points in 17 games and earned second team all-star status. This year, Staats missed a big chunk of games with yet more lower-body trouble, although this time it was a staph-like infection that took a chunk of flesh from just above his knee. Through all that, the willowy forward has kept a positive attitude and has never lost his talent. He’s once again a second-team forward, this time after scoring 71 points in just 12 games. Despite speculation every year that he is entering the draft, Staats remains commited to his education and will be heading to Syracuse in the fall."
Wesley Berg, RF, Coquitlam Adanacs and University of Denver
"Even with everything that Staats brings to the table, he still may not wind up being the first pick overall, because Berg is a dynamo of a player who should only get better over the next couple of years. The 2012 Minto Cup was the last time the Adanacs fearsome foursome got to play together: Matthew Dinsdale went in the 2012 draft, Robert Church will go this year and Ben McIntosh will be selected high in 2014. Dinsdale was a first rounder and Church and McIntosh likely will be as well. But Berg may be the best of the bunch. He’s athletic, he’s a great shooter with terrific hands and versatility. Like Staats, he showed his promise early, putting up 60 goals and 54 assists for 114 points in his 18-year-old season in 2011. What a consolation prize either of these two players will be for the team that just misses out on the first pick."
Graeme Hossack, LD, Whitby Warriors and Lindenwood University
"'Big hoss' is a prototypical shut-down D man. He’s big, strong, quick and has just enough of a mean streak to be not fun to play against. He’s also displayed some new skill to his game this summer, scoring 7 goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 19 games. He’s lost the OLA Jr A’s defender of the year award the last two summers, to worthy opponents Jason Noble and Derek Searle, but he could easily have won either. A couple summers of MSL ball, where the Brooklin Redmen will surely snag him as a territorial protection, should help him be even more ready to step right into an NLL lineup and contribute."
Turner Evans, LF, Peterborough Lakers and Ohio State
"Turner Evans is built a lot like his cousin Shawn Evans, the Calgary Roughnecks star and reigning NLL MVP. Turner has a wicked outside shot and creates lots of opportunities for his teammates. He’s not afraid to muck it up physically. Turner scored 98 points in just his second year in junior, in 2011. This summer he had an even better season in terms of points per game, scoring 28 goals and 58 assists for 86 points in just 16 games after returning from Ohio State. He added 15 goals and 36 assists for 51 points in 10 playoff games. He was named a first-team OLA Jr A all-star this summer."
Lyle Thompson, Caughnawaga Indians and University at Albany
"Thompson gets plenty of attention for his role in the movie Crooked Arrows and he’s a legitimate player in the real world as well. He scored 35 goals and 53 assists for 88 points with the Indians of the Quebec Senior B Lacrosse League this summer as an affiliated player. Lyle may be the best of the Thompson brothers, including Jeremy and Jerome who have already played in the NLL. To catch a glimpse of what makes Lyle a special player, let’s turn back to the screen for a college goal that was captured in this video clip."
"That is just a sampling from the depth of the 2015 NLL entry draft candidates," Stamp added. "There are more players who have already established themselves as prospects to keep an eye on and there will be plenty who emerge over the course of the next two years."