Logan Schuss from Ohio State University is ranked first by IL Indoor and projected to be the top pick in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft. (Photo: Ohio State Athletics)
The 2013 NLL Entry Draft is almost here and draft analyst Stephen Stamp finishes off his countdown of top prospects on IL Indoor with players ranked 1st-15th. The Combine from Sept. 14-15 and Draft on Sept. 16 will both take place at TRAC and are open to the public with free admission. Can't make it to Oakville, Ont.? Watch the Combine Prospects Game at 2 p.m. on Sunday and the Draft at 7 p.m. on Monday, both live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.
"Now we reach the cream of the crop of prospects for the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft," Stamp writes. "This draft is not quite as strong as last year’s very deep talent distribution exercise, nor is it as strong as the remarkable drafts coming up in 2014 and especially in 2015. But there is talent to be had, with some sure fire first-round caliber players followed by lots of guys who could go anywhere from late-first round to the third or even fourth round.
"Today’s installment has the top 15 prospects we’ve identified, plus a little bonus: a couple of players who declared for the draft after we had already published the 31-50 and 16-30 lists. Peter Dubenski becomes the third-rated goalie and Reid Mydske fits in among the plethora of defenders looking to find a home in the NLL."
1 – Logan Schuss – LF, New Westminster Salmonbellies
Because of his school commitments at Ohio State, Schuss never did play a full Jr A season with the Delta Islanders. He played just 12, 9, 9 and 9 games between 2009 and 2012. Therefore, he didn’t put up the 100-plus point seasons that can grab lots of attention. But he averaged five and a half points per game for his career and was always a dominant force. The 6-foot, 215-pound forward barely slowed his pace upon reaching the WLA, posting a 29/27/56 line in just 12 games. Schuss is big, strong, talented, a team player and shoots left-handed. He’s an elite talent with strong character. Not much more you could ask for in a top pick.
2 – Jason Noble – LD, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks
If you wanted to make a selection on the other side of the ball with the top choice, though, you’d find it difficult to uncover a more perfect candidate than Jason Noble. The only knock on him is his size. It doesn’t take long watching him, though, to realize that it’s not an issue. Noble won three Minto Cups with the Orangeville Northmen and was a key contributor to all of them. He was named the OLA Jr A defender of the year in 2012 and went second overall (behind his twin brother Jeremy) in the 2013 MSL draft. Noble is shockingly strong for his size, has impeccable footwork, is super fast and hits full speed in just a few steps. He also has tremendous character and leadership. Within a few games of joining the Kodiaks, he was arguably their best defender and transition player. He’s the kind of player that, if you didn’t choose him when you had the chance, you’d kick yourself for years.
3 – Robert Church – RF, Burnaby Lakers
Church did get a full season in the BCJALL and he did post the eye-popping 100-plus point total. And he did it when he was only 17. He was named MVP as his Coquitlam Adanacs won the Minto Cup in 2010 and has continued to be a consistent contributor since then, both at the junior and now senior level. Fitness and health are concerns with Church; if he can improve the former, the latter will probably follow, making him a more durable and ultimately more successful player. He’s a high percentage shooter and intelligent passer who can help make the offensive players around him better.
4 – Tor Reinholdt – LT, Langley Thunder
His coming out party was the 2012 Mann Cup, when he showed off his tenacity, speed and stick skills in the Thunder’s loss to the Peterborough Lakers. His numbers were off a bit this summer as he played only 11 games and posted 11 points, but Reinholdt has shown what he can do over his career. He was a key contributor to that 2010 Minto championship team with Church. His athleticism is among the best in the draft and he shows a high lacrosse IQ.
5 – Dillon Ward – G, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks
It’s unusual for a goalie to be ranked this high. Like Evan Kirk, who went sixth to Minnesota two years ago, Ward is ready to step in at the pro level and be a contributor right away. Showing a knack for being at his best when the games are the biggest, Ward went on an 11-2 run with a 5.59 goals against average and .851 save percentage en rout to the 2012 Minto Cup, where he was named MVP. He served as Mike Poulin’s backup in KW this summer but was effective every time he got a chance to play. He went 4-2 with an 8.44 goals against average and .810 save percentage, all above average numbers in an MSL full of offensive talent.
6 – Cody Bremner – LF, Nanaimo Timbermen
The late entrant in the draft will create a trickle-down effect by parachuting into the early to middle first round. Lefty offensive players are in high demand, so he may go even higher than his tremendous talent and drive would dictate. Bremner was the rookie of the year in the WLA in 2012 after finished fourth in the scoring race with 24 goals and 45 assists for 69 points. He maintained the same pace this year but with more of an emphasis on goals, totally 28 to go along with 26 assists for 54 points in only 14 games. Having demonstrated that he can play with men in two full WLA seasons, Bremner is clearly ready to have an impact in the NLL.
7 – Scott Jones – RF, Burnaby Lakers
The last sentence about Bremner also applies to Jones. The righty even followed the same scoring trajectory of more assists in 2012 but increased goal scoring in 2013, when he potted 27 to go with 38 assists for 65 points. Jones is a 6′5”, 210-pound power forward with talent, drive and a team approach to the game. He should fit seamlessly into the roster of whatever team selects him both as a player and as a teammate.
Check out the rest of the top 15 prospects here. Find prospects ranked 16th-30th on IL Indoor by clicking here. The story for draft-eligible players ranked #31-50 can be found here while IL Indoor's interviews with prospects is located here.