Toronto Rock's Garrett Billings, who leads the league in points, won NLL Player of the Month for February. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The National Lacrosse League has announced Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month award winners for February of the 2014 NLL regular season.
Toronto Rock forward Garrett Billings, who currently leads the league in points (70) and assists (50), won the NLL Player of the Month award after posting five or more points in all five games last month. The Langley, BC native, who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, is currently in his fifth NLL season.
“Our offensive group had some success last month,” said Billings. “We are all very comfortable playing with each other, there is a lot of chemistry and familiarity that contributes a great deal to our success.”
Billings, whose 20 goals rank eighth in the NLL, has also recorded 64 loose balls this season, good for 12th in the league and first among forwards. The sixth-overall pick in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft has registered over 100 points in each of the last two seasons en route to consecutive NLL First Team All-Pro selections.
“We have put in some good efforts,” said Billings about the team's 4-6 record so far this season. “However, we now have our work cut out for us over the final eight games to earn a playoff spot and peak at the right time.”
Minnesota Swarm forward Logan Schuss, who ranks second among rookie scorers with 31 points (16+15), earned Rookie of the Month honors by recording 23 points in five games this past month including a career-high five goals in one game, the most by a rookie so far this year.
"We're going to see more of these kinds of successes with Logan, he’s just starting to come into his own," said Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan. "He’s got a comfort level with the players and his surroundings, and now he knows what the league is all about, you are going to see some great things coming from him."
The 16 goals by Schuss this season rank 16th in the league while his seven power play goals are tied for fourth in the NLL. Schuss also boasts a 15.5% shooting percentage (16/103), ninth-best in the league. The Ladner, BC native was the first overall pick in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft out of Ohio State University.
"Whether he’s playing a physical game or a finesse game he’s earned the respect of the defenders he plays against every single night, he’s drawing the best defenders from each team and he’s risen himself to the challenge," Sullivan said. "He comes through when great players do and I think you will see more of that."
Player of the Month
Garrett Billings, Toronto Rock (5 GP, 11 G, 27 A, 38 PTS, 31 LB, 2 FT): Billings recorded a combined 38 points (11+27), with a single-game high of 12 points (6+6) on February 7 against Philadelphia, along with 31 loose balls and two forced turnovers as Toronto posted a 2-3 record in February.
Rookie of the Month
Logan Schuss, Minnesota Swarm (5 GP, 11 G, 12 A, 23 PTS, 19 LB, 1 FT): Schuss recorded a combined 23 points (11+12), with a single-game high of seven points (5+2) on February 23 against Philadelphia, along with 19 loose balls and one forced turnover as Minnesota posted a 1-4 record in February.
NLL Monthly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the league's general managers and head coaches.