Toronto Rock's Garrett Billings, the NLL's leading scorer, won Player of the Month for second-straight month. (Photo: Graig Abel)
The National Lacrosse League has announced Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month award winners for March of the 2014 NLL regular season. For the second-straight month, the same two players won the award for their respective categories.
Toronto Rock forward Garrett Billings, who leads the league in points (95) and assists (63) and ranks second in the NLL with 32 goals, won NLL Player of the Month for the second-straight month after posting three goals or more in four of five games played during March.
Billings is first among forwards with 85 loose balls, which is 14th-most in the league overall. The Langley, BC native, who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, is currently in his fifth NLL season. 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. Billings is close to becoming the first player in league history with three-straight 100-plus point seasons and is on pace to break the NLL scoring record of 116 points set by John Grant, Jr. in 2012.
Minnesota Swarm forward Logan Schuss, who ranks first among rookies in goals (21) and points (46) and second in assists (25), won NLL Rookie of the Month for the second month in a row by recording three or more points in all four games played during March. Schuss ranks first among rookies with seven power play goals, which is tied for the eighth-most in the entire league.
"I would say that it is not by chance that Logan has been awarded this accreditation, it’s through hard work," said Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan. "Logan has adjusted to the league very well, we knew how good he would be, it was only a matter of time before he began having a direct impact on our team on and off the floor and he has done that to an excellent level. He’s been everything we would look for, both as a first round draft pick and as a person, so good things come to those who work hard and Logan has done that.
The Ladner, BC native was the first overall pick in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft out of Ohio State University. Schuss is also fourth among first-year pros with 55 loose balls on the season.
"He’s listened to every piece of critique that we could provide him, he’s a student of the game still where he studies and studies and studies the opponents and goaltenders he’s going to face," Sullivan added. "He’s always trying to make himself better, so it’s no surprise to us that Logan has the accomplishments that he has this early in his career, and look for him to be a figurehead of the Minnesota Swarm for years to come."
Player of the Month
Garrett Billings, Toronto Rock (5 GP, 14 G, 16 A, 30 PTS, 22 LB): Billings recorded a combined 30 points (14+16), with a single-game high of 10 points (3+7) on March 22 against Philadelphia, and 22 loose balls as Toronto posted a 1-4 record in March.
Rookie of the Month
Logan Schuss, Minnesota Swarm (4 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 15 PTS, 14 LB, 2 FT): Schuss recorded a combined 15 points (5+10), with a single-game high of four points three times, along with 14 loose balls and two forced turnovers as Minnesota posted a 1-3 record in March.
NLL Monthly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the league's general managers and head coaches.