The 2017 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft will be held Monday, September 18 at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario. NLL.com correspondent Stephen Stamp introduces you to some of the players expected to be chosen near the top of the draft in this series, Getting to Know a Prospect.
Getting to Know…Colton Watkinson
I was live tweeting the 2015 Major Series Lacrosse draft. The early picks of the draft are always easy to share; they’re players you’re familiar with and expect to be drafted high, so you’re ready to type their names and information and hit the Tweet button.
Getting into the later rounds, sometimes I’d have to look up a player for some details to include in the tweet. Then came the last pick. The Brooklin Redmen took Colton Watkinson from the Jr B Oakville Buzz. I’m not going to lie; I’d never heard of him. It became clear by looking at faces around the room that other teams weren’t too familiar with him, either.
Well, when Watkinson’s name is called in the first round of this fall’s NLL draft, no one should be surprised. The big, strong, athletic transition player made a name for himself when he played well in 13 games with Brooklin in that summer of 2015. He may have dropped below some scouts’ radar when he didn’t play last year, but he broke back onto the scene in a big way this summer.
He drew some attention when he stepped in to play forward and on the power play for the Redmen when they were shorthanded for an early-season game in Cobourg. Watkinson lit up the Kodiaks with 4 goals, making it pretty easy to notice him.
But folks who pay more careful attention didn’t need to see that game to know that Watkinson is the real deal. He still needs to work on being more consistent in his own end, but Watkinson has been playing improving defence for Brooklin and is a difference-make when he gets his stick on the ball. He and Ryan McSpadyen have been looking like the second coming of Peterborough’s Brad Self and Mark Steenhuis as a transition tandem, terrorizing teams’ tranny D and goaltenders who face an unappetizing choice of menu options when the pair break in 2 on 1.
Watkinson may be the biggest riser among draft prospects over the last year. He’s sure to be off the board before we get far into the night on September 18.
Name: Colton Watkinson
Date of birth: April 6, 1993
Shooting hand: Left
Jr Team: Oakville Buzz Jr B
Sr Team: Brooklin Redmen
Who was your favourite player growing up? Steve Toll
What NLL player do you think your game is similar to or do you model your game after? Steve Toll, because he is still one of the best transition players to play the game.
What will you bring to the team that drafts you? I think the biggest things I can bring to the team that drafts me is my speed and athleticism.
What is your biggest accomplishment or the biggest moment of your lacrosse career so far? Winning this last National Championship in Boston meant a lot to me because it was the last game of my NCAA career.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Miles Teller [Editor’s note: Don’t feel badly, I had to look him up, too]