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NLL Ties to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship

The first round of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships start this weekend and NLL fans should pay attention. Many of the best collegiate talents that are set to be competing have already been drafted to the NLL, while others may be drafted this this year.

There is a week off until the start of the 2024 NLL Cup, but this opening weekend of NCAA tournament action will be must-watch TV for the majority of Saturday and Sunday. Not only will you get to see more than a dozen already-drafted players, but dozens more will be showcasing their talents throughout the weekend (and the entirety of the tournament), making their case for NLL teams that should take a chance on them.

With an ever-growing number of Americans with little to no box lacrosse experience taking chances in the box game, you never know which field lacrosse stars of today will become the box stars of tomorrow. Let’s not forget, as of this writing, the Buffalo Bandits hold the 7th, 9th, and 13th overall picks in the 2024 NLL Entry Draft.

And then there are the younger Canadians who are currently playing south of the 49th parallel who already know they want to one day play professional box lacrosse. Those young kids will be continuing to make their case for why they should be considered in either this year’s NLL Entry Draft or one in the future.

Let’s take a look at the current draft picks of the two NLL Finals participants, the Albany FireWolves and Buffalo Bandits, who will be competing in the NCAA Championship tournament, and also those players vying for the NLL title that played at any of the NCAA teams competing in their championship tournament.

 

Albany FireWolves

Incoming

Dyson Williams (1st overall pick in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft), Duke University

 

Alumnus of 2024 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Programs

Anthony Joaquim, Saint Joseph’s University. Joaquim is currently the defensive coach at St. Joe’s. He will not be with St. Joes until the NLL Finals have finished (if St. Joe’s gets that far in the tournament).

Alex Simmons, University of Denver. Simmons and the Denver Pioneers competed in the 2021 NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championships. He was teammates on the Pioneers with Ethan Walker, who he now plays with for the FireWolves.

Ethan Walker attended the University of Denver and helped them to three NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship appearances, including in 2021 with his FireWolves teammate, Alex Simmons, and also in 2017, when the team made it to the Final Four.

Colton Watkinson attended Limestone University, which is in this year’s NCAA DII Men’s Lacrosse Championship. Watkinson played an important role during the team’s three DII championship runs in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

 

Notes

Dyson Williams and Carson Moyer, who was drafted by Albany but traded to Colorado, will be facing each other in the first round of the 2024 DI Championship this weekend.

Sam Firth’s brother Willem, a sought-after prospect, attends Cornell University. While Cornell did not make this year’s NCAA DI Tournament, they have won multiple NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championships in the past. They were in the final in 2022, when John Piatelli was a member of the team.

Nathan Grenon is a graduate of Mercyhurst University, which is a regular in the DII Championship. Mercyhurst made the 2024 DII tournament, but was ousted in the first round by Pace University.

Will Johnasen (Injured Reserve List) attended Robert Morris University, a DI program. He was with a member of the Colonials in 2019 and 2022, when they were in the NCAA Tournament.

Tye Kurtz attended the University of Delaware and participated in both of their DI Championship appearances in 2022 and 2023.

Joe Nardella attended Rutgers University, which is not in this year’s Championship, in 2015. The Scarlet Knights have since gone on to appear in the Championship twice (2021 and 2022) and even appeared in the Final Four in 2022.

Jackson Reid attended The Ohio State University, which is not in this year’s NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship, but helped them to the Championship in 2022.

Leo Stouros attended Colgate University, which is not in this year’s Championship, but he was part of the 2015 team that did make it the tournament. That was the last time the school has made it to the DI championship tournament, and it is only one of three times the school has made it to lacrosse’s big dance.

Jeff Trainor attended the University of Massachusetts, which is also not in this year’s Championship, but he helped the school to an appearance in the 2018 Championship.

John Wagner attended Marquette University, which is not in this year’s Championship, but he did help them to appearances in both the 2016 and 2017 Championships (the program’s only DI tournament appearances in school history).

Zach Young attended the University of North Carolina, which is not in the 2024 NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship, but Young was on the roster when the team made a run all the way to the Final Four in 2021.

 

Tehoka Nanticoke, graduate of the University of Albany, up against Bryan Cole, Maryland graduate

Buffalo Bandits

Incoming

None

 

Alumnus of 2024 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Programs

Tehoka Nanticoke attended the University of Albany, which will be playing the University of Notre Dame in the first round of the 2024 NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship. Nanticoke never played in an NCAA tournament, but this is the school’s 11th DI tournament appearance

 

Notes

Josh Byrne attended Hofstra University, which did not make it to the 2024 NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship. Hofstra will be the site of half of this year’s quarterfinal matchups during the weekend of the first two games of the NLL Finals.

Matt Vinc attended Canisius University, which is not in this year’s Championship. Nevertheless, Canisius has been a breeding ground for great NLL talent over the last couple of decades, helping to produce talent such as Connor Kearnan, Tim Edwards, Adam Jones, and Randy Mearns.

Frank Brown attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges, neither of which are in the Championship this year, but Brown did help them get to the NCAA tournament in 2016 – it was one of the team’s few appearances in the this tournament over the last couple of decades. Brown is now an assistant coach at Canisius University.

Chris Cloutier attended the University of North Carolina, which will not be participating in the Championship this year, but while Cloutier was at UNC, he and the Tar Heels made three tournament appearances (2015-2017), and won the national championship in 2016.

Cam Wyers attended Loyola University Maryland, which will not be in the Championship, but he participated in 2019 and 2021. Before Wyers’ time at the university, Loyola won the national title in 2012.

Justin Robinson attended Robert Morris University, which will not be in the Championship. However, Robinson was at RMU when they made the program’s first two appearances in the DI tournament in 2018 and 2019.

Kyle Buchanan also attended Robert Morris University, which will not be in the Championship. He was at the school about a decade before Justin Robinson, and while he was attending, the team never made an NCAA tournament appearance.

 

Notable 2023 NLL Draftees Participating in the 2024 NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship

  • Payton Cormier: University of Virginia, Drafted 4th overall by the Vancouver Warriors
  • Toron Eccleston: Saint Joseph’s University, Drafted 6th overall by the Georgia Swarm
  • Jake Stevens: Syracuse University, Drafted 10th overall by the New York Riptide (now Ottawa Black Bears)
  • Levi Anderson: Saint Joseph’s University, Drafted 12th overall by the Saskatchewan Rush
  • Matthew Wright: Syracuse University, Drafted 13th overall by the San Diego Seals
  • Graydon Hogg: University of Albany, Drafted 15th overall by the Rochester Knighthawks
  • Josh Zawada: Duke University, Drafted 29th overall by the Saskatchewan Rush
  • Jake Taylor: University of Notre Dame, Drafted 31st overall by the Georgia Swarm
  • Jake Piseno: University of Albany – Drafted 35th overall by the Rochester Knighthawks
  • Alec Stathakis: University of Denver, Drafted 40th overall by the Vancouver Warriors
  • Jack Boyden: University of Virginia, Drafted 47th overall by the Rochester Knighthawks
  • Beau Pederson: University of Michigan, Drafted 63rd overall by the Halifax Thunderbirds
  • Jake Posey: Penn State University, Drafted 64th overall by the Calgary Roughnecks
  • Richie Connell: University of Denver, Drafted 66th overall by the Georgia Swarm
  • Tyler Carpenter: Duke University, Drafted 70th overall by the Las Vegas Desert Dogs
  • Chris Jordan: Penn State University, Drafted 78th by the Calgary Roughnecks
  • JJ Sillstrop: University of Denver, Drafted 80th overall by the San Diego Seals
  • AJ Mercurio: University of Denver, Drafted 81st overall by the Colorado Mammoth
  • Kenny Brower: Duke University, Drafted 86th overall by the Las Vegas Desert Dogs

 

Notable Current NLL Players Who Attended Schools Participating in the 2024 NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship (Previously Not Mentioned)

  • Gary Gait: 1990 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Paul Gait: 1990 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Tom Marecheck: 1992 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Peter Jacobs: 1995 NLL Draft, John’s Hopkins University – now, Retired
  • Casey Powell: 1998 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Kyle Sweeney: 2003 NLL Draft, Georgetown University – now, retired
  • Taylor Wray: 2003 NLL Draft, Duke University – now, Retired
  • Ryan Boyle: 2004 NLL Draft, Princeton University, – now, Retired
  • Geoff Snider: 2006 NLL Draft, University of Denver – now, Retired
  • Brett Bucktooth: 2006 NLL Entry Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Corey Small: 2009 NLL Draft, University of Albany – now, Toronto Rock
  • Sid Smith: 2009 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Garrett Billings: 2009 NLL Draft, University of Virginia – now, Retired
  • Cody Jamieson: 2010 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Halifax Thunderbirds
  • Joel White: 2011 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Retired
  • Stephen Keogh: 2011 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Ottawa Black Bears (formerly New York Riptide)
  • Jeremy Thompson: 2011 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Georgia Swarm
  • Jeremy Noble: 2014 NLL Draft, University of Denver – now, Free Agent
  • Miles Thompson: 2014 NLL Draft, University of Albany – now, Georgia Swarm
  • Lyle Thompson: 2015 NLL Draft, University of Albany – now, Georgia Swarm
  • Reilly O’Connor: 2015 NLL Draft, Georgetown University – now, Ottawa Black Bears (formerly New York Riptide)
  • Randy Staats: 2015 NLL Draft, Syracuse University – now, Halifax Thunderbirds
  • Wes Berg: 2015 NLL Draft, University of Denver – now, San Diego Seals
  • Dan Taylor: 2015 NLL Draft, Lehigh University – now, Calgary Roughnecks
  • Kyle Jackson: 2016 NLL Draft, University of Michigan – now, San Diego Seals
  • Bryan Cole: 2016 NLL Draft, University of Maryland – now, Georgia Swarm
  • Warren Hill: 2016 NLL Draft, University of Syracuse – now, Halifax Thunderbirds
  • Holden Cattoni: 2016 NLL Draft, John’s Hopkins University – now, Philadelphia Wings
  • Seth Oakes: 2016 NLL Draft, University of Albany – now, Georgia Swarm
  • Dan Craig: 2017 NLL Draft, Penn State University – now, Toronto Rock
  • Tyler Pace: 2017 NLL Draft, University of Denver – now, Calgary Roughnecks
  • Zach Currier: 2017 NLL Draft, Princeton University, – now, Calgary Roughnecks
  • Isiah Davis-Allen: 2017 NLL Draft, University of Maryland – now, Philadelphia Wings
  • Zed Williams: 2017 NLL Draft from University of Virginia – now, Colorado Mammoth
  • Connor Kelly: 2018 NLL Draft, University of Maryland – now, Colorado Mammoth
  • Brendan Bomberry: 2018 NLL Draft, University of Syracuse – now, Halifax Thunderbirds
  • Brent Noseworthy: 2019 NLL Draft, University of Michigan – now, Ottawa Black Bears (formerly New York Riptide)
  • Dylan Kinnear: 2019 NLL Entry Draft, Towson University – now, Colorado Mammoth
  • Ron John: 2020 NLL Draft, University of Albany – now, Ottawa Black Bears (formerly New York Riptide)
  • Mac O’Keefe: 2020 NLL Draft, Penn State University – now, San Diego Seals
  • Danny Logan: 2020 NLL Draft, University of Denver – now, San Diego Seals
  • Ethan Ticehurst: 2020 NLL Entry Draft, Towson University – now, Calgary Roughnecks
  • Thomas McConvey: 2021 NLL Draft, University of Virginia – now, Rochester Knighthawks
  • Taite Cattoni: 2021 NLL Draft, John’s Hopkins University – now, Philadelphia Wings
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