The National Lacrosse League has announced Buffalo Bandits forward Dhane Smith as Player of the Month for the second-straight month and Georgia Swarm forward Jesse King as Rookie of the Month for February of the 2016 NLL season.
Smith recorded a league-high 45 points (20+25) in February with an NLL-best nine points per game average in five games played. He registered six or more points and at least three goals in each game including a 10-point (4+6) performance vs. Georgia (2/20) and a 13-point (5+8) performance at Georgia (2/14), the most points by an NLL player in a game this season. Smith is currently atop the NLL leaderboard in several major offensive categories, ranking first in goals (33), assists (43) and points (76), with a 21-point lead over the next closest player. Smith, who is also second among NLL forwards with 60 loose balls, is currently on pace to set both the Bandits franchise and NLL single-season scoring records.
Buffalo’s first-round (5th overall) selection in the 2012 NLL Draft, the 23-year-old from Kitchener, Ont. was named to the 2013 NLL All-Rookie Team. The four-year veteran has scored over 20 goals in each of his first three full seasons, highlighted by his 2015 campaign where he recorded 107 points (39+68).
King led all rookies in assists (16) and points (24) during the month while his eight goals tied for the most among first-year players. King ranks third on the Swarm in scoring, second among rookies, and tied for 15th overall in the NLL with 41 points (12+29) in eight games played in 2016. King posted career-highs across the board with 10 points (4+6) at New England (2/28) to follow up his seven-point (3+4) performance during the Swarm’s win at Buffalo (2/20).
The Victoria, B.C. native played collegiately at Ohio State University, where he finished fourth all-time in program history with 208 points and 119 goals, and was a three-time USILA All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist. The 23-year-old, who was drafted by Georgia in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2015 NLL Draft, marks the second-straight Swarm player to win the rookie award after teammate Randy Staats earned the honor in January.
The NLL Monthly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s general managers and head coaches.