Editor’s note: The MLL Philly Player of the Week will appear regularly as the region gears for the MLL Championship Weekend, presented by Smartlink, at PPL Park on Saturday and Sunday August 24-25. Tickets for the two-day event are available at MajorLeagueLacrosse.com/championship-weekend/
By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/11/13
Durkin, a La Salle graduate and the 2009 Phillylacrosse.com Player of the Year for the state champion Explorers, was named the MLL Warrior Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks.
Durkin and the Hamilton Nationals’ defense held the Rochester Rattlers to six goals on Sunday afternoon, taking home a 10-6 decision. The goals-against output is the lowest for the defense this season. Durkin held Ned Crotty to a single shot on the afternoon, coming in the last minute of play.
The three-time All-American from Johns Hopkins has quickly acclimated himself to professional play, continuously facing the top offensive players in the League. Durkin came to Hamilton (via a trade with Charlotte) after earning the NCAA’s Top Defenseman Award two times in his brilliant career in Baltimore.
Still, Durkin’s transition to the pros for the 7-3 Nationals (second place) has not been as easy as it looks
“It was definitely a big transition in style of play,” said Durkin. “In college I was used to a lot of structure. Playing for Petro (Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala), we had a lot of schemes and every defender had a specific responsibility on every single play. And for every game we had a new game plan.
“Playing in the MLL is completely different. This is not necessarily a full-time job; we play on weekends and the coaches watch film, but for the part we have a lot of freedom and, frankly, I love it.
“We have the freedom to decide when to go out and pressure our guy. More or less, the coach says, ‘Here is your matchup; do whatever you can and don’t get beat!’
“It’s great to go out against some of the best players in the world. It’s a humbling experience.”
Durkin credits legendary Hamilton teammate Brodie Merrill and others for helping him to develop.
“The transition is made easier through Coach (Dave) Huntley and the defensive coaches and Brodie Merrill and (goalie) Brett Queener,” said Durkin. “Both are legends in the sport. Brett is one of best goalies and Brodie is obviously one of the best defensive players ever.
“Without a question he has been extremely helpful to me in the professional game. I am always watching what he’s doing. He is a great resource and a guy to follow. I am trying to do everything he does; the way he prepares .. I try to suck in as much info from him as I can.
Durkin admitted it would be great to play in Championship Weekend at PPL Park.
“It would be awesome,” he said. “I have heard great things about PPL Park and the atmosphere there. If we get the chance to play there, I am sure with the hometown crowd all my family and friends would be out there.
“We’re in position, being in second place. We have to take one game at a time and keep doing the things we are doing.”
Tucker Durkin #51
Height 6′ 2″ (188 cm)
Weight 210 lbs.
Birth Date Sep 5, 1990
Birth Place Huntington Valley
Birth State Pa.
College Experience Johns Hopkins
As a National: Acquired through a trade with Charlotte Hounds in 2013… Was the third overall pick in the 2013 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft by Charlotte.
College/Amateur: Played four seasons at Johns Hopkins… Was a Tewaaraton nominee as a senior in 2013… In his career, he started 59 games in a row, which represents every game of his career… He caused a school-record 65 turnovers and collected 32 ground balls… In 2012 and 2013, he was awarded the William C. Schmeisser Award as the nation’s top defensemen… Was also a First Team All-American… 13th different Johns Hopkins player to win the Schmeisser Award… Totaled 19 caused turnovers (highest on the team), 35 ground balls and added one assist… In 2011, he earned Second Team All-American honors and was the first sophomore to do that at Johns Hopkins since Dave Pietramala… Started all 16 games and ended the season with one assist, 35 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers… Led a defense that finished sixth overall in goals-against with a 7.25 average… In 2010, he started all 15 games on defense, and finished second on the team in caused turnovers with 19… Chipped in 25 ground balls… The Hopkins defense held teams scoreless for longer than 10 minutes 23 times that season… At La Salle College High School, he was a two-time US Lacrosse All-America selection and an Under Armour All-American as a senior… Two-time Pennsylvania All-State selection and a three-time All-Catholic pick… Phillylacrosse.com Player of the Year as a senior… Guided team to back-to-back state titles as a junior and senior… Also, played golf for two years and twice earned All-Catholic honors.
Tags: La Salle