By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/25/14
Garnet Valley 2017 attackman Denny Nealon enjoyed the challenge of competing in the Lehigh Valley Futures Showcase All-Star Game Thursday night at Lehigh University.
“The competition was great; I know a bunch of guys from my Mesa (Fresh) team and like us they are all trying to compete and get recruited,” said Nealon, who scored three goals to lead the White All-Stars past Team brown, 6-4. “I think playing with all these great 2017s and a couple 2018s, I realized the level I was playing at. If I can hang with these guys, I can hang with the next level. It gives me a lot of confidence.
“It was a fast game and everyone had great sticks. There were not a lot of mishandles; overall, everyone was a great player.”
Nealon was one of 120 players, mostly from the 2017 class (with some 2018s) competing in the third-day showcase/camp that ended today. (Click here for All-Star rosters).
The Showcase, run by Lehigh Lacrosse, featured a combine, recruiting talk (by Lehigh assistant and recruiting director Brendan Callahan), elite instruction for college coaches, the All-Star Game and a championship tournaments.
In the All-Star Game, Liam Kalbacher (Syosset, 2018), Liam Lynch (Brewster Academy, MA) and Tommy Sopko (Conestoga, PA) also scored for Team White and Brandon Moore (Canandaigua, NY) and Caton Johnson (Manheim Township, PA) handled the goaltending.
For Team Brown, Jacob Buttermore (Garnet Valley), Ben Wilkinson (Woodwad Academy, GA), Andrew Kaye (Peddie School, NJ), Dominick DeStefano (Malvern Prep) had goals.
Nealon said he is not worried about committing, while noting that many of his club teammates have chosen a Division I school.
“A bunch of my buddies committed already,” he said. “At first I felt I had to be one of the next to commit. But this is my sixth showcase event and I realize when time comes, it will happen. There is plenty of time.
“It’s beautiful here and I love the country look. I have been to a bunch of camps and this is one of my favorites.”
Charlotte Country Day School (N.C.) 2017 defenseman Oscar Cranz was one of the top defenders for Team White.
“The kids up here (in the Northeast region), as I have learned all summer, are a lot faster with better sticks than in North Carolina – especially in an All-Star Game,” said Cranz. “You just have to keep up with them and play fundamental defense and you’ll be fine.
“The biggest thing for me was the first day (Wednesday) when I came into the combine and got a feel for where I am compared to everyone, athletically. Then I got to step on the field and show my talents.”
Cranz said he enjoyed getting a close look at the demands of being a Division I players.
“The recruiting talk helped me a lot,’ said Cranz. “They talked about three things plus one: know if you can play at that level, if you have the grades to do it, if you like the campus and then if you can afford it.”
Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese, also a Team USA assistant in the recent FIL World Championships, created the Lehigh Valley Showcase several years ago to help grow the game mostly in the Lehigh Valley. But it quickly grew into a combination of local, Philly region and now North America showcase camp.
“This camp was mainly a 2017 camps with 2018s sprinkled in – it’s what I am calling the launch pad of the 2017 recruiting cycle for us,” Cassese said. “We don’t have any 2017 commits yet and we’re perfectly fine with that.
“There are certainly a lot of kids here that we have watched closely. We’re trying to delay our (recruiting) process just a little bit. We like having kids on campus and getting to know them a little bit; getting to watch them on our field is a huge asset. We’ve recruited quite a few kids form our camps over the years.
“This camp has evolved nicely. There is a mix of kids from the Lehigh Valley, which is important because we want to showcase these kids to our coaching staff and others. We want to take care of the community also kids form all over the country. We have a kid from Okotoks, Alberta (Stephen MacNutt) and players from so many different states. We are excited about that and to see signs of growth in the sport. The level of play in this camp tremendous.”
Tags: Garnet Valley