Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/8/21 – Staff Report
TINTON FALLS, N.J. – If you surveyed the field of players at the One Percent Showcase Wednesday, you’d have a tough time figuring out which of the Class of 2025 players was actually a member of the Class of 2026. Brad Barber certainly didn’t give any hints with his play.
The Springfield-Delco attackman was one of the standouts at the tournament at the Capelli Sports Complex, despite being younger than all of the other players on the field. It mattered little with the way he dominated play, the left-hander scoring every which way on the path to a spot in the showcase’s all-star game.
“At first, it’s pretty intimidating. But I just told myself to play my game,” Barber said. “I know how I can play, so I’ve just got to keep playing like that. And the team played great.”
Barber was on one of four teams of players in the Class of 2025 at the event created by Matt Chandik, the second day of the event after the classes of 2023 and 2024 competed Tuesday. The four teams played an all-day round robin in the steamy heat of North Jersey, then two teams of all-stars were selected to compete in the day’s finale.
Barber was easily one of those players. He was part of the Black Team All-Stars, which won the final by an 11-4 score. The Duke’s LC attacker scored early and often in his three round-robin games. He showed his ability to create for himself and others off the dodge. He wasn’t shy about engaging defenders with his physicality, and his quick hands and ability to create windows to shoot made him shine relative to the competition and against more mature defenders.
Despite being a year younger than everyone else, Barber tried to put that out of his mind once the games began.
“I just try to remind myself the whole game that I can play with them,” Barber said. “I don’t want to get in my head that I’m younger. I just try to think, ‘I’m playing lacrosse and having fun.’ That’s how I keep it in my mind.”
The defensive MVP of the all-star game was faceoff man Russell Fitzgerald of Penn Charter/Prime Time. He was far and away the most dominant faceoff man on the day, winning 75 percent of his draws in the final.
Barber and Fitzgerald were joined on the Black team by Haverford School midfielder Reece Childs (Big 4 HHH) and Academy of the New Church LSM Aharon Bloshuk (Duke’s). Childs was a teammate of Barber on the Royal Blue team in the round robin, alongside fellow midfield standouts Brendan Mullahy (Fairfield Prep/Eclipse) and Owen Crann (Middlesex/Laxachusetts) that formed a formidable offensive unit.
Owen J. Roberts FOGO Justin Daubert was joined on the White all-stars by his Big 4 HHH teammate Gavin Cooper of Haverford School.
For Barber, his success at the showcase gives him confidence going into the rest of the summer, when he dips back into competition against kids his own age. It’s a balance for him mentally, to stay confident but not get overly so.
“It’s great to play with them,” Barber said. “Everyone’s cool. Everyone’s a great lacrosse player. It was just a fun experience.”