October 27, 2010

Poll: LM's 2010 Player of the Year (Men)

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

2010 Awards: Coach (M) | Coach (W) | Upset | Performance (M) | Performance (W)| Player (M) | Player (W) | Game | Comeback

Thank you for voting. This poll has closed. Check out the fans' and LM's picks in the December issue.

With more opportunities than ever for college lacrosse players to expand their game in the professional and international ranks, we've witnessed the evolution of the multi-platform player. He rises to the occasion no matter the circumstance – be it on the unforgiving floors of box lacrosse, as a weekend warrior in professional outdoor lacrosse or under the spotlight of the NCAA final four, still the game's Mecca.

Give any of these guys a stick and a stage, and magic happens.

Ned Crotty, Duke/Machine/Team USA

Let's forget for a moment that he led the NCAA in assists (63), threaded that money pass to Max Quinzani for the game-winning goal in the waning seconds of Duke's NCAA semifinal win over Virginia, won the Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation's top college men's lacrosse player, was the top pick in the MLL draft and won MLL Rookie of the Year honors with the road-show Machine. Even with those laurels, no one could have foreseen what Crotty did in the fourth quarter of Team USA's FIL championship game victory over Canada. Playing for Mike Pressler, the coach who recruited him to Duke before getting ousted by false rape allegations against three former players in 2006, Crotty was the least likely to have his number called when the U.S. trailed in the fourth quarter. But the team's youngest player delivered the game-tying and game-winning goals in acrobatic fashion. "Ice in his veins," veteran Team USA attackman Ryan Boyle said of Crotty. "I mean, did he plan on taking those shots or did he just not realize how big of a stage it was? To have the gumption to take that last shot says a lot about the player he is and the confidence he has."

Nicky Galasso, West Islip (N.Y.)

OK, you're surprised to see a high school player here. But the Nicky Galasso love fest goes back to 2006, when as an eighth-grader he was touted as the next big thing in lacrosse. He did not disappoint. Galasso became a centerpiece of the West Islip dynasty. He led the Lions to their second straight No. 1 national ranking by Lacrosse Magazine and fourth straight New York state title this year. He became Long Island's all-time leading scorer, strung together a seven-point gem in the state final and cemented a legacy that has everyone in Chapel Hill licking their lips to see what he can do in Carolina blue.

Paul Rabil, Washington Stealth/Boston Cannons/Team USA

LM's 2009 Player of the Year nearly pulled off lacrosse's version of the Triple Crown. After leading the Stealth and Team USA to NLL and world titles, respectively, Rabil fell short of the feat when the Cannons bowed out to the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the MLL semifinals. Still, there's no denying Rabil's star power, now including sponsorships with powerhouses like Under Armour and RedBull – not to mention a performance for the ages in Team USA's gold medal victory over Canada. Rabil's three zingers in the first half got the U.S. going out of the gate. He was the named MVP of the World Games.

Brodie Merrill, Edmonton Rush/Toronto Nationals/Team Canada

What doesn't Brodie do? Five straight years, he's been the MLL Defensive Player of the Year. Two straight years, he's been the NLL Transition Player of the Year. He won All-World honors and was named the top defenseman of the FIL world championships. No one runs the floor or wields a long pole better than Brodie. Once he adds a few more titles to his resume, Merrill's place among the all-time greatest players will be secure.

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