October 18, 2012

Galasso Verbally Commits to Transfer to Syracuse

Nicky Galasso plans to transfer to Syracuse and play for the Orange this spring. "I wanted to come back and play for a big-time program," he said.
© Peyton Williams

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Nicky Galasso is headed to Syracuse this spring.

The former North Carolina attackman, who was granted a release from his UNC scholarship last Monday, confirmed his decision to LaxMagazine.com on Thursday afternoon by phone as he was leaving the Syracuse area in the car with his father.

Galasso verbally committed to the Orange and will finish his fall semester academically at North Carolina. He plans to enroll at Syracuse in the spring.

Galasso, who is on fall break with North Carolina, traveled to Syracuse on Wednesday with his father and visited with Syracuse coaches and players on Thursday as part of a short tour of schools interested in him. He also visited Fairfield on Wednesday morning but said, "Syracuse I knew was my No. 1."

"I wanted to come back and play for a big-time program," he said. "[Syracuse] is one of the most known, and probably one of better programs ever in college lacrosse."

The terms of Galasso's release from North Carolina included the stipulation that he could not transfer to a program on the Tar Heels' 2013 schedule without being forced to sit out a year. Syracuse will not play UNC this spring. He could also not transfer to a current ACC school, but those terms did not apply to Syracuse, which will join the conference this summer.

Galasso, who throughout his high school career at West Islip (N.Y.) was widely considered the top recruit in his class, committed to North Carolina before his junior season. Two years later, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year and a third-team All-American after a stellar rookie season in 2011 in which he scored a team-high 56 points. But after breaking his foot last November, he never returned to full strength in 2012 and fell into a limited role as a reserve and man-up specialist running through the box.

He told LaxMagazine.com last week that he wasn't happy with what he thought his role would be this season and North Carolina was no longer the "best fit" for him. He wanted to transfer to a school that was closer to his Long Island home so his father and four brothers could seem him play more often, and to a team on which he could "make an impact."

Syracuse is about a 5 hour and 30 minute drive from West Islip, and Galasso could be instantly inserted into an Orange attack unit alongside Derek Maltz and Mike Daniello while JoJo Marasco can remain in the midfield, where he has played this fall.

"They want to me to come in and see what I can do," Galasso said. "Just go out there and make the people around me comfortable with me first and then hopefully get the chance to make everyone better, or have other people make me better."

Galasso initially indicated he would keep his options open and make visits to several schools, saying he wanted to go through the recruiting process again as he did as a high-schooler. Many programs were interested, but so much so that he decided to make a decision on a new school sooner rather than later.

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"I have so much going on with school, and all these coaches contacting me, I just wanted to make a decision soon so I could get all the stress off my back," he said. "Me and my dad were sitting talking and I said, "I think I want to commit. I like where I'm at. I like the school, the coaches, the team and the atmosphere.' I thought it was a good fit for me."

Asked if he had flashbacks to the high school recruiting process, which he had pointed comments for last week, Galasso said, “It was there, but I’m glad I made my decision so now I could get back to Chapel Hill and finish up strong.”

The next step is to send Syracuse coach John Desko his UNC transcripts and get paperwork finalized to enroll in the spring.

"The plan is for me to come in the spring and play right away," he said.

As for Fairfield, Galasso was complimentary but said he had previously thought about suiting up in orange.

“I liked Fairfield," he said. "Coach Copelan is a great guy and I have only great things to say about him and the program over there. It’s a nice school. But I kind of had it in my head that I wanted to go to a big school because I was used to it with North Carolina. So I came up here for a visit. I liked all the coaches. I liked what they had to say. I met a bunch of the guys. It’s a nice school and they’re one of the top programs in Division I. I was happy with what they had to say.”

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