January 7, 2014

Onondaga's Staats En Route to Syracuse as Planned

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Two-time NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year Randy Staats is expected to join Syracuse for the spring as planned. (Lee Weissman)

Randy Staats, the reigning and two-time junior college offensive player of the year from Onondaga Community College, is expected to become eligible to transfer to Syracuse by the middle of next week and join the Orange shortly after that, Onondaga coach Chuck Wilbur said Tuesday.

Staats wasn't at Syracuse's media day on campus Monday and Orange coach John Desko said he couldn't comment until Staats signed a national letter of intent to play for Syracuse or registered for classes, but Wilbur told the Syracuse Post-Standard on Tuesday he expects Staats, who some college coaches have argued is among the best players in the game at any level, to join the Orange as planned for the spring.

Staats has already graduated from OCC and is finishing a winter session class to earn credits needed to transfer. OCC's winter session ends in the middle of next week.

"My understanding is he and Syracuse have worked it out and he needs one more class for them," Wilbur said.

Staats scored 73 goals and had 83 assists as an attackman for Onondaga last season as the Lazers won a fifth straight NJCAA men's championship and set an all-time record for consecutive wins by a men's collegiate team at 70, with a title-game victory over Nassau CC. He also was a member of the Iroquois' bonze-medal team at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) under-19 World Championship two summers ago in Finland.

Staats addition is a wild card of sorts for Syracuse, which is ranked second in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason poll. The Orange returns its entire starting attack in Dylan Donahue, Kevin Rice and Derek Maltz and Nicky Galasso is healthy for the first time at Syracuse since transferring from North Carolina. How Desko handles all the pieces remains to be seen. He has said that getting the top six offensive players on the field is the main priority, be it true attackmen or midfielders.

Syracuse may also be getting help where it definitely desperately needs it — on faceoffs. Nassau CC's Mike Iacono, another NJCAA All-American, is finishing his winter session, coach George Powers told the Post-Standard, and heading to Syracuse this weekend.

Desko said at the team's media day that there may be a surprise related to the faceoff position, which as a unit ranked 55th out of 63 Division I men's teams last season and doomed the team in the NCAA final against Duke. A source told Lacrosse Magazine earlier this fall that Iacono's transfer was unlikely, but Powers said "He should be pretty much ready to go. This is what he's been working for."

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