January 5, 2012

LM NCAA Division II Men's Preseason Player of the Year: Shayne Jackson

Catalyst for Limestone Powerhouse Seeks to Lead Saints to Title

by Jac Coyne | LaxMagazine.com | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Shayne Jackson is a prototypical box feeder who will be a marked man for Limestone this season.
© Limestone

Limestone's men's lacrosse players got an unexpected education in dodgeball when Shayne Jackson arrived last year in Gaffney, S.C.

Teammates faced an assault of balls off the stick of Jackson, a transfer from Onondaga Community College and a prototypical box feeder. Practices were constantly halted as passes breezed by the ears of cutting players or no-look dishes sailed out of bounds.

"I just kept telling Shayne, 'Hit them in the head. They'll get used to it,'" said Limestone head coach J.B. Clarke.

Jackson followed his coach's instructions, continuously doling out pinpoint assists with the smallest margin for error.

"Some of the guys had trouble at the start of the year catching my passes. But I let them know if you're open, I'm going to pass you the ball," Jackson said. "I think they liked to hear that."

Limestone players – led by junior and fellow Canadian Riley Loewen (54 goals) – converted 50 of Jackson's passes into goals in 2011. Add the 32 goals Jackson scored on his own, giving him the highest points per game average in the country, and it's no wonder he's the top gun heading into 2012.

Jackson didn't receive a whole lot of individual attention in the junior college ranks despite being the NJCAA Player of the Year in 2010, mostly because he was an unknown entity the previous year and both Essex and Nassau beat Onondaga that season.

"They felt they could already beat us," Jackson said. OCC responded with championships both years, going 32-3 in Jackson's two seasons at OCC. He did as much damage scoring (58 goals) as he did feeding (63 assists) during his junior college player of the year campaign.

Now that he is seen as the catalyst of the Limestone powerhouse, Jackson will be a marked man for his senior season. His point total may not reach that of last spring.

So be it.

"I really don't put too much emphasis on points," he said. "If I get substantially fewer points and we win, I'm more than happy with that. Points are cool to other people, but not to me. I just want to win. I come from a winning background, and I want to bring a championship to Limestone."

Said Clarke: "He'll be just as happy. He's a well-rounded player. He gets beat on so much at practice, and you never hear him complain. And if we turn it over, he is one of the most tenacious riders I've ever coached. Frustration? I don't think so."

Jackson's focus on a national championship has made this offseason an uneasy one. Limestone coughed up a 6-3, second-half lead to Adelphi in last year's NCAA semifinals, providing Jackson with a daily motivator to improve all aspects of his game—even his passing.

"I think it's better to remember, because you always want that feeling of walking off your own field with the other team getting into the national championship game," he said. "I think about it every day and at every practice. I keep it in the back of my mind, because I never want to feel like that again."

LaxMagazine.com MD2 PPOY Fan Vote

Eric Janssen, Adelphi

Shayne Jackson, Limestone

Eddie Plompen, C.W. Post

Ian Wild, Mercyhurst

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