October 1, 2012

Edmonton Nabs Matthews First in NLL Entry Draft

from staff reports

Mark Matthews won a 2011 Minto Cup title playing for current Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan.
© Tim Prothero/Vintage LaX

TORONTO -- With the first pick in the 2012 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, the Edmonton Rush ... did what was expected. They selected former Denver standout Mark Matthews with the No. 1 overall pick.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound forward was one of the most highly regarded draft-eligible players over the past 15 years, and is expected to instantly spark the Rush offense when the team begins the 2013 NLL season in January. Matthews will wear No. 42 on his Rush jersey.

"Obviously it's been a dream of mine to play in the NLL, and to be part of the Edmonton Rush is something special," Matthews said after being picked first Monday night at Toronto's Westin Harbour hotel.

The pick reunites Matthews with his former junior coach, Rush General Manager and Head Coach Derek Keenan. Matthews played a starring role on Keenan's Whitby Warriors which claimed the 2011 Minto Cup national Junior 'A' championship. The win with Whitby was Matthews' second straight Minto success after being part of the victorious Coquitlam club in 2010.

"I think knowing each other helps. There's a trust factor," said Keenan. "He knows what my expectations are as a player and as a person. The systems that we used in the summer (with Whitby) are almost exactly the same as we use in Edmonton. He's well aware and well versed in them.

"He's got all the tools. He shoots the ball a hundred miles an hour. He passes well, sees the floor, good on the power play. He can shoot accurately from outside and he can finish on the inside.

"He's a playmaker ... he can flat-out make plays. He's got all the attributes that will make him a very good player."

A dynamic offensive presence, Matthews finished his four-year career at Denver with a school record 216 points and 155 goals. The Oshawa, Ontario, product also completed his collegiate tenure on a 45-game point scoring streak, which helped him earn his second straight ECAC First Team honors and All-American status.

Along with being the ECAC's Offensive Player of the Year, Matthews' collegiate accolades included 30 hat tricks and 21 power-play goals, and completing his time at Denver as the second-leading active goal scorer and fourth active leader in career points amongst all NCAA players.

Matthews already has a taste of pro lacrosse as he was taken in the first round of last year's Major League Lacrosse draft by his hometown Denver Outlaws. In just nine regular-season games, Matthews put up 19 goals and nine assists – four of his goals coming in his debut against Chesapeake.

1. Edmonton - Mark Matthews (Denver University)
2. Minnesota - Brock Sorenson (Ohio State University)
3. Minnesota - Kiel Matisz (Robert Morris University)
4. Minnesota - Shayne Jackson (Limestone College)
5. Buffalo - Dhane Smith (Kitchener, ON)
6. Calgary - Joe Resetarits (University of Albany)
7. Calgary - Matthew Dinsdale (Coquitlam, BC)
8. Edmonton - Curtis Knight (Whitby, ON)
9. Colorado - Colton Clark (Bellarmine University)
10. Minnesota - Alex Crepinsek (Rochester Institute of Technology)

11. Washington - Tyler Garrison (Coquitlam, BC)
12. Washington - Billy Hostrawser (Orangeville, ON)
13. Buffalo - Hayden Smith (Orangeville, ON)
14. Toronto - Bradley Kri (Orangeville, ON)
15. Edmonton - Michael Cudmore (University of Hartford)
16. Buffalo - Jordan Critch (Orangeville, ON)
17. Calgary - Jackson Decker (Burnaby, BC)
18. Buffalo - Carter Bender (University of Hartford)
19. Washington - Justin Pychel (Six Nations, ON)
20. Toronto - Mike Lum-Walker (Whitby, ON)

21. Washington - Mitch Jones (Orangeville, ON)
22. Buffalo - Kevin Brownell (Robert Morris University)
23. Washington - Tim Henderon (Army)
24. Minnesota - Sam Bradman (Salisbury College)
25. Toronto - Kyle Pereira (Brampton, ON)
26. Rochester - Robbie Campbell (Stony Brook University)
27. Toronto - Kyle Belton (Stony Brook University)
28. Edmonton - Michael Burke (Brampton, ON)
29. Rochester - Cody Hawkins (Delta, BC)

30. Washington - TJ Cowx (Mars Hill)
31. Buffalo - Joel Matthews (University of Detroit Mercy)
32. Philadelphia - Michael Manley (Duke University)
33. Edmonton* - Simon Giourmetakis (Canisius College)
34. Toronto - Dustin Caravello (Orangeville, ON)
35. Edmonton* - Mitchell Bannister (Okotokes, AB)
36. Calgary - Chad Cummings (Kitchener, ON)
37. Minnesota* - Tyler Tanguay (Adrian College)
38. Rochester - Matt Hummel (Mercyhurst University)

39. Philadelphia - CJ Costabile (Duke University)
40. Buffalo - Wenster Green (Six Nations, ON)
41. Philadelphia - Kevin Randall (University of Notre Dame)
42. Minnesota - Bryan Campbell (Brock University)
43. Toronto - Robert Koger (Georgetown University)
44. Colorado - Jaden Gastaldo (Burnaby, BC)
45. Calgary - Kyle Dexter (Calgary, AB)
46. Minnesota* - Matt Gibson (Yale University)
47. Rochester - Chris Attwood (St. Catharines, ON)

48. Washington - Kyle Buchanan (Robert Morris University)
49. Minnesota** - Michael Teeter (Victoria, BC)
50. Calgary - Curtis Pridham (Calgary, AB)
51. Minnesota - Chris Cudmore (Mars Hill College)
52. Toronto - Tyler Glebe (London, ON)
53. Colorado - Alex Demopoulos (University of Denver)
54. Calgary - Myles Dennett (Calgary, AB)
55. Edmonton - Kyle Goodchild (University of Hartford)
56. Rochester - Cody McLeod (Orangeville, ON)

* The Minnesota Swarm traded the 33rd & 35th overall selections in the 2012 Draft to the Edmonton Rush in exchange for the 37th & 46th overall selections and Edmonton's 3rd round selection in the 2013 Draft.

** The Calgary Roughnecks traded the 49th overall selection in the 2012 Draft to the Minesota Swarm in exchange for Minnesota's 6th round selection in the 2013 Draft.

Coach/General Manager Comments

Former Robert Morris star Kiel Matisz was one of four first-round picks by the Minnesota Swarm.
© Tim Prothero/Vintage LaX

Minnesota coach Jim Sullivan

"Brock [Sorenson, No. 2 overall pick] fits the bill for what we're looking for. We want character people and we want guys that are the best at their positions. Anyone who has watched film on Brock knows that he was the best defender and transition guy in the draft. We've been waiting to get him, and we got him. He's going to fit the mold well, and he's already bonded with many of our players.

"Kiel is going to do whatever we ask of him, and he's already made that real clear with us. His size and athleticism will allow him to do what he wants on the floor and he's going to give a lot of teams trouble.

"Shayne is a fearless competitor. He's going to cut through the middle anytime, and he's going to burn you with an outside shot. I watched him this summer in Langley during the Mann Cup, and he was a big contributor to their success. He's a competitor, and that's what we're looking for.

"We rounded out the first-round with a shut-down defenseman. Every team in our league has two or three players that can burn you on offense, and when I can allocate one player to shut-down a particular player, that helps. There's going to be an opportunity for him to step in and learn our system real quickly."

Buffalo general manager Steve Dietrich

"We were able to get some guys later on that we had rated a lot higher. Some guys slid to us that we were real happy with. We wanted to get some guys who could come in and compete for spots right away, and I think we did that.

"Dhane's the complete package. He's got great vision and great hands, and he's proven in junior that he can score a lot of goals. I think with his athleticism and [head coach Darris Kilgour] teaching him to play defense in the system that he runs, I think he'll be real good at it.

"Critch can score, he's played defense, and he's another guy that we think can get up and down the floor for us. Just like with Critch, we were shocked that Bender hadn't already been taken. He's got a big body, he can score, and he can open up some space on the left side.

Calgary coach Curt Malawski

"Joe is going to be a seamless transition to our offense, he plays very well without the ball and is a threat when he gets it. We expect big things from him, his athleticism and shot on the run, as well as his ability to catch and release in traffic is going to be huge for us. He is going to be a guy who will step-in NLL ready and will be a very good addition."

Colorado coach Bob Hamley

"Just like we did last year when we made Adam [Jones] our first pick, we got our guy again this year. Colton's a big body who can shoot the ball. He has good hands."

Rochester coach Mike Hasen

"We are quite excited to get Campbell and Hawkins. They are two western boys that are going to come in compete for jobs."

Washington coach Chris Hall

"We feel like we have a lot of firepower up front, so Garrison and Hostrawser were two defensive players that were high on our list. They add some youth and grit and will really fight with our returning veterans for playing time. To get [Mitch Jones] at number 21 is a steal. We came in looking for another weapon on the left side and there was no way we could pass up on a guy with his talent and the types of numbers he's put up.

"[Tim Henderson] is a under-the-radar kind of guy. We saw him play at the NCAA North-South game and were very impressed with his athleticism and style of play. We're excited to see how he comes in and learns the indoor game."

Toronto general manager Terry Sanderson

"I had a number of opportunities to watch Brad play this summer in Orangeville. He's got another year of Junior A eligibility, we'll be patient with him and he's still got a lot of time to develop into a regular in the NLL."

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