By William Griffin | 7/11/13 12:00 PM
The 2013 Major Lacrosse Game, Presented by Moes Southwest Grill, takes place on Saturday July 13 at 7p.m. (ET) at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The game, which will feature a skills competition at halftime, will be televised live on ESPN2.
Year in and year out the All-Star game showcases the top players in Major League Lacrosse and this year is no different—except for one glaring stat. Seven of this year’s All-Stars are from the 2012 Draft Class. The game will serve somewhat as a changing of the guard, from old timers to young guns.
Rob Pannell, Steele Stanwick, Mike Manley, Kevin Cunningham, Tommy Palasek, Chris Bocklet and Drew Snider will all be representing the 2012 Draft Class in this year’s All-Star Game presented by Moe’s Southwest Grill.
Pannell, the number one overall pick in the 2012 MLL Draft ended up playing an extra year of collegiate lacrosse, due to a medical redshirt, deferring his MLL debut until this season. He has taken the league by storm, both on the field and off—those lime green “Pannell” Lizards T-shirts are everywhere. Since his college season went so late, he’s only played in six games, but his per-game stats are some of the best in the league. His 2.3 goals, 1.7 assists, and 4 points a game are good for 6th, 3rd and 4th in the league respectively.
Stanwick was the number two overall pick of the 2012 Draft and to this point has lived up to his high selection. After his Virginia Cavaliers were eliminated from the NCAA playoffs, Stanwick made him MLL Debut against the Lizards, scoring two goals and assisting on two others. Stanwick finished off the season playing in nine games, with eight goals and 15 assists. Stanwick has played even more impressively this year, even while playing on a team that has struggled all season. His 15 assists are good for fourth in the league; those assists coupled with his eight goals give him 23 points on the season, good for 19th in the league.
Manley was drafted number three overall out of Duke and is the only defenseman from the 2012 class to be selected to this year’s All-Star Game. In 20 games over two seasons, Manley has proven to be Rochester’s strongest defender, drawing tough assignments week in and week out. His teammate in Rochester, Matt Striebel, a nine time All-Star has nothing but glowing words to speak about the rookie long pole, saying he is “so impressed with his play on the field and his leadership, all the things you expect out of someone who graduated from Duke. He has had an excellent season and he’s such a key valuable steady part of the Rattlers Defense.”
Villanova’s Cunningham was drafted by Boston with the 19th pick but never suited up with the Cannons and was taken with the number two pick in the 2013 supplemental draft, by the Nationals. He has proven himself as an All-Star this season in Hamilton, assisting on 17 goals, second best among MLL players and number one among attackmen. His 26 points are 11th best in the league and 6th best amongst attackmen.
Palasek, out of Syracuse, played in 11 games in 2012, scoring 21 goals and dishing out 5 assists, good for 26 points in his rookie season. This season Palasek is 19th in goals scored with 15 and is an integral part of a young Lizards Offense. The ceiling is high for Palasek, Pannell and the Lizards in the future.
With the 29th pick of the 2012 Draft the Denver Outlaws selected Bocklet—what a steal for the Outlaws. In his seven games in 2012, Bocklet recorded 17 goals and three assists, good for a respectable 20 points. This season, however, Bocklet has been on fire, proving to be the most impressive of the 2012 Draft Class thus far. His league leading 33 goals have helped propel the Outlaws to 10-0 heading into the All-Star Break. Bocklet’s nine assists push him to 42 points on the season, trailing league leader Paul Rabil by one.
Chesapeake owned the 45th pick of the draft and selected a midfielder, Snider, out of the University of Maryland and eventually traded him to Denver before the start of the season. Denver was a perfect fit for Snider. While not a star in his rookie campaign, scoring 10 goals and recording an assist, 2013 has seen a whole new Snider. His 25 goals are fourth best in the MLL and his 35 points are good for fifth in the league and third best among midfielders—pretty impressive for the 45th pick.
When asked what he thought about the success of the 2012 Draft Class, number one pick and Lizards attackman, Pannell, said, “For the 2012 class to have that representation in only our second year is great and is a credit to all those player’s hard work, and their development throughout college, and the fact they were never satisfied with the player that they were and continued to get better.” Pannell added, “It shows the development of the game. I think that it was a very talented year. There were a lot of great players.”
Striebel, one of the few remaining players from the first Major League Lacrosse season added that “The guys coming out of college right now are so ready to play at this level,” but followed by saying that there is so much still to learn from veterans, and all those who came before; Striebel feels that its his responsibility, having played in the first ever MLL games, to remind these new superstars how good some of the “pioneers of Major League Lacrosse” were.
This is only the beginning for the 2012 Class. Their ceiling is exponential and next year very easily could see many more All-Stars from the Class. The talent level flowing into the league is very high, and players are making the transition to the pros more easily and much quicker.
While we can’t forget those who came before them, those who pioneered for the league, and the MLL’s first stars, it is a privilege to watch a class with this much skill. It’s exciting to see what they will be able to accomplish in years to come, as they stand guard of Major League Lacrosse.
To learn more about attending this weekend’s All-Star Game, the schedule of events, youth tournament and to purchase tickets, visit Major League Lacrosse’s All-Star Page at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com/all-star-game/. If you can’t make it to Charlotte for the game, tune into ESPN2 at 7 p.m. for the national broadcast.
The 2012 Draft Class All-Stars
1. Rob Pannell NEW YORK
2. Steele Stanwick OHIO
3. Mike Manley ROCHESTER
19. Kevin Cunningham HAMILTON
28. Tommy Palasek NEW YORK
29. Chris Bocklet DENVER
45. Drew Snider DENVER
*While not selected to this year’s All-Star Game, it is worth noting that the 38th pick, out of Yale, Matt Gibson was selected to the 2012 MLL All-Star Game last year.