Premier Lacrosse inaugural college draft recap

STAMFORD, CT - Premier Lacrosse League holds its inaugural collegiate draft at NBC Sports studio in Stamford, CT (Photo courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League)
STAMFORD, CT - Premier Lacrosse League holds its inaugural collegiate draft at NBC Sports studio in Stamford, CT (Photo courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League) /

Loyola’s Pat Spencer is selected first overall in the inaugural Premier Lacrosse League college draft.

Following the thrilling Game 7 between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks on NBC Sports, lacrosse fans were treated to the first ever nationally televised professional lacrosse draft. The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) college draft involved coaches from each of the six teams selecting four players each.

The show was more discussion-based than typical drafts, with each coach providing their rationale on selecting each player. In addition to the first look at each coaches’ vision for their team, the draft show provided highlights of the game’s young stars and insights on PLL-specific rules such as a 45-second shot clock. Despite the late 2 a.m. ET / 11 p.m. PT air time, it was a big step for a sport that continues to push for national recognition.

Let’s dive into the results and see how each of the six teams drafted.

Round 1 draft results

1. Pat Spencer (Attack, Loyola) – Archers LC

2. Ryan Conrad (Midfield, Virginia) – Atlas LC

3. Zach Goodrich (Defensive Midfield, Towson) – Chrome LC

4. Alex Woodall (Faceoff, Towson) – Whipsnakes LC

5. Clarke Petterson (Attack, Cornell) – Redwoods LC

6. Johnny Surdick (Defense, Army) – Chaos LC

PLL, Premier Lacrosse, NBC Sports
STAMFORD, CT – First Round selections of the PLL’s inaugural draft. (Photo courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League) /

Round 2

7. Jack Rowlett (Defense, North Carolina) – Chaos LC

8. Tyler Dunn (Midfield, UPenn) – Redwoods LC

9. Brad Smith (Midfield, Duke) – Whipsnakes LC

10. Chris Sabia (Defense, Penn State) – Chrome LC

11. Cade Van Raaphorst (Defense, Duke) – Atlas LC

12. Curtis Corley (Defense, Maryland) – Archers LC

Round 3

13. Colton Jackson (Midfield, Denver) – Archers LC

14. Noah Richard (Long Stick Midfield, Marquette) – Atlas LC

15. Max Tuttle (Midfield, Sacred Heart) – Chrome LC

16. Isaac Paparo (Long Stick Midfield, UMass) – Whipsnakes LC

17. Brendan Gleason (Attack/Midfield, Notre Dame) – Redwoods LC

18. Greyson Torain (Midfield, Navy) – Chaos LC

Round 4

19. Austin Henningsen (Faceoff, Maryland) – Chaos LC

20. Tim Troutner (Goalie, High Point) – Redwoods LC

21. John Daniggelis (Midfield, Yale) – Whipsnakes LC

22. Connor Farrell (Faceoff, LIU Post) – Chrome LC

23. Brent Noseworthy (Midfield, Michigan) – Atlas LC

24. John Prendergast (Defensive Midfield, Duke) – Archers LC

Team draft grades

Archers LC

The Archers took Pat Spencer, the best player available, at No. 1 and it was the right move despite potentially having to wait a full year for him to join the team. Their next two picks were a little more underwhelming with Curtis Corley chosen to join an already crowded defense at No. 12 and Colton Jackson, who is having a fairly subpar season with 15 goals and six assists with Denver, at No. 13. However, they wrapped up the draft with the pick of John Prendergast, an underrated defensive middie who’s shown he can score when needed–a key attribute given a 45-second shot clock that will force midfielders to play much more in transition.

Grade: B-

Atlas LC

Despite Ryan Conrad being a solid two-way midfielder for Virginia, his selection at No. 2 is a tad high given that he’ll join an already crowded Atlas midfield group. Yet, Atlas LC’s next two picks, close defenseman Cade Van Raaphorst and long stick midfielder Noah Richard (who’s brother is already on the team) effectively addressed some needs at defense. Top that off with their selection of midfielder Brent Noseworthy, an obvious choice given Atlas head coach John Paul’s Michigan connection, and the Atlas earn one of the better draft grades.

Grade: A-

Chaos LC

The Chaos showed their commitment to playing disciplined lacrosse with the selection of two players from service academies: Army’s Johnny Surdick and Navy’s Greyson Torain. Add hard-nosed UNC defenseman Jack Rowlett and Terps’ Austin Henningsen as the team’s second faceoff specialist, and you have a solid draft that addresses the team’s biggest needs.

Grade: A

Chrome LC

Not only is No. 3 overall pick Zach Goodrich one of the best defensive middies in this draft class, but he can also score in transition, which as mentioned earlier, is crucial given the PLL’s short shot clock. The Chrome’s second pick in Penn State’s Chris Sabia at No. 10 also bolsters their defense and given that they are already stacked with offensive talent, their emphasis on the defensive side earns them a high grade. The only head scratcher is drafting Connor Farrell of LIU Post, who, while talented at the faceoff X, joins an already crowded faceoff group that includes Drew Simoneau and Brendan Fowler.

Grade: A-

Redwoods LC

With the No. 5 pick, the Redwoods snagged Clarke Petterson, who is a solid attackman, averaging over 3 goals per game for Cornell. Yet, he may not make much of an impact given the team’s already packed attack group that includes Dylan Molloy, Matt Kavanagh, Kylor Bellestri, Joey Sankey and Mike Bocklet. The Redwoods also picked up UPenn’s Tyler Dunn and Brendan Gleason who will add some youth to a seasoned midfield unit. But with the exception of final pick Tim Troutner, who has been stellar in net for High Point with over 12 saves per game, the Redwoods didn’t really address the defensive side of the ball. We’ll see if this strategy helps or hurts them in the long run.

Grade: B

Whipsnakes LC

With the No. 4 pick, the Whipsnakes took Towson faceoff specialist Alex Woodall, who’s dominated the X this year winning nearly 75 percent of his faceoffs. The team then got two of the biggest steals of the draft in Brad Smith, Duke’s athletic, pro-ready middie and Isaac Paparo, the talented UMass long stick middie, who fell to the second and third rounds respectfully.  Add in Yale’s John Dannigellis, a transition threat, and you have a solid draft for Coach Jim Stagnitta.

Garde: A

Undrafted Players to Watch

The PLL is already loaded with talent, which is a good problem to have, but that means there were several talented college players left off the board. Whether they make an appearance in the future remains to be seen, but it is important to keep an eye out for undrafted players such as Daniel Bucaro (Attack, Georgetown), James Burr (Attack, Boston), Max Edelmann (Goalie, Rutgers), Jack Jasinski (Attack, Ohio State), Ryland Rees (LSM, Stony Brook) and Brendan Sunday (Attack/Midfield, Towson).

Top storylines

Will Johnny Surdick and Greyson Torain’s service obligation affect their ability to play?

Chaos coach Andy Towers reassured fans that Johnny Surdick and Greyson Torain would be available to play this summer. However, with both graduating from service academies and entering military service after this summer, how the military will accommodate their professional lacrosse aspirations will be a big question mark heading into the season. Yet, several past Army and Navy graduates have been able to effectively split time as an officer and professional lacrosse player, so the odds are certainly in their favor.

What’s even more intriguing about this storyline? In addition to battling each other as rivals in college, both played together at DeMatha High School. If both are able to play, it will be their first time playing as teammates in over four years.

Who will join the PLL and who will choose the MLL?

The professional lacrosse landscape will see two competing leagues take the field this summer and the first battle will be for the game’s top players. Of the 24 players selected in the PLL draft, 22 were also drafted in the MLL draft back in March. Players will have the opportunity to decide which league to play in and for the first time will hold some leverage when negotiating contracts.

When will we see Pat Spencer play?

Pat Spencer was everyone’s favorite to go #1 overall, but the biggest question still left is whether the star attackman will play this summer or sit out to focus on his college basketball career. Following his graduation from Loyola this May, Spencer, who was a multi-sport standout at Boys’ Latin High School, hopes to use his single year of eligibility to play college basketball. While this means we may have to wait to see the future star make his professional debut, if his highlights from this season are any indication, he will be worth the wait.

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