Adrenaline Black Card: 2018, 2019 Standouts
On Friday June 10, Stony Brook University played host to the Black Card Showcase, one of several big events kicking off the summer recruiting circuit.
As the lead in to the Platinum Cup, an event for some of the best-known club programs from around the country, the day featured 2018s, 2019s, and 2020s squaring off in three games each throughout the day.
As a bonus for college coaches, every player was uncommitted. 3d Rising compiled reports on many of the top players in attendance from both the 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes.
Here are 10 standouts from each age group:
Cameron Martin, Defense, St Sebastian’s (Mass.), 2018
Big, fast, and physical, this left-handed beast of a defenseman was the total package. Already appearing to be close to fully developed, Martin possesses very good feet for his size, handles the ball well, and plays with great leverage. Well versed in team schemes, he showed great off-ball awareness and put the ball on the ground multiple times with well-timed double teams to the back of the ball carrier. He’s a player sure to garner Division I interest as the summer progresses.
Justin Cheng, LSM, Arnold Beckman High School (Calif.), 2018
Perhaps no player had more of a breakout day on Friday than Cheng, a Southern California native who was the talk of the day for many coaches in attendance watching the 2018s. To sum up his game briefly: every time he was around the ball, it seemed to go on the ground. While not physically imposing at 5-foot-9, by the end of the day, he had the presence of a player a foot taller. Opposing offenses kept the ball away from him, and defenses slid early when he was in possession of the ball. Cheng is relentless on ground balls, has a tremendous motor, and is a major transition threat, scoring a goal and having many other offensive opportunities in the time we saw him. Word on the street is that Cheng is a high-academic student, which would seem to make him a great fit at a Patriot League type of institution.
Cole Daninger, Midfield, O’Dea High School (Wash.), 2018
This Washington product certainly had one of the longest trips to get to Stony Brook on Friday, but with his play he showed it was a trip that was certainly worth it. A two-way midfielder, Daninger showed great skills on the offensive end as a midfield dodger, beating his man down the alley and burying shots on the run with both hands. He also shined between the lines, playing very tough on ground balls and serving as a one-man clear for Team Movement throughout the day. Also proved very adept on the defensive end as a Short Stick Defensive Midfielder, which is where he primarily played over the weekend with the West Coast Starz. His diverse skill set certainly makes him an intriguing college prospect. Wherever he decides on, his athleticism could make him an immediate competitor for playing time.
Matt Baugher, Attack, Greenwich High School (Conn.), 2018
An explosive left-handed dodger from X, Baugher repeatedly flashed brilliance throughout the day. At one point, he wowed the sideline with a two-part move from X, attacking hard to his right hand only to stop on a dime, reattack to his left, and bury an overhand shot while running straight toward the midfield line with a defender draped over him. At times, however, the Greenwich product showed parts of his game that still need refining, in some situations stick protection and shot choice. With the explosiveness and change of direction that Baugher has, though, it’s tough to see him remaining uncommitted for too much longer.
Slade Simpson, Defense, Chapparral High School (Colo.), 2018
In general, individual showcases do not tend to favor defensive prospects. Players from around the country getting thrown together on a team can work for offensive players, but with defense relying on coordination between multiple players, it can make for a long day. BlackCard appeared to trump that trend, however, with strong defense being showcased throughout the day, and many top defenders making names for themselves. Simpson was certainly one of those players, as the Colorado prospect led a Team STX defense that gave opposing offenses trouble all day. A medium-height, stocky defender, Simpson was constantly barking orders, making sure all defenders were on the same page. He has a knack for being around the ball whenever it’s on the ground, uses his stick well to guide ball-carriers on-ball, and handles the ball well on the clear. While he does not have the prototypical frame of a high-level Division 1 defenseman, Simpson showed he’ll be a great prospect for a team that is looking for defenseman of his mold.
Zach Tucker, Midfield, Taft School (Conn.), 2018
Originally from the New York City area, the Taft School standout showed a college-ready dodging skillset from the midfield. Tall and athletic, Tucker is great at initiating contact out of the dodge, and he uses a great burst to quickly get separation. With a quick shot release and a hard right-handed shot, he quickly became a targeted player for opposing defenses. When slides came quickly, he showed great field awareness, finding open teammates with accurate passes across the field. As he continues to develop more strength in his game, Tucker is a prospect that has the ability to continue to grow as he gets closer to college.
Colton Blacketer, LSM/Defense, St Xavier High School (Ky.), 2018
The left-handed Blacketer was another defensive player who shined on Friday, showing a great mix of skill in team defense and between the lines. In settled defense, he knocked down a skip pass, showed great stick placement while covering dodges, and slid quickly and effectively. Between the lines, he was fast and physical off the wings, had great hands on ground balls, and was savvy in pushing transition.
Paul Rodriguez, Attack, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.), 2018
Another West Coast product who had success on Friday, Rodriguez is a true multi-dimensional right-handed attackman. At various points during the day, showed a great inside roll move, the ability to step away and throw skip passes, and bury stepdown opportunities in transition. When matched up with a short-stick defender, showed he could exploit it, getting topside from X twice for goals. While not necessarily possessing the strength or explosion of high-end Division 1 attackman, Rodriguez will be a nice get for a program at a level just below that.
Andrew Antonucci, Midfield, Phillips Andover (Mass.), 2018
The “other” of the Antonucci brothers, Andrew showed that while his brother Jake (a Providence commit) may receive much of the attention, both brothers have serious Division 1 potential. A small right-handed midfielder, what Antonucci lacks in height, he makes up for in everything else. He is exceptionally strong, tough as nails, physical, and fast between the lines. In the afternoon on Friday, he scooped the ball up on the defensive end, ran it the length of the field, and upon getting down the offensive end, buried his shoulder into a defender, putting him flat on his back. While he does not have the prototypical size of a Division 1 player, his tough style of play is sure to attract some attention.
Ben Berke, Attack, Lawrenceville School (N.J.), 2018
Originally a Texas native, the recent transfer to the Lawrenceville School showed what a year of prep lacrosse has done for him. A two-handed dodger from X, Berke bursts out of dodge, gaining separation nearly every time. While he is still not exceptionally fluid once he gets to 5-and-5, it is an area of his game that has shown major improvement over the last year. Berke also showed a more diverse skillset than in the past, at times rolling into the crease and playing off-ball. He even had a nice right-handed finish inside in transition. He is a very fluid player, and appears as though he’s gliding on the turf at times.
Emmett Barger, Attack, St Anne’s Belfield (VA), 2019
Even playing against players a year older, Barger was perhaps the most dominant player in the event on Friday. A right-handed attackman most comfortable playing on the wing, Barger has a hard stepdown shot and great vision, which combine to make him an ideal point attackman on the fast break. In settled offense, he can feed and finish, and is always playing with his head up. Barger’s limiting factor is that he is not an attackman who will create a ton for himself against a close defenseman, instead preferring to sit adjacent to the dodger and pick defenses apart when the slide comes. With his skillset, he is sure to end up at a very strong Division 1 program as a complementary attack option.
Sam Lutfi, Attack, Massapequa High School (N.Y.), 2019
A small left-handed attackman, Lutfi does not stand out physically, but when playing in the offense, he just makes plays. Perhaps what stands out most about Lutfi is the savvy with which he plays. He is extremely smart at recognizing when to attack, when to pull the ball out, when to shoot and when to feed. He reads slides very well, and has an uncanny knack for knowing exactly when he has a step on his defender in transition, and using that time to blow past him underneath to the cage. He has a very quick first step out of the dodge, and gets the ball out of his stick quickly. With a trend in Division 1 towards small, quick attackman, Lutfi seems to be a player that will be in serious consideration with many top programs.
Will Frisoli, Defense, St Sebastian’s (Mass.), 2019
Between Frisoli and Cameron Martin (mentioned above), St Sebastian’s appears primed to have a dominating defense over the next few seasons. Frisoli comes across as a very polished, fundamental defenseman, playing very strong on and off-ball defense with his feet, and staying in the right position at all times. Then, at opportune times, he showcases an active stick, landing takeaway checks, knocking down passes, and denying passing lanes. He put the ball on the turf multiple times while we were watching, and does a great job closing out to hands when sliding. He is a playmaking defenseman that has received a lot of attention in the recruiting market.
Jack Thompson, Goalie, Rock Canyon High School (Colo.), 2019
Perhaps no surprise on Friday was greater than the play of the goalies. Often a weak spot at individual events, the goalie play at Black Card was strong across the board. Leading the pack in that category was Thompson, an athletically-built lefty who takes up a lot of the cage, yet still has the ability to get to low shots with ease. He barked out commands and featured an accurate clearing pass. With more performances like the one he had on Friday, one has to believe Thompson will be a goalie soon to fall off the market.
Cody Wiebe, Goalie, Menlo Park (Calif.), 2019
While not the imposing athlete of Thompson (written up above), Wiebe was just as effective in cage on Friday. A stout right-handed goalie with great hands, the California native has extremely quick reflexes, which enables him to play a relatively high arc in cage. In the final game of the day, Wiebe made perhaps the most impressive save of the day, getting pipe to pipe to deny a slam-dunk finish from an opposing attackman.
Greyson Mokarow, Defense, Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 2019
While known for their athletically talented midfield recruits, Texas has been churning out its fair share of defensive recruits lately, and Mokarow appears to be another in that same lineage. A rangy righty, he featured great check location, good lateral quickness, and an ability to close out to dodgers when sliding. A strong prospect who is sure to garner attention coming out of the weekend.
Davis Gillenwater, Attack, St Christopher’s School (Va.), 2019
Gillenwater is a right-handed dodging attackman. He does a great job playing with his head up, always surveying to find the open man. Additionally, the St Christopher’s student is an adept feeder, driving hard to the cage through contact, then stepping away to snap a pass inside. He can score on his own when necessary, but is certainly a player who prefers to create for others.
Brian Wilmans, FO/Midfield, Bullis School (D.C.), 2019
The most dominant faceoff performance of the day certainly belonged to Wilmans, winning forward with ease for a majority of the day. Despite not having the beefy, wrestler-type build of many other faceoff guys, Wilmans showed that even when he got tied up, he had the strength and skill to win re-clamps, spitting the ball out to space. Has good stick skills and offensive ability, which makes him a threat on the fast break. Wilmans is a prospect who likely won’t be uncommitted for much longer.
Kaiser Fry, Midfield, Loyola High School (Calif.), 2019
Another athletic, downhill dodging midfielder, Fry garnered attention all day with his ability to beat both short-sticks and LSM’s with ease. He uses his body well to engage his defender, and has a quick split to get separation.
August Sally, Midfield, East High School (Colo.), 2019
A left-handed midfielder, Sally, who goes by the nickname “Mustang”, gets to his left hand with ease off nearly every dodge. He has a lightning fast first two steps out of the dodge, and squares up well on his left-to-left split dodges, keeping his defender off balance. While he is still developing strength, and thus is too east/west in his dodging at times, Sally has the big-time athleticism and hard shot that are sure to endear him to college coaches.