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DanSawyer
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Greatest ever college player?

Postby DanSawyer Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:14 pm

I always kind of assumed it was Gary Gait. I recently discovered, however, that Jim Brown, possibly the greatest American Football player of all time, is also reckoned possibly to have that claim for lax as well. Here's his post in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
http://www.lacrosse.org/museum/halloffa ... prof_id=35

Annoyingly, Brown is also a pretty good actor, being in the Dirty Dozen, Mars Attacks and the awesome Any GIven Sunday. Having entered the NFL, he was quoted as saying "I'd rather play lacrosse six days a week and football on the seventh."


Any other contenders?
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Postby KagedAnimal Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:17 am

hmm I never really thought about it really. I guess Lacrosse has always been different to me than other sports, where I remember great teams more than great individuals.

Yeah growing up I always heard stories about how great Jim Brown was but Ive never seen any video of his lacrosse playing days. I wonder if Lax was even filmed then? I did see him throwing around on ESPN as an hold man though and he's more accurate with an old wooden stick than most people are with today's over-engineered gimmick sticks.

If I had to put up some great players I had the chance to watch as a kid other than Gary Gait:

Paul Gait
Tom Marachek
Mark Millon
Tony Millon (doesnt get alot of notice. Was an amazing defensive short-pole middie in his time but you know the saying, offense gets the glory)

There were some outstanding long-poles in the early/mid 90's for Hopkins but for the life of me I cant remember their names. This is gonna bug the crap outta me.
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Tough Question

Postby UKLaxfan Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:27 pm

There are always problems comparing players from different eras, apart from the different equipment and rules in some cases.

There is also the different levels of competition.

Then you have the problem of defining Greatness

It isn't simply who scored the most points or even who scored the most points per game.

Attack players will have a higher profile then defenders as they get their names in the papers.

There are also the intangibles of the impact they had on the game, did they make the game more popular, were rules changed because of them?

Jim Brown was an exceptional athlete and there is some footage of his lacrosse playing available if only a few seconds.
There is a glowing description of Jim Brown and his performance in the 1956 North/South All Star game in Bob Scott's book.
he scored a one handed goal from 16 yds as one of 5 goals in the game.

Jim Brown was known for holding his stick close to his chest and charging through players and defenses and the rules were changed to stop players being able to do that, so there are lots of arguments for Jim Brown and he was the most dominant player of his era.

Gary Gait though is a completely different level though, apart from the fact that he was a 4x All American or won 3x National Championships, he broke scoring records for a single season (70G/1988) or in NCAA play-offs. He literally did change the way the game was played.

Forget about all his records he went on to win at the MLL/NLL Pro level,

Purely based on the College game, he was the greatest College player of All time.
Picture a situation where at any time when he was on the field that he was probably
- the fastest player on the field
- the strongest player on the field
- the best stick skills on the field
- the one of the biggest players on the field
- the fittest player on the field

then to make matters worse there was a identical twin brother who was to know exactly what each other was about to do.

In their senior season 1990, the Gaits never saw the field in the 4th Quarter and very rarely in the 3rd as the game was over, the exception being in the Final vs Loyola where Gary came back on to play attack.

All the points he scored were from MIDFIELD
so both the Gaits played defense as well as playing on the wings on the Face-off.

Previously a middies job had been to get the ball up field to the attack so they could set up the offense, the Gaits had better stick skills, better dodgers and better shooters/finishers than the attack players.

If Gary Gait had played for a Coach who had kept him on the field all game then the point scoring records would be out of sight.

It always made me laugh when Mike Powell was going to beat the scoring Record at Syracuse set by his brothers, that some fans were saying Mike Powell was the best ever, it's not even close!

So long and short of it ... Gary Gait is THE Greatest Ever College Player
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Postby DanSawyer Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:26 pm

That's an infinitely better informed version of what I thought!
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Gee G!

Postby Anthony Parker Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:59 pm

Gary Gait - I wonder what became of him!!!
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Gary Gait

Postby UKLaxfan Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:01 am

Just to compare like with like here is Gary Gait's profile in Hall of Fame

http://www.uslacrosse.org/museum/hallof ... rof_id=278

Plus stats while at Syracuse University:

1987: http://www.suathletics.com/sports/2007/ ... stats.aspx
1988: http://www.suathletics.com/sports/2007/ ... stats.aspx
1989: http://www.suathletics.com/sports/2007/ ... stats.aspx
1990: http://www.suathletics.com/sports/2007/ ... stats.aspx

1988 National Champions (15-0)
Goals = 70 (most on team)
Assists = 17
Points = 87 (most on team)
GBs = 85 (most on team)
Shots: 162 (most on team)

1989: National Champions (14-1)
Goals = 51 (most on team)
Assists = 14
Points = 65
GBs = 103 (most on team)
Shots: 136 (most on team)

1990: National Champions (13-0)
Goals = 46 (most on team)
Assists = 26
Points = 72 (most on team)
GBs = 84 (most on team)
Shots: 118 (most on team)

So not only did he score the most goals but picked up the most Groundballs for each of National Championship Winning teams 88-89-90.
Syracuse University combined record for 88-90 was 42 Wins 1 Loss (L 14-13 @ Hopkins Opening game of 1989 season)

The 1990 Team averaged over 20 Goals per Game for the season and is recognised as the Greatest College Lacrosse Team ever.

1990 Results: (13-0)
3/10 NORTH CAROLINA W 14-9
3/17 ST. JOHN’S W 26-9
3/24 JOHNS HOPKINS W 18-10
3/31 at Adelphi W 26-8
4/7 at Hofstra W 20-9
4/14 HOBART W 23-9
4/18 at Cornell W 22-10
4/21 at Rutgers W 22-8
4/29 at Penn W 15-12
5/5 MASSACHUSETTS W 23-9
5/20 BROWN W 20-12 - NCAA Quarterfinals (Carrier Dome; Syracuse, N .Y.)
5/26 vs. North Carolina W 21-10 - NCAA Semifinals (Piscataway, N .J.)
5/28 vs. Loyola W 21-9 - NCAA Championship Final (Piscataway, N .J.)

History of Syracuse Lacrosse:

http://www.suathletics.com/documents/20 ... df?id=3135
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby mishy Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:13 pm

Thats just completely insane - I'd love to see a game with the the Gaits playing (something I've not actually ever managed to find)

I wonder what the equivalent is for defense/goalie? Has there ever been a totally dominant goalie or defender? or is that just the wrong question and really its the entire defense that should be considered? (or maybe even the coach ... bill tierney's princeton being the obvious)

I was reading about Travis Solomon recently, who was one of the first goalies to actively bait shooters - I assume he was pretty good at it

http://insidelacrosse.com/news/2010/10/ ... -1960-2010
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby dblacklock Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:32 pm

I've had the privilege of refereeing the Gaits on a number of occasions at Canadian National Championships and in some USA v Canada Games. They were fantastic. Having the best seat in the house I was amazed at how talented they were.

Jim Brown always said that if given the choice he would have played professional lacrosse over football. But he went where the money was – football. Who could blame him. He retired from football and then went on to have a pretty good broadcasting career on a few of the USA television networks doing football colour commentary
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby UKLaxfan Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:09 am

These guys are my favourite College Lacrosse Players

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWd_SS3gQNU
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby DL99 Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:56 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgPYLMN92pI

NCAA final 1989 Syracuse v Hopkins - the whole game in 8 parts. Both Gaits playing for Syraccuse.
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby clclaxman Mon May 21, 2012 3:39 pm

DL99 wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgPYLMN92pI

NCAA final 1989 Syracuse v Hopkins - the whole game in 8 parts. Both Gaits playing for Syraccuse.


Thanks for the link - used to have an old VHS copy of this that got worn out.....

Best game ever - close I think - this & the 1998 World Series Final are both among my favourites :)
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby UKLaxfan Mon May 21, 2012 6:40 pm

1983 Syracuse vs Johns Hopkins

Has to be mentioned as being up there in best games ever
- Brad Kotz, Tim & Tom Nelson, Mark Burnham, Travis Soloman, Dave Desko
- Cuse were 7 goals down in 3rd Q before Blue Jays collapsed under Syracuse "Orangemen" pressure and Run & Gun Style
- Final Score 17-16

First NCAA Lacrosse game I ever saw and have been a Syracuse fan ever since
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby DL99 Mon May 21, 2012 10:57 pm

Good call....there's about 15 minutes of highlights on Youtube

PART ONE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dp-Sa94vCM

PART TWO - http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&featu ... cRT0ol2wR8
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby UKLaxfan Thu May 24, 2012 12:09 am

1990 Final Highlights
http://youtu.be/sp3zhgXDDSs

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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby young_trig Thu May 24, 2012 8:35 am

UKLaxfan wrote:1990 Final Highlights
http://youtu.be/sp3zhgXDDSs

"Take a bow Tommy!"


Final score?
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby Dining Room Thu May 24, 2012 9:49 am

21-9 -----------I've never seen that game before - incredible.
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby young_trig Thu May 24, 2012 10:01 am

Dining Room wrote:21-9 -----------I've never seen that game before - incredible.


I'm going to ask a contraversial question but I mean it seriously and I hope it sparks a decent debate.

There's some stand out performances in these videos, notably from the Gait brothers. Watching these videos and seeing the standard of the games I want to ask the questions:
1) has the standard of lacrosse improved over the years?
2) Are the Gaits any better than the stand-out players of the new gerneration?

I suspect some strong views from Uklaxfan on this one but I'm just wondering what you all think.
I appreciatre that a major difference between now and then is the standard of the equipment. Better gloves, better sticks, and better helmets. I have no doubt that this allows players to move more freely and retain the ball better in their sticks.

I don't know, I just felt that watching them, they were all completely different types of players. The new generation are clearly about run and gun and the dodging and speed we see from them is amazing. The older generation seemed to be much more dependant on cuts and feeds.

The run and gun is the way the game has eveolved. Defenders now play a different type of game with less take-away checks and slide packages seem a lot more organised. If we took the 1990 Gait brothers and put them in the current Syracuse squad, would they still affect the modern game like they did back in the day?

There is no doubt that they stood out amongst their generation. They were the first to evolve and defined the way we now play the game. Would it be fair to now say that everybody else has caught up and are just as stong and skillful?

One thing I have noticed though is how the good the crease finishing was. The quicksticks and crease cuts were fast and goalkeepers had no chance. It seems nowadays that players want to hold on to the ball just that little bit longer.
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby Rotisserie Thu May 24, 2012 12:04 pm

I was going to ask that exact same question but was terrified of being attacked by the older generation.

The same question arose for me whilst watching that game. I was very impressed with the stick skills, but athletically they don't look like the players we have today.

Nowadays a D1 college lacrosse player spends hours every day in the gym and with personal trainers doing sophisticated work outs to keep them fiter, faster and stronger. On top of that they have extensive film sessions where they analyse every strength/weakness in their opponents.

I assume that the older generation still practised every day like the current one, but was there as much emphasis on athleticism and film?

On top of this, the player pool from which college lacrosse can pick their players is considerably larger. Not only is lacrosse a bigger sport in the hotbed areas on the east coast, but there are quality players coming out of states all over the country e.g. California (Roy Lang, Cornell), Oregon (Peter Baum, Colgate).

I'm just interested to see what people think on the matter. In my mind whilst watching those old games I couldn't help but think that, whilst they were exceptional ball handlers, they'd get torn to shreds by the modern day college players. This might be my subconscious telling me they don't look as good because they look funny in their short shorts and leather helmets though.
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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby UKLaxfan Thu May 24, 2012 1:29 pm

Rotisserie wrote:I was going to ask that exact same question but was terrified of being attacked by the older generation.


Terrified of being attacked...

Who are these scary older generation people?
http://youtu.be/9i25gZXQF2w

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Re: Greatest ever college player?

Postby UKLaxfan Thu May 24, 2012 1:52 pm

young_trig wrote:I'm going to ask a contraversial question but I mean it seriously and I hope it sparks a decent debate.

There's some stand out performances in these videos, notably from the Gait brothers. Watching these videos and seeing the standard of the games I want to ask the questions:
1) has the standard of lacrosse improved over the years?
2) Are the Gaits any better than the stand-out players of the new gerneration?

Answers:
1) No
2) Yes

There is a difference between someone who plays lacrosse and a Lacrosse Player

The Gait's & Marachek went on to dominate MLL into their late 30s when they were competing against the Best NCAA athletes in early 20s.

Lacrosse isn't just about running around and going 1-on-1 or shooting at 100+

Deception, stealth, picking on opponents weaknesses, PASSING THE BALL
All these skills the Canadians had in abundance and used them to beat much younger (Bigger, Faster, Stronger) players

They were and still are Lacrosse Players and understand how to play the game :D

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