Player Spotlight

Player Spotlight highlights the finer details and elements while supplying insight to the fans on what a player's thought process may be pertaining to a certain play, game or situation. It brings the intensity, passion, and inner most thoughts of the individual player that otherwise may not be felt or heard.

David Brock of the Buffalo Bandits is in the PLPA Player Spotlight. By Bob Chavez

Photo by: Dale MacMillan
Photo by: Dale MacMillan
He's got the size. He's got the attitude. The passion? Oh, there's no question that's there too. David Brock, a 6-foot-4, 223-pound defender out of Burlington, Ontario, has found his stride in the National Lacrosse League. He arrived in 2011, bouncing between Philadelphia and Boston. And while he showed he could finish odd-man rushes whenever they presented themselves, it was his work on the back end as a gritty and tough defender that established his role.

Today, he's firmly entrenched in the lore of Bandit Land, getting ready for his fourth season with the Bandits. It's a loud barn in Buffalo, one of the favorites to play in for Bandits and foes alike. And while the Bandits haven't had the playoff success in recent seasons they envisioned, it's not difficult to understand why it's such a fun place to play. Catch up here with defenseman David Brock, as he talks about playing for the Bandits fans, how much lacrosse means to his family and his approach to the game as a defender. Oh, and don't forget his thoughts on fighting in the game and who the toughest marks are as forwards in today's game.

Question You're getting ready for your fourth NLL season in Buffalo, so we need to know: How cool is it to play in front of one of the league's biggest and loudest crowds?

It's a real privilege playing for the Buffalo Bandits. Every home game is always exciting, energetic and loud. The fans are so passionate, when we are winning it's a lot of fun. We owe the fans a playoff run at home.

Question You've been a teammate of one of the game's greatest, John Tavares. How weird is it going to be not having him around as a teammate?

JT was a great teammate. When I was healthy scratched this season for a game, I was pretty upset. John was the only guy to reach out and encourage me to stay positive and reminded me how much I meant to the team. It really meant a lot coming from John. I don't think it will be a huge adjustment having John go from player to coach, he will still be around to pick his brain and turn to for positive criticism.

Question Biggest lesson about the game overall you've taken from JT?

Shoot until you're hot. Also, if you take care of yourself, exercise and control your diet, (and have a hell of a lot of skill) one can have a long and successful career in lacrosse.

Question Your grandfather and father played lacrosse, so you're carrying on the tradition. Speaking of, ever get a chance to try to cradle or handle a ball with the type of stick grandpa used?

Yes, I like to consider it a family game and I take a lot of pride in that. My uncle Pug had a stint with the Detroit Turbos so there was always a lot of lacrosse at family functions. My first stick was a hand-me-down from Gramps, the thing was heavy and pretty beat up. I could never throw with it. I would complain to my grandfather and he would always respond “I'd score 50 with this thing."

Question You've said your dad started teaching you lacrosse basics when you were 4 years old. What are some of the oldest lessons he taught you that continue to stick in your mind today?
Answer My father was my coach the majority of my minor career. We had some pretty good teams with Stephan Leblanc and Brendon Thenahus. One thing my dad would always tell us is stick to the fundamentals and don't take **** from anyone. Those are a couple philosophies I try to live by.

Question Your role as a defenseman has shifted a bit to where you're more of a stay-at-home guy. On a personal level, what gives you the greatest satisfaction as a D man?

Holding a team to minimal goals as well as having a team defence that has a low goals-against total. Those are a couple stats that I take satisfaction in, how well the defensive unit performs as a whole. Individually I'm satisfied when I know I did everything in my power to help my team win.

Question We all know defensemen are supposed to be physical and aggressive, but how much of a mental role is there in playing good defense?
Answer A lot of playing defence is mental, if you get scored on you have to forget about it and always think "next play." Also, shifts out the back door can run a little long after a few offensive rebounds, or turnovers in transition. This is when physically you may be exhausted but if you remain mentally strong you can continue to do your job.

Question What's the advice you like to give to young lacrosse players who want to improve their game, especially the defensemen?
Answer Condition. A lot of today's elite defenceman really take their conditioning seriously. Also, it's not about how big and strong you are, it's all in the feet and the hard work. And like my old man said, fundamentals and don't take crap from anyone.

Question You've dropped the gloves a time or two. There's been a move toward ending fights in lacrosse, especially in Canada. How do you weigh in on the issue?

This is an issue I have thought about a lot and I understand both sides of the argument. I think some of the goofy stuff we see (ie. line brawls, staged fighting, etc.) in lacrosse is hurting the game and hindering growth. I understand it's an emotional and rough game and sometimes a good fair fight is a good way to get everyone's attention. I think there is a fine line with this issue, but there's no doubt it needs to be addressed.

Question Who are some of the most difficult forwards you've ever had to mark (and why)?
Answer I found out how difficult it is to cover Curtis Dickson this summer. Stay out west next summer Superman! The guy is so explosive and strong and pretty tough. Down the I-90, No. 88 (Cody Jamieson) in teal is pretty tough to check, low center of gravity and tough as nails. Some other guys that stand out are Dhane Smith - so fast, Kyle Buchanan never stops moving, Steph Leblanc is very strong. There are a lot of good ball players out there.

Question Favorite NLL city for a road trip and why?

I have always liked playing in Toronto naturally because it's a place friends and family can attend. A close second favorite is certainly Rochester. Although we haven't had much success in there as of late, #banditland always comes out in full force and lets us know they are there.

Question Best trash-talker in lacrosse?

Suits (Andrew Suitor) likes to talk and likes to back it up even more. Unfortunately I found out the hard way. Shawn Evans always has a lot to say as well.

Question You're sitting at home with nothing to do and you're channel surfing. Name the movie that's a surf-stopper for you, no matter how many times you've seen the flick.

I really enjoy the movie Tin Cup. Kevin Costner is a driving range pro who qualifies for the U.S. Open.

Question You were in Chicago recently with the PLPA and you got to meet Mike Ditka. How epic was that, and did you talk with him much?

That was a lot of fun. Mike was sitting behind us and was having pictures taken with people all night. Finally, as he was on his way out I asked him to have his picture taken with our group. If I remember correctly, he grunted and said "yeah, let's get it done." I don't think he was super thrilled.

Question What's your day job outside of lacrosse?

I am in the restaurant industry. I supervise/bartend at a little establishment in Burlington Ontario. I'm currently going through the application/interview process with the local police department so the ultimate goal is to become a police officer.

PLPA Correspondent

Bob Chavez has been covering the NLL since 1995 and has been a writer/editor for since its inception in 2008. He lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York with his wife and 2 children.

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