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.
Randy Staats of the Georgia Swarm is in PLPA Player Spotlight By TY PILSON
The 2015 NLL draft is widely considered one of the best - if not THE best - in league history.
One common phrase uttered by assorted team brass and pundits before draft night was that any of the first four players chosen - Lyle Thompson, Graeme Hossack, Jesse King or Wes Berg - could have been the No.-1 pick in any other year.
A strong argument could be made that Randy Staats - who went sixth overall - should also be included in that conversation. The Six Nations product was the final player of four chosen by the Georgia Swarm in the first round, rounding out the club's youth rebuild.
While rookie teammates Thompson and King may have gotten more ink and more attention off the hop, Staats was the guy putting up the big stats when the 2016 season got underway.
He was named the NLL's rookie of the month for January, finishing tied for second in the league in both points (31) and goals (13).
It was a heckuva start to what will no doubt be a long and prosperous indoor pro career for the 6-foot-2, 200-lb. righty. And, really, his red-hot start should come as no surprise to anyone given his impressive resume before he entered the league.
His accomplishments are too many to name, but some highlights include:
Staats spent the 2015 fall and 2016 spring semesters at Syracuse finishing up his degree in Communications and Rhetorical studies while settling into life in the NLL.
"Still kind of living the college life," said Staats. "But minus the (collegiate field) lacrosse and everyday practice. I do miss that at times."
Staats situation of still attending university while playing in the NLL is somewhat unique but he said balancing the two has been easy.
"I usually do school work on the plane or in the hotel room," said Staats. "So far it's worked out well." Staats had already played pro ball before stepping on an NLL floor, suiting up for the Rochester Rattlers, who fell 12-11 to the Denver Outlaws in the MLL's 2015 championship game.
Being a standout in both box and field and being one of the lucky guys on both an NLL and MLL roster isn't lost on Staats.
"Getting to play in both leagues is pretty special," he said. "You work towards this growing up — to get into college and reach the pro level. Once you achieve those goals, it's about maintaining your play. You have to be consistent. You can't fall short of expectations for yourself."
Despite being single and fancy-free while finishing university and playing pro lacrosse, Staats said his life is pretty boring.
When he doesn't have a lacrosse stick or a textbook in his hands, he usually has a video-game controller, being a big fan of sports games such as NHL and Madden with a little Call of Duty thrown in for good measure.
As for his future, it's locked down when it comes to lacrosse where he's sure to turn heads and rack up the points. However, outside the game he's not quite so certain what's in store for him.
"I'm not too sure what I want to do after school yet," said Staats. "Probably take a year off after and then take a look at my options and decide what I want to do."
5 Questions with Randy Staats
|At what age did you start playing lacrosse and how did you get involved in the game?|
I started playing lacrosse around the age of 3 or 4. Coming from Six Nations it is hard not to be exposed to the sport of lacrosse - it is all around the community. I got into the sport because of my family. My grandfather played the game as well as my dad, uncles, and cousins so I was kind of born into lacrosse, which I am very happy that it turned out this way.
|Who's the toughest player for you to go up against in the NLL?|
|There are a lot of good defenders out there and I still have not got the chance to play against them all yet because I have only played six games in the NLL, but I think Chris Corbeil is a tough opponent for me. He is a big guy, very strong and covers a lot of floor so it is hard to get around him. He is also very good at recovering if a player does get a step. He forces you into uncomfortable spots on the floor, which is hard as an offensive guy and he can push the ball in transition
and this also makes him hard to go up against.
|What are your pre-game superstitions?|
|A: My pre-game starts a day or two in advance making sure that I am drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated throughout the week. I like to have a long nap before game time, two to three hours if possible. I also like to drink blue monster before the game and I tape my stick the same way before every game. That is about all the superstitions I have. I like to keep things the way I always do them. I do not like change that much it throws me off I think. LOL.
|Describe your stick setup: What type of pocket, how many shooting strings, whip on a scale of 1-10, tape job, etc.?|
|I tape my stick from the top to bottom with just enough space for my hand to fit at the top. I use three shooters with an all-over pocket. I also like my sticks to shoot high with no hook or no hitting the plastic.
|5. Who is your lacrosse idol?|
|I have a lot of players that I liked to watch growing up and still to this day. John Grant Jr. is my favourite player to watch because he does some of the craziest things I have ever seen and it's a blast watching him
play. I was always a big fan of Colin Doyle and John Tavares. I really enjoyed watching them see the floor and make unbelievable plays. Growing up on Six Nations and always watching the Jr A Six Nations Arrows, Cody Jamieson was one the players I got to watch a lot of and wanted to copy him because the Arrows were killing it and went to four straight Minto Cups and that was an inspiration for me. The big thing to do growing up was to go watch the Arrows play.
Ty Pilson has been covering the NLL since 2000 for the Calgary Sun, Inside Lacrosse and ilindoor.com. He was named the Tom Borrelli Award winner as the league's media person of the year in 2007. Having played the game growing up and being passionate about the sport, he is active in Calgary's lacrosse community as a coach and board member with the Axemen minor lacrosse association.