Cool Storyline Bro, Tell it Again: The Curtis Holmes Experience

via cdn.c.photoshelter.com

Getting you ready for the 2012 college lacrosse season. What, the season already started? Drats.

That's a picture of Maryland's Curtis Holmes. He's a junior midfielder for the Terrapins. If you just look at his career point output -- three goals, three assists -- you probably want to slam your head on your desk, wondering why Internet computer writings are being spent on his play.

The fact of the matter, though, is that Holmes is arguably one of Maryland's most important players in 2012. Sure, his point output is anemic, but it's his performance at the dot -- and the Terrapins' style of play -- that makes Holmes one of the really interesting stories of this lacrosse season. In Holmes' sophomore year at College Park, the Maryland-native won a shocking 62.9 percent of his draws, good for seventh-best in the country. While his win rate is notable, what is especially pronounced is the volume of face-off victories that Holmes had: On 377 attempts, Holmes won 233.

To put that in perspective:

  • Only three teams (not players) -- Denver, Duke, and Hartford -- won more draws than Holmes last season. Yowie-kazowie.
  • Of Maryland's 594 offensive possessions last year, 39.22 percent were attributable to Holmes winning the fight at the dot. Only seven teams (not players) -- Denver, Drexel, Johns Hopkins, Lehigh, Mount St. Mary's, Stony Brook, and VMI -- had a higher rate of offensive possessions generated through face-off wins.
  • St. Joseph's -- which had the fewest offensive possessions last year in Division I -- only had 80 more offensive possessions as a team than Holmes generated himself in 2011. Princeton -- which had the second-fewest offensive possessions in the same period -- only generated 92 more offensive possessions as a team over Team Curtis Holmes.

That's what we in the business call "Gettin' Stuff Done Without Needing a Chainsaw and a Life Sentence for 'Mayhem.'" (That's a very technical term.) It's just not that Holmes is important on a national level, though. The cat is frighteningly important to Maryland's efforts as well:

  • In 2011, the Terrapins were the sixth-slowest team in the country, playing only about 60 possessions per 60 minutes of play. With the patient and methodical offense that John Tillman runs, Holmes' ability to generate offensive possessions is critical to Maryland's ability to control the pace of play.
  • With a revamped offense taking the field for Maryland this season -- gone are Grant Catalino and Ryan Young; Jake Bernhardt and Owen Blye are currently broken -- Holmes is going to need to generate tons of offensive possessions so that the Terrapins can find their way with personnel like Joe Cummings and John Haus now becoming primary focal points in what was one of the country's most efficient offenses in 2011.

FOGO's don't get much ink, but Holmes deserves it. It'll be interesting to see what he can accomplish in 2012.

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