March 24, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers attack Steele Stanwick (6) runs with the ball as John Hopkins Blue Jays defender Chris Lightner (19) defends in the first half at Klockner Stadium. The Blue Jays won 11-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
First, there was the initial Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Everyone associated with lacrosse -- players, coaches, adorable mascots, etc. -- were included on the list. It was an exciting day, I tell you.
Then, there was the first addition to Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Even more people and things -- your plumber, a $10 scratch off ticket, etc. -- were added to the run. It was an even more exciting day, I tell you. I think about that day and, man, I still get heart palpitations.
Then, there was the second addition to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Even more people and things -- a tooth for the Tooth Fairy, a bounced check made out to "American Ingenuity: Cash," etc. -- were added to the list of potential honorees. It was the most exciting day yet, I tell you. I remember that day fondly; I was wearing a shirt and pants and probably a pair of shoes. I'll never forget that day, man.
Now, there's the Tewaaraton Award Nominees List. The Tewaaraton Foundation whittled the three other lists to get to the incredibly low number of 25 potential candidates for the trophy. This is the America that we're living in, people. Please stop the madness. (Unfortunately, the madness isn't going to stop because we still need to hear about the Tewaaraton Award Finalists List. There is no God.)
As I've written at least three times prior, I have no problem with guys getting a little heat from the publicity. It's good, for the most part, for the cats playing ball at some smaller schools who usually don't get any ink for their performances game-in and game-out. The problem that I have, however, is that this award has degenerated into simply an honor for the best player taking up a roster spot on the eventual NCAA Tournament champion. That's crazy pants. So, all of these press releases -- Watch Lists, updated Watch Lists, a Nominees List, and a Finalists List -- are just a systematized form of brow-beating that doesn't get the world anywhere if voters aren't going to actually take this award seriously. (You know, awarding the prize to the best player in college lacrosse, not just the best player in May.)
You can see the full list of nominees by clicking this fancy highlighted text, but if I had to pick five guys out of that run that probably deserve the trophy based on what they've done at this point in the season, I'd go with:
- Steele Stanwick: He's surrounded by tons of talent, sure, but he's the hub to that entire offensive wheel. As of Monday, he was leading the country in total offensive value (points per 100 offensive possessions) and he has, just barely, set himself apart from the rest of the country despite Virginia's recent woes.
- Will Manny: Will Manny is Will Manny, and because he's Will Manny, everyone that isn't Will Manny needs to recognize that Will Manny does amazing Will Manny things and should receive kudos for that.
- Peter Baum: I wrote about this a little bit in the Colgate piece for the Patriot League Tournament but I will reiterate: I don't know if Peter Baum has been the best player in the country this season, but he is as important to the Raiders as any other player in the country is to their team.
- John Kemp: Kevin Randall and Associates get most of the ink about Notre Dame's suffocating defense -- and they certainly deserve it -- but without Kemp backstopping that entire scheme the Irish don't crush quite as much. He may be one of the more underrated players in the country in terms of contribution value -- goalies tend to suffer from this a bit on the whole -- but he is arguably the biggest key to that Notre Dame defensive unit. That, in and of itself, deserves recognition.
Mike Sawyer: Quite simply, he has mastered the art of war.
What do you knuckleheads think? How would you order your top-five?