Tewaaraton Award Finalists Announced, Pannell Headlines the Quintet

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The Tewaaraton Foundation announced the five men's finalists that will awkwardly wear suits at the end of the month.

The Tewaaraton Foundation finally cut you, me, and a robot armed with a mean streak and a lacrosse stick from its Watch Lists and named five finalists for the award. Five players -- a sophomore, a junior, and three seniors -- will vie for the most prestigious award in college lacrosse, all of them plying their trade at the Division I level. To the press release!

The five men’s finalists are University of North Carolina attackman Marcus Holman, Syracuse University midfielder JoJo Marasco, Cornell University attackman Rob Pannell, Princeton University midfielder Tom Schreiber and University at Albany attackman Lyle Thompson.

* * * * *

Marcus Holman recorded an ACC-best 74 points in the regular season, becoming North Carolina’s all-time leading scorer in the process. His 4.93 points per game rank fourth nationally. A senior attackman from Baltimore, Md., Holman was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year, first-team All-ACC and the ACC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

JoJo Marasco, the 2013 Big East Midfielder of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection, paced Syracuse in points (53) and assists (35) during the regular season, the latter breaking Paul Gait’s program record. A senior from Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Marasco led the Orange to the top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

2011 Tewaaraton Award finalist Rob Pannell ranks third and fourth in the nation in points (5.36) and assists (2.93) per game, respectively. A senior from Smithtown, N.Y., Pannell earned Ivy League Player of the Year and first-team All-Ivy honors. He is currently the third-leading scorer in men’s Division I history (332 points), and holds the Cornell and Ivy League all-time scoring records.

Midfielder Tom Schreiber led Princeton in scoring for a third consecutive season, tallying a team-best 32 assists and 60 points. A junior from East Meadow, N.Y., Schreiber earned his third first-team All-Ivy League selection and recorded at least three points in every contest this season, ranking second and third in the Ivy League in assists (2.13) and points (4.00) per game, respectively.

The first Native American to be named a Tewaaraton Award finalist, Albany sophomore midfielder Lyle Thompson leads the nation in points (108) and assists (62) per game. A member of the Onondaga Nation, he was named America East Player of the Year, first-team All-America East and the America East Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Thompson’s 108 points this season rank third in NCAA men’s Division I history, trailing all-time leader Steve Marohl (1992) by six points.

Interesting note:

Pannell, Holman, and Thompson were no-brainer inclusions for finalist honors. Those three are arguably the three most destructive offensive players in the college game at the moment and their contributions to their team's success are nuclear (in a good way). Marasco and Schreiber -- the two midfielders on the list -- are interesting inclusions: Both are substantially valuable players (Schreiber may be the most versatile player in the field and Marasco has served as the pivot point for Syracuse's offensive successes this season), but are arguably a cut below the triumvirate they'll be joining in D.C. at the end of the month. I don't think there's much argument about the inclusion of Pannell, Holman, and Thompson, but if you're looking to move a "snubbed" player into the finalists pool -- to me, there are only two guys that have an exceptionally strong argument for inclusion: Maryland's Jesse Bernhardt and St. John's Kieran McArdle (McArdle's production this season was off the charts) -- the discussion likely surrounds whether Marasco and Schreiber have put together seasons stronger than those left behind. Regardless, the five finalists were all worthy of the honor they received.

Now, the big question: Who wins this thing? There's a poll for you to cast your ballot and the comments exist for you to unleash your thoughts. More on the Tewaaraton race will appear after the NCAA Tournament crowns its champion.

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