A little competition never hurt anyone, right? As the news of Tom Palasek transferring from Johns Hopkins to Syracuse were announced about three weeks ago, the buzz around why Palasek left and where he will fit in to the Orange offense has been non-stop.
Now we can all sit here and speculate why he transfered. We can jump to conclusions as many people like to do. Fact of the matter is people transfer colleges. Some people are looking for something different. Until Palasek answers the question of why he transfered, we wont really know.
Dave Pietramela isn't the easiest guy to play for. That is a known fact in the college lacrosse world. He is a championship winning coach with a great resume, but not every player gets along with him and fits into his system. You can also look at the university that is Johns Hopkins. Academically it is one of the best in the country. Besides for that, Syracuse University offers up a totally different lifestyle and out-of-the-classroom feel. There's just more going on at Syracuse University than at JHU. I am not going to speculate, I am just throwing things out there.
I am living proof of a person who transferred to Syracuse University and can say that you truly have the college life feel. From the campus to the Carrier Dome, it is a totally different scene than at Johns Hopkins.
We do know this. Tom Palasek can play lacrosse. He is a damn good player and will help the Orange tremendously in many different ways. Whether that is 2011 or 2012, time will only tell.
For a quick glimpse of Palasek in action, check out the video below and jump to 3:10 and 3:36 into the video for his goal's against the Orange.
While there is news that Palasek may red shirt since practice starts this Thursday and its very hard to learn the offense so quickly, I on the other hand believe he will play. And it will only help the entire Orange offense.
If we can go back to the 2009 season for a second, the word of Cody Jamieson getting closer and closer to NCAA clearance only helped the Orange offense. All the attackmen worked harder in practice and one player was on the brink of being pulled to give Jamieson a chance. That player was Chris Daniello.
The news of Jamieson's arrival only made Daniello work harder on the field and in the weight room. Daniello went on to score 21 goals that season and was a huge factor in the championship run the team put together. Since Kenny Nims and Stephen Keogh were pretty much a lock to stay in the lineup, Daniello was the most likely candidate for Coach Desko to yank to put in Jamieson. If you watched one practice of that 2009 season, you would know that Daniello was one of the hardest working guys in practice.
That competition led Daniello to being a co-captain of the 2010 team as well as the Orange's leading scorer with 54 points.
There is no doubt that Palasek's arrival will be the same type competition that Jamieson caused in '09. There is nothing wrong with competition and it can only help a team. We know that JoJo Marasco and Stephen Keogh are pretty much locks for the starting roles at attack. Now that third spot is still up for grabs.
Coach Desko has many different options in 2011. The list of returning attackmen include Tim Desko (11 goals, 4 assists), Ryan Barber (1g,1a) and Collin Donahue (red shirt in '10 due to in conference transfer from Rutgers).
Then there are the newcomers. There has been much hype behind freshman Billy Ward. Ward was ranked as the fourth best attackman by Inside Lacrosse out of the class of 2010. There is also Maryland native Pat Powderly. He was ranked eighth by I.L. Both were Under Armour All-Americans.
Palasek can play both midfield and attack. He gives Desko many different options. Whether you have him run on a first or second midfield unit, play on the man-up situations or simply come off the bench, the options are endless. And obviously there is a chance he can be the third and starting attackman if he has an excellent first few weeks in practice. But that chance is slim.
Palasek did have a career best night against the Orange last season when he tallied two goals and one assist. It seems the Long Island native likes to play in big games and rises to the occasion.
It could be said Palasek is slightly under sized at 5'10", 175.
There will be more to come of this as Syracuse opens up their two-a-days practices on Thursday and media day kicks off. Maybe we will get an answer from Palasek as to why he chose Syracuse.
I do see Palasek playing in 2011 but my inclination is that he starts the season coming off the bench. I think fall ball in Syracuse proved that Powderly and Ward can play and Desko knows the offense and has shown what he can do for the past two seasons now. I see Palasek and Desko sharing the third attackman spot as the year goes on and definetly believe we will see Palasek run some offense from the midfield as well as be a very integral part of the man-up offense.
And if you think the attack is the only position that you will see guys work harder, you are wrong. If Palasek is going to push for time at the midfield, look for guys like Pete Coleman and Jeff Gilbert to work harder and try to show Coach Desko why they deserve to be on the second midfield line. Since the first midfield line will most likely be Josh Amidon, Jeremy Thompson and Jovan Miller, there will be battles for the second and third midfield units.
Gilbert and Coleman both saw good amounts of time in 2010.