Rob Pannell is the best player in college lacrosse. Period.
I know that I've been hammering this point with a sledgehammer powered by a plutonium-fueled hydraulic piston, but afer last night -- a night in which Pannell went for 10 points on six goals and four assists, all of which Cornell desperately needed to scoot past Binghamton -- the issue is moot for the time being. Virginia's Steele Stanwick, while a terrific attack, is just a Pip next to the Big Red's Gladys Knight.
Double-digit point efforts are always sexy, but how Pannell went about his business last night made his effort all that more impressive:
- Pannell was responsible for almost 59 percent of Cornell's offense last night. That's an incredible concentration of output for a guy that was targeted from the opening face-off as the fellow that needed to be stopped.
- On Cornell's 44 possessions, Pannell generated a goal on 23 percent of them. Some teams have had trouble approaching that efficiency level in a game this season. Pannell did it all by himself.
- He connected on about 43 percent of his shots.
- Pannell actually cost Cornell five scoring opportunties with turnovers. At the rate at which he was working, that's about another 1.25 goals that Pannell could have produced either with a tally or a helper. This the other side of the sword that people talk about; when you run so much offense through one player -- a player that deserves it like no other -- there's going to be some collateral damage.
- Pannell's goal generated per possession per quarter was as follows: First -- 40 percent; Second -- eight percent (lazy son of a gun); Third -- 20 percent; Fourth -- 25 percent. Pannell set the tone early and brought it home late. You know, the two times the Binghamton defense put a bullseye on his back and launched cruise missiles at him with laser targeting.
I have no idea where Pannell's effort stacks him up all-time against some of the great performances ever. There's simply too much information all over the place to try and pull the research together. My mind, obviously, wanders to the amazing performance Casey Powell put on against Virginia in the Carrier Dome in 1997 -- a game in which he scored 13 points (seven goals, six assists) -- but I can't find a box score to pound out the numbers.
Regardless, Pannell put on the performance of the early season in his first outing. This is going to be fun to watch.