What's worse: Failing to cast a wide enough net or creating too broad a scope? That's an issue that the Tewaaraton Foundation faces each season when it releases its initial Watch List: With only a few performances put in the chronicles of 2015's lacrosse history, the Tewaaraton Foundation's maiden Watch List for the season -- a catalog of 50 players across the landscape of college lacrosse -- draws attention to both what it represents and how it follows its mission.
The Tewaaraton Award is not designed to recognize the very good; the trophy is positioned to recognize the exceptional. College lacrosse features a host of very good and great players, but it does not have a violently deep pool of exceptional players. That's a good thing: Exceptional players are exceptional because of their unique talents, abilities, and overall presence in the game. The task of identifying exceptional players is difficult, and the Tewaaraton Foundation has assumed that responsibility with great enthusiasm and passion. Yet, are there 50 players -- right now -- that have the capacity to compose an exceptional season? That's the heart of the aforementioned question: What's worse: Failing to cast a wide enough net or creating too broad a scope?1
Regardless of the answer to that question, the Tewaaraton Foundation has issued its first Watch List of the 2015 season. Players will be added, as necessary, to the Watch List as the season progresses until the Tewaaraton Foundation cuts the list to five finalists in May. Here are the 50 individuals that comprise the first Watch List:
|Cole Bailey||Tufts||Devin Dwyer||Harvard||Matt Landis||Notre Dame||James Pannell||Virginia||Sam Somers||Army|
|Wes Berg||Denver||Jake Froccaro||Princeton||Sam Llinares||Hofstra||Michael Pellegrino||Johns Hopkins||Randy Staats||Syracuse|
|Jimmy Bitter||North Carolina||Conor Gately||Marquette||Dan Lomas||High Point||Sergio Perkovic||Notre Dame||Wells Stanwick||Johns Hopkins|
|Ryan Brown||Johns Hopkins||John Glesener||Army||Alex Love||Hobart||Matt Poillon||Lehigh||Dan Taylor||Lehigh|
|Connor Buczek||Cornell||Andrew Hodgson||Towson||Mike MacDonald||Princeton||Nikko Pontrello||Loyola||Lyle Thompson||Albany|
|Connor Cannizzaro||Denver||Ryan Izzo||Massachusetts||Kevin Massa||Bryant||Charlie Raffa||Maryland||Ryan Tucker||Virginia|
|Deemer Class||Duke||Stephen Jahelka||Harvard||Brandon Mullins||Syracuse||Kevin Rice||Syracuse||Chad Tutton||North Carolina|
|David Dickson||Bucknell||Myles Jones||Duke||Joe Nardella||Rutgers||Challen Rogers||Stony Brook||Gunnar Waldt||Bryant|
|Dylan Donahue||Syracuse||Matt Kavanagh||Notre Dame||Jack Near||Notre Dame||Joey Sankey||North Carolina||Ryan Walsh||Colgate|
|Matt Donovan||Cornell||Jesse King||Ohio State||Conrad Oberbeck||Yale||Nick Saputo||Drexel||Zed Williams||Virginia|
Any thoughts about the initial list? Let your feelings fly in the comments.
1 For comparison purposes, the Wooden Award -- given to the nation's top men's basketball player -- announces a preseason top 50. There are approximately 5,600 Division I college basketball players (assuming a 16-man roster for each team, the average size of a roster in the last cohort examined by the NCAA), making the Wooden Award's preseason top 50 the presumed top 0.89 percent of college hoops. Assuming a 45-man roster for all 69 Division I men's lacrosse teams (that was the average roster size in the last cohort examined by the NCAA), there are approximately 3,100 men's lacrosse players in Division I, making the Tewaaraton Award's initial list of 50 players the presumed top 1.61 percent of college lacrosse. If the Wooden Award adopted the same early-season monitoring percentage as the Tewaaraton Foundation, 90 players would appear on the Wooden Award preseason list. Contrastingly, if the Tewaaraton Foundation adopted the same early-season monitoring percentage as the Wooden Award, only 28 players would appear on the first Tewaaraton Award Watch List.