It was decision day for Mike Daniello.

I just got off the phone with the John Jay attackman moments after he contacted the final list of schools he was considering.

The first call he made was to North Carolina. Daniello, the No. 9-ranked junior in the nation by Inside Lacrosse, has given a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship offer from the Tar Heels.

Daniello, a left-handed attackman who had his pick of the premier programs in the nation, said the decision was a difficult one. He had narrowed his choices to UNC, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse.

“It was probably the hardest decision of my life,” he said. “I loved all three schools.”

Daniello, who led John Jay in scoring this past season, said the fact that both UNC and Hopkins have medical schools gave them a bit of an edge over Syracuse, where his brother, Chris, is a senior attackman on the two-time defending national champions.

“I always thought of Syracuse with the rich tradition stuck in the back of head,” the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Daniello said. “But North Carolina is a  place where I knew if I didn’t have lacrosse, I’d be happy. There’s a comfort level at UNC.”

Daniello said the coaches he called to inform them about his decision — Syracuse assistant Lelan Rogers and Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala — were understanding of his decision.

“They were both so respectful,” Daniello said. “Even though it hurt them, they were both accepting of my decision, and now I respect them even more.”

Though North Carolina has yet to achieve the kind of success on the field that Syracuse and Hopkins have, Daniello said he thinks the Tar Heels are ready to make a quantum leap to the next level under the leadership of Joe Breschi, who just completed his first year with the Tar Heels after coming over from Ohio State.

UNC has already landed commitments from the nation’s No. 1-ranked senior, West Islip’s Nicky Galasso; No. 20-ranked senior, Boys Latin’s Pat Foster; No. 4-ranked junior, Deerfield Academy’s Jimmy Bitter; and No. 13-ranked junior, Joe Sankey of Penn Charter, Pa.

The fact they are also attackmen was a plus — not minus — according to Daniello. Bitter (5-8, 150) and Sankey (5-7, 155) both have outstanding stick skills and shooting ability. Galasso and Daniello are both strong and athletic. Foster may be the top player in the Baltimore area.

“They said they see me as the playmaker,” Daniello said. “With me or Galasso on the left and to have Bitter on the right; to me, that attack sounds so dangerous. It could be unstoppable. Each one of us is a total threat.”

In addition to Galasso, North Carolina has also received commitments from three other Top 20 seniors: midfielders Mark McNeil (St. Mary’s/Annapolis, Md.), Will Campbell (Kilbourne/Worthington, Ohio) and Duncan Hutchins (Gilman, Md.).

For more on Mike Daniello, check out his recruiting profile by clicking here.

Keep us posted

As always, be sure to e-mail me with news/info on any college commitments as they are made to joe@laxlessons.com.

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33 Responses to “Daniello commits to North Carolina”

  1. HV Lax says:

    Thought Cuse would be tough to pass up so I was surprised when I saw this just now. But sounds like a great choice for the reasons Mike explained so well.

  2. LaxDude says:

    Isn’t Bitter also a lefty?

  3. old timer says:

    Wow Mike Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! you deserve it. John Jay is starting to turn out some great players they are now a respected program in the country that know when they land a JJ player he will be a tough well coached kid. I am amazed at how many kids are going to the big time from little old Cross River.

    Very proud of the program. Mike I will watch you on ESPNU

    JJ alum 79

  4. springlax says:

    Mike, a hard but strong decision. all in the jj community are rooting for you. have fun. you worked hard for this.

  5. Jaybird says:

    Joe … I remember before Mike even played a varsity game you wrote he would go on to be a major Division 1 player. A very bold statement to make and I don’t recall you ever saying that about anyone else ever. He proved you right – that’s for sure. Congrats Mike!

  6. LAX says:

    Congratulations Mike! Wow UNC will be VERY strong in the next few years. They already have the best high school senior recruiting class in the country, and they already have 3 incredible junior attackmen now going to the school – Bitter (IL #4), Daniello (#9), and Sankey (#13). Very good chance of a state championship for Mike. And of course they are an excellent school academically.

  7. PurpleReigns says:

    On behalf of all the MIKEY DANIELLO FAN-IELLO’S congrats big dog! Looking forward to seeing you do ur thing on ESPN!!!

  8. [...] Joe Lombardi, who’s been covering Daniello extensively the last few seasons. Lombardi has the breakdown here. Daniello chose UNC over Johns Hopkins and Syracuse. Mike’s brother Chris is currently a [...]

  9. [...] Breschi keeps the recruiting train chugging along [...]

  10. old timer says:

    can you see it online?

  11. old timer says:

    is it live online

  12. Mr. Merlino says:

    Hey Mike:

    Best of luck and congratulations on an awesome opportunity!

  13. Laxerman says:

    Hey Joe Lombardi,

    What is the deal with all the new leagues this year? A good idea for your next post might be about the new leagues and who’s in them. Please

  14. Old Rugger says:

    Congrats Mike, excellent school!!. Just hope Breschi starts hoarding D-men like he is lefty attackmen.

  15. LionsDen says:

    Looking forward to watching Nicky G. and Mike D. on the same attack line in a few years!

  16. LAX says:

    Gonna be loads of great attackmen on the team by the time Mike arrives, expect him to get time at middie as well.

  17. scooter says:

    In my opinion, hes going to be a star at UNC. He’s better than KI.

  18. QuasiLax says:

    No question. Daniello is by far the best player in Section One and probably all of NYS aside from Daniello.

    Great scoop with the news on this, Joe.

  19. LI Guy says:

    Consider Nicky Galasso is now a senior and Daniello has TWO more years to develop in HS, does anyone think he can develop into a player as good or better than Nicky? Remember, Nicky is the #1 senior in the USA.

  20. LAX says:

    He’s going to have to compete for PT with players like Galasso and Bitter but I still expect great things and good PT at attack and middie for Daniello. KI is a better goal scorer than Daniello and tore up the net last season, while Daniello is more of a playmaker and had more assists. He has the skill and athleticism to quarterback the offense, like he did at JJ last season, and make things happen. Still next year I think KI will be the best in section 1 but he’s a year older than Daniello. To see them playing against each other in college will be very interesting. I expect a state championship for Mike, UNC’s future offense is shaping up to be exceptional. But focusing on the present, JJ will be very good this year and even better next year led by great players like Mike who will no longer be underclassmen.

    I’m curious who the best underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) will be this coming year now that kids like Daniello are juniors. Any great up-and-comers? I hear there’s a younger Marasco in high school now, is he as good as Jojo? How are the underclassmen at John Jay looking?

  21. Doid23 says:

    I’m assuming that QuasiLax meant to say “aside from Galasso”, not “aside from Daniello”.

    But to your question, no, IMHO Daniello is not as good as Galasso (who seems like he’s been playing at WI for 7 years now!), not sure he will get as good in two years either, but can’t predict that one. Kids develop at different speeds, but Galasso has been at the elite level for years now, while Daniello had a very good Sophomore year and potential for getting better.

  22. Indian J says:

    I would say Daniello might be the best Junior in NYS but even that is a difficult call because LI has several comparable players in the Junior class. In his class up here, Daniello seems to be able to do more than any other offensive player. He shows some ingenuity when he is playing. He gets AA this year if he 1. stays healthy and plays the entire season. 2. John Jay elevates back to a premier team in the region.

    He has the talent. It appears he will have some support on offense this year as well- they have a lot of sticks coming back on O.

  23. Red Rager says:

    he’s all lefty he pulled one nice move at the showtime camp and you think he’s god

  24. PurpleReigns says:

    That move at Showtime was soooo SICK …

    chek it out here. it’s like 25 seconds into this vid… if anyone hasn’t seen it you gotta check it out! trust me!!!

    http://laxlessons.com/blog/2009/07/maverik-showtime-video-all-star-game-highlights/

    Don’t hate ROID RAGER. Mikey D. is the #1 junior recruit in the tristate region who had full ride offers from every D-1 school. P-Reigns is guessing your some scrub on like a Class C team.

  25. BlueWhite says:

    Don’t forget Lyle Thompson when you’re talking best junior in the country

  26. Indian J says:

    Red Rager,

    I don’t think he’s god. Im actually an agnostic of sorts. I will say this though, Section One folks as well as other folks in the Tri-state may be under the assumption that JJ’s dominance was a flash in the pan and that the program will be eclipsed by other programs in section one.

    I am not making a prediction. Im telling skeptics watch out. John Jay will be a considerably better lacrosse team in 2010 than they were last year. Daniello is one of many reasons why.

    Stay tuned.

  27. LionsDen says:

    BIG news. Can’t wait to see Nicky G. and Daniello on the same attack line.

  28. . says:

    I heard that Daniello just switched to hopkins. Is this true joe?

  29. old timer says:

    Yes he did, he is now a Hopkins boy

  30. LAX says:

    Are you for real? If you are where did you here this???

    In other news, Mike’s older brother has just been named captain of the Syracuse lacrosse team along with Joel White.
    http://www.laxpower.com/laxnews/news.php?story=16248

  31. Homewood Bound says:

    Welcome to the JHU family Mike Daniello. Joe – we love Laxlessons in Baltimore!!!

  32. Domer says:

    It’s interesting to see the Cuse vs Hop rivalry alive and well in the Daniello household with their battle of the hoodies.

  33. Zackattack says:

    Keep up the good work Mikey!

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