Earlier this week, we told you about how Johns Hopkins has been picking up steam landing commitments from some of the top players in the region, which also happens to be the nation’s No. 1 lacrosse hotbed: Hudson Valley, Long Island and Connecticut.
Well, it should come as no surprise that defending national champion Duke has also made its mark.
Those Duke-bound recruits that are seniors, like Smithtown West attackman Kyle Keenan, will make their comments official by signing National Letters of Intent during the Division I fall signing week that gets under way on Wednesday and lasts through Wednesday, Nov. 17.
Others, such as Darien’s Case Matheis, who’s one of the nation’s leading juniors, will have to wait a year to sign his Letter of Intent.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Keenan was the leading assist-getter in Long Island last season, with 53.
Keenan’s father, Sean, the varsity coach at Smithtown West, played high school lacrosse at Ward Melville.
Here’s a Q&A with Kyle on his commitment, which he made last fall and which will become official this week:
What were the main factors in your decision to attend Duke?
On my first visit to Duke, I knew it was a special place. The people there were very passionate about Duke and what the University stands for. Coach (John) Danowski is a great guy and I look forward to playing and learning under him.
Being around the team on my visits, I could tell everyone seemed happy and I knew that those were the type of guys I wanted to be around and play with. Duke’s staff and resources was phenomenal.
I was able to spend time with Coach (Ron) Caputo and Coach (Chris) Gabrielli (Duke’s assistant coaches) and witness all they have to offer the program.
The strength and conditioning coaches, and especially the academics resources Duke
offers to its athletes, are top notch.
Duke brought the entire package for me. It has a wonderful academic reputation, a great team and coaches, and was definitely the place I saw myself fitting in and being happy.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I also considered Navy, Princeton, Brown, Colgate, Yale and UPenn.
What adjustments do you think you will need to make to play at the next level?
I need to become stronger by spending more time in the weight room. I also need to work on coming
around the cage and finishing. I find sometimes that I am looking to feed the ball too much when I may have a shot. I do feel that I need to refine all of my skills and that there is always room for improvement.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I would describe myself as an inititiator, I can make things happen from behind the cage. I also feel that I have a high lacrosse IQ and know the game very well.
What players have you looked up to as you have moved up through the varsity ranks?
One player that I definitely looked up to was Smithtown West alumnus (and Cornell standout) Rob Pannell. He was a senior when I was in eighth grade and I would watch him play and I idolize how smart he is with the ball. He is a player I love to watch and is a great person off the field as well.
When did you first realize you had the potential to play at the college level?
I realized I had the potential to play college lacrosse my freshman year and realized I could play at the D-I level when I was invited to Nike Blue Chip Recruiting Camp.
Duke’s Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut regional recruits
Class of 2011
Class of 2012
* Be sure to report any commitments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.