Hobart is on the board when it comes to the Class of 2017.
The Statesmen have just picked up their first rising sophomore commitment, as first reported by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s Lacrosse Insider premium coverage section.
That commitment was made by Albany Academy attackman Niko Szelest.
Szelest, who racked up 69 points this past season for AA, which won the Section 2 Class B title. This came after he was pulled up to Albany Academy’s varsity team in the postseason as an eighth-grader.
The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Szelest is a righty with good stick sticks, outstanding field vision and a high lacrosse IQ.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Niko on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
One of the many factors that influenced my decision in attending Hobart was it just felt like a great fit for me. I was very interested in their academic programs that they offered. The location and smaller campus was a plus.
I have the utmost respect for (Hobart Head) Coach (Greg) Raymond and his coaching staff. I trust Coach Raymond will teach and coach me to my fullest potential.
I am excited to be a part of Hobart. I am grateful for them giving me this opportunity and chance to be part of the Hobart family and hopefully be a contributing team-player.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I was interested in a wide range of schools such as Brown, Boston University, High Point and SUNY Albany.
Each in their own right had much to offer and did show interest in me. For this I was grateful. All the schools seemed great and the coaches too. Wishing their teams all the best.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I guess one of my strongest strengths is that I am coachable. You have to be a good listener. You must follow through plays and realize it is not all about you. It takes a team to win a championship.
Another strength is my timing. Lacrosse is the fastest game on two feet. I like to assess then feed or take the shot. So far this has worked for me.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
The areas of my game that I need to work on is a constant: to increase my strength, speed, agility and changing up my shooting style. Keeping my opponents not knowing what i’m going to do next. These are the things I need to work on during my entire lacrosse career.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I was introduced in fifth grade. Our town had a rec team. In sixth grade I was coached by David Rounds (Bethlehem varsity coach). His son was on my team. Coach Rounds was the first coach to believe and help me gain confidence in this great sport. My passion for the game grew. For this, I am very grateful. I practiced everyday and strived to improve my game.
Playing varsity (at Albany Academy) in ninth grade under Coach Doug McIver and his coaching staff was an awesome experience. Under his leadership my teammates worked very hard for the (Section 2 Class B) title. Many thanks to my coaches and teammates. Coach McIver played a vital role in helping me with this (Hobart) commitment.
I was a very athletic kid. I played soccer, baseball, track, etc.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I play on Albany Team United. Coach Marr and Coach Gleason, and all the other coaches have been great. I enjoyed my teammates; it was an awesome experience. This summer, I attended the Great Upstate Challenge and Capital Challenge.
Coach (Steve) Carcaterra and Coach (Ric) Beardsley have been an influential and crucial part of this process. Their availability, expertise, and ability to communicate with colleges was the best. Words cannot express my gratitude; I appreciate all that the Team United experience has done for me.
Any final thoughts?
Thanks again to Coach Carcaterra, Coach Beardsley,Coach Marr, Coach Gleason, and the rest of the United Program.
In addition I also give special thanks to Coach McIver, Coach Leone, Coach Young, Coach Lansing, Coach Rounds, Coach Coughlin, Coach Hogan, Coach Pollicino, Coach Gifford, Coach Townsend, and the rest of the Albany Power Coaches I may have forgotten.
I especially thank my parents and sister for their for their love, sacrifices, support and everything they have done for me to get this far.
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