Sept. 1 marked the first day Division I college coaches could contact high school juniors, and it didn’t take long to see who the most prized recruit in the lower New York/Connecticut region is. Not that there were too many doubts.
It’s John Jay (N.Y.) attackman Mike Daniello.
By the end of the day on Sept. 1, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Daniello had heard from virtually every coach at all levels of Division I competition.
For now, it appears that three schools — North Carolina, Syracuse and Johns Hopkins — are leading the way in the Mike Daniello Sweepstakes.
“As of now, I have gotten e-mails from over 30 D-I programs,” Daniello said.
So if you were Daniello and could put together a list of virtually any program in the nation as a possible destination, what would your list look like?
While you think about that, let’s take a look at his list of 13 prospective schools.
Frankly, it’s a pretty impressive one. It includes traditional powers, schools with tremendous facilities and resources, and a few in the upper echelon academically — and some that combine all those attributes.
Without further ado, here’s the list: North Carolina, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, Princeton, Duke, Georgetown, Maryland, Cornell, Harvard, Brown, Notre Dame and Loyola (Md.).
“I’m looking at what players they have now, if I go there, will I play and will I fit in with the team,” Daniello said.
Of course, some schools are higher on the list than others. The order in which Daniello listed the schools may provide an indication. If that doesn’t, this does: He has scheduled three unofficial visits. The first was to North Carolina on Labor Day weekend.
“Friday the 11th, I’m spending the weekend at Johns Hopkins,” Daniello said. "Then, the weekend of Sept. 18, I’ll be at Syracuse. That’s it for now.”
Daniello’s brother Chris is a senior attackman at two-time defending national champion Syracuse, where he has just started his senior year.
“He’s using both hands very well, his quickness has improved, he’s shooting the ball well and putting them on net,” Chris Daniello said of his younger brother. “He’s become an accurate shooter and a good feeder.”
The Daniellos’ oldest brother, Nick, played at Stevens Tech in New Jersey.
There’s little doubt that Syracuse could have an edge in the recruitment of Mike Daniello because of Chris Daniello’s presence on the team, which has helped Mike Daniello become very familiar with the program.
“Syracuse is a very hard-working team,” Daniello said. “Winning two national championships says something. Chris brings home his workouts and he trains me with everything as if I was at ’Cuse.”
Joe Lombardi, who has been a fixture on the lacrosse scene during the sport’s rapid growth in the New York metropolitan area, produces editorial and video content for LaxLessons.com. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.