By Budd Bailey
Steve Priolo of the Bandits
Taken in Round 2 in 2009
The next pick: Michael Evans of Johns Hopkins was taken by the Orlando Titans. He did not play for the team in 2010, and didn’t have another chance to do so. The Titans folded in the summer of 2011. Evans did play in an outdoor pro league.
Other picks in this round: Matt Beers went to Washington as the first pick in the second round. He’s part of the furniture for that franchise, as he made the move from the Seattle area to Vancouver. Holden Vyse was taken by Rochester at No. 18, but was ruled ineligible after the fact. Two years later, the Bandits took him in the fourth round. He never played in Buffalo either. It’s safe to assume Holden was related to Bandits’ forward Roger Vyse.
The details: This turned out to be one of the great draft picks in Bandits’ history. Priolo needed a year to earn everyone’s trust, and then seemed to get better with every game. What’s more, he has maintained that high level of play for several years. Priolo has been a finalist for the award as the NLL’s top defenseman a few times. He’s not only big, tough, and rugged, but he can help out on offense if the situation permits.
Other 21s: For the non-lacrosse fans in the audience, Nate Clements (2001) is the pick here. The cornerback had six good seasons with Buffalo, and then left as a free agent for San Francisco. His one Pro Bowl was in Buffalo in 2004. Mika Noronen (1997) never could get past Ryan Miller, and after a few years with the Sabres’ organization he was traded to Vancouver and then headed to Europe. Jamie Rooney (2013-15) had a few nice moments with the Bandits as a forward.
He got away, sort of: Tracey Kelusky was a Bandits’ fourth-round pick in 1995. He never signed, playing college lacrosse at Hartford, and then popped up as the first overall pick in the 2000 draft to Columbus. From there, he spent a year in Montreal and eight great seasons in Calgary. Tracey then was dealt to the Bandits, but concussion problems didn’t allow him to play at full effectiveness. Kelusky will coach the new expansion team in Fort Worth.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)