Breaking Down Best In Class Committed’s All-Tournament Offense
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Over two days in early December, several dozen committed juniors and seniors made their way to Wilmington, Delaware to take part in Best In Class Committed. The star-studded cast started their days in a combine-style event testing their 40-yard dash,…
Over two days in early December, several dozen committed juniors and seniors made their way to Wilmington, Delaware to take part in Best In Class Committed. The star-studded cast started their days in a combine-style event testing their 40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical, and more. One of the focuses of the event was the training portion being coached by some of the nation’s top players and coaches. The second part of both days consisted of team scrimmages with a free-flowing high-speed pace. These players dominated drills but took their game to a whole different level during games. Following up Ty Xanders’ breakdown of the top defensive players at the event, we’ll now analyze the All-Tournament offense.
Named a five-star last week, the lefty attackman from Deerfield was able to completely steal the show in a talent-loaded event. Buonanno was not able to just meet expectations but exceed them. With an unorthodox dodging style, he was able to beat defensemen at will and make his way to the goal. Beginning his dodges from any part of the field, he would slowly set up his defenseman and then explode out of his dodge. What separated him was his sense for the slide coming and his ability to readjust. This was shown by his ability to soak the check and then stop on a dime and re-dodge to cut the double team. To top all of this off were his almost acrobatic finishes consisting of him torquing his body to score or getting knocked on his back and still getting the shot off. With a motor that didn’t seem to run out of gas, Buonanno was relentless in his attack and left defensemen hopeless all weekend. Heading into a loaded Princeton squad, this is a player that we’ll continue to hear about for a long time, and he has the potential to be a special player at the next level.
A two-year starter for the McDonogh Eagles and a standout for Team 91 Maryland, Hahn is a big-time player who is used to the big stage. Throughout the two days, Hahn continued to show why he’s so highly regarded. Playing with a sense of calmness and control, Hahn let the game come to him and consistently made the defense pay. With deceptive speed and power and tough straight-line dodging he made play after play leading to goals or assists. Equipped with an arsenal of shooting angles, goalies could not get a read quick enough on his shots leading to the ball in the back of the net. An unselfish player, Hahn showed a great sense of reading the slide and timing passes perfectly leading to assists and hockey assists. This is a player who can fit in any offense and make a difference with or without the ball in his stick. While he is just a junior and has two years left with a loaded McDonogh squad we can expect him to be a perfect fit in the new-look Syracuse squad looking to make a return to Memorial Day weekend.
While Navab’s teammate Peter Buonanno may have been the MVP, there was no denying that there were at least two offensive studs from Deerfield. A long and powerful midfielder, Navab was one of the most dominant players on the field at all times. Playing both ways, there was not much he showed he could not do, and he was able to dominate the wing by getting ground balls nonstop while strapping opposing midfielders on the defensive end. With the ability to run for days and push transition, he really started to make the opposing team pay. A downhill dodger with power and a long stride, he showed a deadly ability to score. Although he played a downhill style often, we saw him break the mold taking a page from his teammate’s book and becoming a creative player re-dodging and making the crafty finish. When looking at the stat sheet postgame, it was littered with the number 50 in all categories. Heading to Dartmouth to play for longtime Virginia assistant and first-year head coach Sean Kirwan, there is a good chance we could see him play a Ryan Conrad or Jeff Conner-type role for the Big Green.
The thunder and lightning duo of Hahn and Cruz was special to watch all weekend and Cruz showed early he was lightning. The athletic righty made head-turning plays from the start during training drills. With a combination of quick feet, speed, and a cannon of a shot he was hard to miss. Like a quarterback with natural pop on his pass, Cruz’s shot came out of his stick with a speed that was rarely matched. As the weekend progressed his accuracy continued to improve and he continued to find the back of the net more and more. To match this dangerous shot was quick feet and speed that showed him constantly gaining separation from his defenseman. After being slowed down on the second day by some big hits from the previous day Cruz continued to show a certain toughness and perseverance that was impressive. As Princeton continues to get recruits and become an elite contender in the NCAA it will be interesting to see the impact Cruz will have for the Tigers.
When envisioning the prototypical attackman, Langton is what comes to mind. The dominant righty from St Anthonys is a strong righty dodger with all the tools at his disposal. As the weekend progressed Langton continued to show an ability to constantly make the right play. When dodging from behind Langton showed a very traditional and hard-nosed style going straight line while having the ability to read his defenseman and bounce to a re-dodge. What was most impressive was the constant commitment to being able to turn the corner and finish in front of the net. When inside Langton showed a more creative side finding different ways to finish the ball. As a passer, Langton consistently found skip lanes and the open man while also being a consistent and technical shooter. By the end of the weekend, it was clear there were not many more consistent and technically sound players than him. With a strong recent history of elite attackmen coming from St Anthony’s, it appears that Langton is next in line. Langton will also be a huge addition upon his arrival in West Point as Army continues to build off of their trip to the quarterfinals this past season.
In a long line of elite Calvert Hall attackmen, Forte seems to be the next one up. The creative and shift lefty made head-turning plays all weekend from behind-the-back finishes to step-downs from the left wing. Despite being on the smaller side Forte showed he has lightning-quick feet and toughness to make up for it. Time after time we saw him be patient setting up his dodge and then fitting three moves into one dodge and gaining separation on his defenseman. When he wasn’t able to gain separation he did a good job of using his body to leverage himself to the goal. To add to this was his creative finishing around the goal consisting of finishing low angle or going behind the back. In transition or settled play Forte was just as dangerous if he was left open with his hands free. A primarily 3/4 or underhand shooter he showed a very quick release to go along with much improved accuracy than seen in previous years. As he continues to grow we can see him be a difference maker for the loaded 91 Maryland squad and MIAA contender Calvert Hall.
The dominant right-hander from McDonogh was a force the entire weekend that was hard to stop. Having been considered already to be an established downhill and east-west dodger he did not disappoint. With great size, power, and speed, Firlie blew past his defenseman all weekend making it seem effortless at times. In terms of an on-the-run shooter, his name had to be close to the top of the list for the event. Firlie possessed a great mix of power and accuracy in his shots that made it extremely difficult to track and stop. One skill that went overlooked at times was his passing ability, showing up on the stat sheet numerous times. Although primarily an offensive middie, he showed the ability to play both ways whether it was playing defense or getting ground balls off the wing. With the ability to run for days, he was a constant threat to push transition and take it himself all the way to the goal. With fellow McDonogh linemates Bogue Hahn and Eli Schaller turning heads at the event as well, we can expect to see a big year out of Firlie with even more added weapons around him. As Georgetown looks to make that final push to Memorial Day weekend, it’s fair to say that this is a player that could make a big difference.