The MLL announced two more end of season awards, the Rookie of the Year and the Most Improved Player of the Year! Well, now it's time to debate their choices or did they get them correct.
The Rookie of the Year went to Kieren McArdle of the Florida Launch, McArdle came into the league after playing for St. John's University where he was instrumental in bring that program to national prominence. Kieran was the fifth pick in the collegiate draft this year and has proven his worth in a big way. Playing along side one of the legends of the sport might be daunting and intimidating to some but for McArdle it was just another day at the office. So lets get to it does he deserve the distinction of Rookie of the Year more than Wolf, Fletcher, Cockerton or Schrieber? I think we got this one right! McArdle not only made an immediate impact when he stepped on the field in Florida but he set the rookie record for goals and points with 34 goals and 15 assists. Casey Powell said on the Laxworm Show that Kieren reminded him of himself - High praise for the rookie.
You can point to simple numbers when it comes to the rookie of the year but picking the most improved player can be a little more nebulous! Each team can make an argument that they have a most improved player, but what is the criteria? When discussing a player that is most improved you certainly can compare stats from one year to another but in reality it should be more, the award should reflect the growth that player has had in the league and on his team. The most improved player should have become a leader on his team and become a proven concern to the other teams in the league.
Justin Turri was awarded the Most Improved Player of the Year and certainly deserving but more so than Marcus Holman, Will Manny, Jo Jo Marasco or Eric Law? Justin came into Rochester this year without much fanfare, in fact, many believed Rochester would not be more than a .500 team this year. From the first game Turri established himself as a leader and a threat. He quietly become "that middie" for the other teams defensive coordinators as he proved from game one that he could not be overlooked. He lead the Ratz in points with 34 but most importantly became a leader to a very young team. When on the field his confidence became palpable as he directed his teammates and would provide a sense of calm when needed. So back to the original question - Does Turri deserve this more than Holman, Manny, Marasco or Law? The answer is yes! The others certainly have had terrific seasons and have had significant improvement but as far as the leadership and impact to the team Turri was the right choice.