Chaos Lacrosse Club Got Their Guys in 2023 PLL Draft
Going into the 2023 PLL draft, Chaos Lacrosse Club identified areas of need and addressed them admirably with their selections. With the loss of players in free agency and the anticipation of being without some key people in the early part of the season, Andy Towers and his staff wanted to bring in players who can come in and start on day one, while also providing depth throughout the lineup. They did just so by picking out the type of players that they feel fit into their system and, more importantly, bring in high-character people who fit in well with the identity of the group.
Round 1, Pick #7: Will Bowen, D, Georgetown/UNC
Although Ryan Boyle seemed to have some choice words for the selection of Bowen at 7th overall, the Chaos Lacrosse Club got arguably the best prospect in the whole draft. Andy Towers said that Will Bowen was the first name on their draft board, and they would have drafted him first overall if he had the chance. Once his name fell to seventh, the Chaos couldn’t pass up on him, which Paul Carcaterra emphasized on the broadcast.
There’s a laundry list of accomplishments that Will Bowen has amassed during his illustrious collegiate lacrosse career. In 2021, during his final season and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bowen was named a USILA First-Team All-American, First Team All-ACC, and was the backbone of the defense which led UNC to their first Final Four appearance since their 2016 National Championship.
During his two years at Georgetown, he was even more of a force winning nearly every award possible for someone at his position. Bowen was named the 2022 USILA William C. Schmeisser Award Winner for the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Defensemen, Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 and 2023 (unanimous), First Team All-Big East in 2022 and 2023 (unanimous), Big-East All-Tournament Team in 2022 and 2023 (unanimous), and was one of the 25 nominees for the Tewaaraton Award in 2022 and 2023. Since the USILA committee hasn’t released its awards for 2023 yet, it’s safe to assume that Bowen will repeat as a First-Team AA and will be in consideration for the Most Outstanding Defensemen award.
Along with the seemingly endless number of awards that Bowen had amasses during his career, he also put up an astounding 117 ground balls and 98 caused turnovers in 56 career games. He also had the luxury of being coached by Jack Rowlett during his time at Georgetown, which will prove to be key, providing a sense of familiarity to both the system and personnel of the Chaos defense.
Stats are great, but they don’t tell the whole story when it comes to defenseman, which luckily favors Bowen. His greatest ability is to be a shutdown cover defenseman, which does not always show up on the stat sheet but is more important than nearly any other quality. He will add his size, athleticism, and knack for shutting down opponents number one options to a Chaos defense that returns all members from last season – Johnny Surdick, Nick Rowlett, and Jarrod Neumann – who were all big pieces in their 2021 championship.
Furthermore, Bowen is an alternate on the Team USA squad for the 2023 World Games this summer in San Diego, beating out many established pros. He has the making to be one of the next great defensemen in professional lacrosse, and hopefully he will be able to hit the ground running this summer.
Round 2, Pick #15: Brian Minicus, A, Georgetown/Colgate
Sticking with the Georgetown theme, the Chaos selected Brian Minicus a grad-transfer from Colgate at 15. Again, people might have initially criticized the pick thinking that Minicus doesn’t fit into the Chaos’ system given his American offense background. Critics couldn’t be more wrong, just turn on the tape and it speaks for itself.
In his lone season at Georgetown, he has tallied 54 points (31 goals, 23 assists) in 16 games. During his time at Colgate, he totaled 133 points (68 goals, 65 assists), 61 ground balls, and 9 caused turnovers starting in 32 of 39 games.
What Minicus brings to this offense is his ability to be a well-rounded offensive threat that can initiate both in front and behind the cage with both hands, according to Andy Towers. With a team littered with one-handed Canadians who have a knack for scoring, Minicus’ ability as a two-handed dodger and feeder will create opportunities for his teammates to get open and capitalize of.
With their whole starting attack from the 2022 season – Chris Cloutier, Josh Byrne, and Chase Fraser – expected to be away from the team the first few games of the season, Minicus will likely slot in there at the beginning. As those names get inserted to the lineup an easy transition to the midfield will most likely be imminent.
Round 2, Pick #17: Tye Kurtz, A, Delware
Tye Kurtz was my sleeper pick of the draft, as the player with the most upside given where he was chosen. I feel like his whole career he hasn’t been given the credit he deserves on a national level, and once again, like at Delaware, Kurtz is going to be an absolute steal for the Chaos.
He is a proven goal scorer, breaking both the all-time goals and points records at Delaware this past season with 180 goals and 282 total points. The all-time goals record at Delaware was previously held by Curtis Dickson at 162, which can serve as a simple indicator of how well his professional career could turn out.
Speaking to Andy Towers this week, his hope for Kurtz is to come in and replace the loses on the right side of the midfield in Challen Rogers and Wes Berg. Kurtz brings a lethal righty scorer who can bring balance to the offense, fitting seamlessly into their system due to his box lacrosse background. His smooth hands and knack for the back of the net as both as a shooter and passer will be evidently showcased alongside the offensive weapons the Chaos has to offer.
Round 3, Pick 23, Nick Rowlett, FO/M, Michigan
A big question mark going into the offseason is how the faceoff core would be shaken up after a fairly mediocre season with both their faceoff men winning below 50% last year. Max Adler is still an extremely capable faceoff man, but with the loss of Thomas Kelly in free agency, Chaos needed another faceoff middie to compliment the tandem they ran last season.
Nick Rowlett, brother of defender Jack Rowlett, has the ability and is expected to come in and compete for the starting job on day one. Especially since Adler will miss the first few games of the season with other commitments, Rowlett has the opportunity to carve out a role for himself early on.
Over the course of his college career, Rowlett won a total of 507 faceoffs out of 927, giving him a career win percentage of 54.7%. Coming off of his best season percentage wise in 2023 with a 57.7% win percentage, Coach Towers believes he can have an even greater success at the professional level since he’ll be able to go back down to one knee when facing off.
Hopefully Rowlett can find his groove at training camp and create some momentum that will carry him throughout the season.
Round 4, Pick 31: Levi Anderson, A, St. Joseph’s
Unfortunate news coming out of the draft, but Levi Anderson decided to take his final year of eligibility at St. Joseph’s University next season to finish up his master’s degree. What does that mean for the Chaos? Well… since Anderson is electing to play another year of college lacrosse instead of joining the Chaos team at training camp this season, the pick will be voided, and he will be available to be selected again in the 2024 draft.
This is a familiar situation for the Chaos, who selected Jeff Teat with the 12th overall pick in 2020, but since he went back to Cornell for his final year, the pick was voided, and he was selected by the Atlas first overall the following draft in 2021. That was a particularly poor draft since only three players out of the 14 selected remain on the teams they were drafted by. Two of those three players were the first and second overall selections, Grant Ament by the Archers and Bryan Costabile by the Atlas. Furthermore, only 5 of the 14 remain in the league. All in all, not a costly risk.
A similar situation happened again in 2021 when the Chaos selected Jared Bernhardt, the 2021 Tewaaraton award winner, with the 19th pick in Round 3. It was a risky pick at the time since Bernhardt was pursuing a future in football in hopes of reaching the NFL, which he did, making the Atlanta Falcons roster last season in 2022.
Andy Towers has made some risky picks in the draft that unfortunately haven’t panned out, but this one was not as risky as it seems. Given Anderson was the second last pick in the draft and the player whom they would have most likely selected instead of him, Alex Simmons, signed with the team as an undrafted free agent, it’s no sweat off anyone’s back.
Late picks in the PLL draft are a sticky situation given the limited number of roster spots and talented players in the player pool. Most likely later round picks don’t usually end up on the team, unless you’re a team like Chaos who has roster spot openings early in the season, so there’s more room to be cavalier.
All in all, there’s plenty of talent across the league, in the draft, and player pool, so what’s most important is to find people who fit your system and culture, so that they have the best chance of finding success within your team. Maybe Anderson ends up getting selected by Chaos again next season, only time will tell.