Every year there is that one player that each team is vying for the opportunity to draft. In the 2008 draft, Paul Rabil was that player. Major League Lacrosse recently spoke with Rabil to reflect on the drafting process in the past and offer words of advice to this year’s first overall draft pick.
“It was a different time then. The draft was right after the National Championship game and I played against all my fellow draftees in the NCAA tournament and was very aware of how talented everyone was” said current Boston Cannons midfielder, Paul Rabil.
Now, the draft happens in January before the start of the collegiate season allowing the players to focus solely on their final season with their college team.
With the new drafting process, the Collegiate Draft has become much more of an event. The draft is open to the public so fans can come and see the process. It has become much more of a party atmosphere for everyone involved and it is the goal of MLL to have the event nationally televised for the 2013 draft so that more people can share the experience.
One thing that has not changed however is the lax attitude towards being the first overall pick. When Rabil was asked about any pressure he felt being the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, he had this to say “there wasn’t that much pressure. I felt like I had an opportunity in the MLL to try different things that I may not have done in the college game. The college game is so much more regimented and strict… being able to showcase some of my athleticism and long distance shooting in the MLL made me more excited than nervous.”
In this year’s draft, first overall pick went to the Long Island Lizards and the Lizards selected Long Island native, Rob Pannell.
Pannell plays at Cornell leading the attack. Ending his 2011 season with 89 points (42 goals, 47 assists) and three-time All-American as well as the 2010/2011 Ivy League Player of the Year, it’s no surprise that Pannell went first, followed immediately by Steele Stanwick, an attack at University of Virginia. Being the first overall pick in 2008, Rabil gave some advice to Pannell saying “to not take it for granted in any way shape or form. It’s an opportunity that you only get once in your lifetime and whether it’s in lacrosse or any other sport it can really shape the rest of your life in terms of how you position yourself with the team and how hard you work and how much longevity you’ll create out of your career… I was very humbled by the experience and continue to work each day to try to make sure the Cannons are reimbursed for their risk.”
With the season just over three months away, keep an eye out for the Lizards season opener Saturday, April 28th where Long Island will be hosting expansion team, Charlotte Hounds at 7:00 pm est to see Pannell debut to Major League Lacrosse. Rabil will be leading the Cannons on the same day and time against the Rochester Rattlers at Harvard Yard. All games will be televised on CBS.