After rocky start to Syracuse career, Lecky looks to hit stride as junior captain
Spencer Bodian | Staff Photographer
For Hakeem Lecky, his journey to Syracuse is in some way parallel to the journey he’s had since arriving.
Before coming to SU, Lecky’s path took him from Jamaica, to Massachusetts and then to Connecticut. At Syracuse, he went from being a prized recruit, to redshirting, to being shuffled between the first- and second-line midfield units.
But after a strong end to last season, Lecky is back on a first-line midfield unit alongside Henry Schoonmaker and Scott Loy.
“I think he’s going to have a breakout year,” attack Derek Maltz said.
As a senior at Duxbury (Mass.) High School, Lecky was ranked the No. 30 prospect in the Class of 2009 by Inside Lacrosse and named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American. After graduating from Duxbury, he helped lead Avon Old Farms School (Conn.) to the 2010 Founder’s League title.
Yet when he arrived in 2011, Lecky redshirted. In 2012 as a freshman, he started all 17 games on the first midfield line, but only tallied seven points on six goals and one assist.
As a sophomore last year, he was demoted to the second-line midfield and only totaled nine points on eight goals and one assist.
“I don’t try to worry too much about that, but it is pretty nice to get bumped up to the first line,” Lecky said. “I just try to pay attention to the game at hand and work my hardest.”
Desko and several of SU’s players rattled off Lecky’s name as one of the most athletic on the team. Maltz went as far as calling him one of the most athletic players in the country. His speed and his playmaking ability are apparent.
The junior has scored two goals so far this season — one against Siena and one against Maryland.
The goal against Maryland on Saturday was vintage Lecky. From 15 yards out, Lecky beat his defender to the right and snuck a shot past goalie Niko Amato’s short side.
“He’s a midfielder that can play defense, that can play offense and he’s great in between the lines,” Maltz said. “He’s one of the best athletes on the field at all times, and he’s very good off his dodge.
“I think he’s able to beat anybody one-on-one, get a great shot off or look for an open teammate.”
Maltz also added that Lecky is a quick learner and is always getting better. Especially since Lecky has only been playing lacrosse since high school, there’s still room for him to improve.
“He’s shooting the ball better, he’s playing with a lot of confidence,” SU head coach John Desko said. “I’ve talked before about that second midfield with he and Schoonmaker last year…I think they’ve not only picked up where they’ve left off last year but they’ve improved on that.”
Lecky is also now a team co-captain, and the only junior of the four. He downplays his role saying that everyone on the team has to be a leader, but has still made a conscious effort to put himself out there this season.
And his team notices it.
“He’s done a tremendous job all year with really being a leader vocally. By his play, he’s really gotten younger guys to buy into the system,” Maltz said. “He should have an exciting season and I’m excited I’m on the same offense as him.”
Much attention has been given to freshman Jordan Evans, transfers Randy Staats and Mike Iacono and the return of Nicky Galasso. The time for Lecky to break could be just right.
Said Lecky: “We’ll see. I just take it day-by-day, practice-by-practice. Don’t look too far ahead.”
Published on February 26, 2014 at 1:00 am
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