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Changes in the Top 10, new unavailable players, and other minor updates. PLL Big Board 2.1

As we get closer to draft day, the list will shuffle a bit more frequently. I’m sure mock draft season will be here soon for people, I tend to be late to the party on those. The board has had some minor adjustments in the sense that their aren’t man, but the few that there are will be meaningful. Some movement in the Top 10 as a new player is added there, some changes to the list of notably unavailable seniors, and a few moves within position groups.

The Premier Lacrosse League 2024 draft will be held on May 7th, and will be broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN+. 

Our usual reminder of how this works:

This is NOT a mock draft. I don’t expect players to be drafted in this order and if they are, it would shock me. This is just my personal ranking, both overall and by position, of what I consider the top PLL prospects. These are the guys I think have shown they can play at the next level, ranked based on how likely I believe it is that they have success. I’ve been right before and wrong before, that won’t change. We’ve had back to back years of Sam Handley and Chris Gray staying at the top of the board basically the entire year before not going first overall. This isn’t a prediction, it’s just a list. 

We are just about done with all the COVID years and all that jazz. There will always be transfers and grad years, the portal is what it is, but hopefully we are much more easily able to say this is year five, that’s it, for players. Maybe year six. Maybe we hit football territory and get to year eight. A guy can dream. Either way, I try to be as consistent as I can from year to year. My approach is simple. The PLL says current college seniors and grad students can declare and be drafted. While some of the seniors can still decide to return to school, being seniors makes them draft eligible and worthy of consideration. Once I hear otherwise about a player (returning to school, not declaring, whatever the case may be), I take them off the rankings and move them to “Notable Unavailable Players” section. Players have forgone eligibility before. Brett Dobson went pro with a year of eligibility left, as did Grant Ament before him, although many are finding ways to maximize their college years. Matt Brandau, for example, is one of a few Yale players who withdrew from Yale for the fall to preserve two spring semesters of eligibility, so he is able to get an extra “year” in the Ivy that way. In quite a few cases, if a player is known to have eligibility remaining, I put them in the Players to Watch section and not in the top five in their position group.

I watch a lot of lacrosse. Maybe too much. But the college lacrosse world is an enormous place. An awful lot can happen between today and draft day. One of the best parts of doing this is that players prove to be risers and fallers on the board as the season goes on. I absolutely love getting this stuff wrong and looking back at it later. This isn’t the final be all and end all list, it’s a work in progress and that progress rolls from now until draft day. If you read this and think “Dan is clueless, he still has that guy too high/too low on the list” or “Dan is clueless and doesn’t have this guy on the list” you can let me know which of those “Dan is clueless” situations apply via the Sticks In mailbag or on social media. 

Following some minor tweaks to 2.0, the 2024 Big Board, 2.1:


  1. Brennan O’Neill, Attack, Duke

  2. Connor Shellenberger, Attack, UVA

  3. Pat Kavanagh, Attack, Notre Dame

  4. Jake Stevens, Midfield, Princeton/Syracuse

  5. Matt Brandau, Attack, Yale

  6. Liam Entenmann, Goalie, Notre Dame

  7. Dyson Williams, Attack, Duke

  8. TJ Malone, Attack, Penn State

  9. Graham Bundy, Midfield, Georgetown

  10. Kenny Brower, Defense, Duke

The top 10 has some shuffles. Matt Brandau has climbed up the list, as his play against Harvard and Cornell has been a showcase of skills that make a player successful at the PLL level. He’s been above goal, below the goal, feeding and finding lanes at a level that’s as good as anyone’s in the draft. Kenny Brower moves into the Top 10 overall for me as well, more on him below. Some minor updates for the rest of my Top 10:

Brennan O’Neill is a combination of strength, size, speed and skill that is exceedingly rare in lacrosse. If there was a college lacrosse video game and you made a create-a-player with all the sliders to max, what you’d get is Brennan O’Neill. He stands 6’2, and is now listed at a behemoth 250 lbs, and his skill and size are incredibly difficult to match up with. He’s been known to the lacrosse world since he committed to Penn State as an 8th grader, ultimately switching to Duke. He was the lone collegiate player on Team USA, won gold in San Diego, and was the title game MVP. For a player like O’Neill, in my opinion, you don’t even consider what else is on your roster. You take him and figure it out. He ran out of the box for Team USA and has started every game of his career at attack on the left side at Duke. He’s already got a Tewaaraton, he’ll be in the mix for a second. There simply is nobody like him. I’m sure as the year goes on there will be knocks about his production on big stages, that sort of thing, people will look for the place to put a negative on him. To me, ultimately, there just isn’t anyone with a ceiling nearly as high, or has even close to the same combination of skill and physicality, in this draft. 

Connor Shellenberger will be discussed as a number one overall pick candidate and rightfully so. There are coaches of the opinion that Shellenberger is the better overall player. Shellenberger was the top overall recruit in his class, and redshirted his freshman year at UVA before it was canceled by COVID. In his time as a starter, which was every year since, he’s been a USILA First Team AA three times. All ACC three times, and a Tewaaraton Finalist twice (lost to O’Neill and Jared Bernhardt). He can play anywhere, do anything. Need a facilitator? He led DI in assists per game in 2023. He’s now the UVA all time assist leader, a special achievement given the program history. Scorer? He holds an NCAA tournament single game record with six goals, doing it twice, most recently against Georgetown. If his matchup is the one to attack, he wins it. If the weakness is somewhere else, he finds it and attacks it. He’ll understand your defense, identify a soft spot, and carve you up with lethal precision. He doesn’t have the same physical stature of O’Neill, but that’s hardly a knock given his body of work.

Pat Kavanagh is the toughest player in the group. Plays with the sharpest edge. Shellenberger and O’Neill might be slightly higher regarded as prospects, but Kavanagh is better at riding than they are. He’s better at ground balls. In three full seasons at Notre Dame, he’s been a Tewaaraton finalist twice, First Team All American twice (and 2nd team once). He already is the Notre Dame all time leader in assists; this year he’s just growing the gap. He set the single season record for assists at Notre Dame in each full season he’s had (set it in 2021, broke his own record in 2022, then did it again 2023). Kavanagh plays with a unique balance of aggression and intelligence. It’s unusual to describe someone’s style of play as “violent”, but Kavanagh plays violent. Sometimes that’s in the form of soaking checks and abuse on his way to the goal. Sometimes that’s an aggressive but precise pass through a defense to unlock a great look at goal. He’s incredibly difficult to match up with, because a bigger defender trying to be physical with him is playing into his strengths, but a quicker and smaller defender is going to struggle to match what Kavanagh brings physically. On talent and toughness alone, Kavanagh is a top three pick. On personality and off field star power potential, I think he’s the top of the list in the entire draft. 

That first trio will be the top of the board for just about everyone coming into the draft, but the drop off after them isn’t all that big. I may end up being higher on Jake Stevens than most, but I look at what midfielders are being asked to do in the PLL now, and I see a perfect fit in Stevens. A midfielder who only plays offense and can do just one or two things, or has to have the ball to be dangerous, is a dying breed. The PLL 19 man roster just doesn’t have enough spots for guys that specialized. You have to bring more to the table. Effective on both ends, efficient shooter, smart without the ball, if you can’t be impactful in all of those ways, you’ll get replaced by someone who can. Like Stevens. A two way midfielder with a box background, Stevens is a special combination of smart and gritty. Tough and precise. This year he’s doing everything at Cuse. He’s also had multiple 60 ground ball seasons. Nobody is Zach Currier, but if you’re looking for the guy who touches as many stat categories as Currier does, it’s Stevens. This write up hasn’t changed, because it hasn’t had to. He’s still doing it all. 

Next, a goalie in the top ten. Uncharted territory as long as I’ve been making these as far as I can remember. Liam Entenmann’s performance in the national championship game was Tillman Johnson level legendary. He was stopping shots like Neo stopping bullets in The Matrix, and doing it on the biggest stage in lacrosse (at any level). Entenmann has been up to the billing for Notre Dame this year, to no surprise. The question is, will he be the highest drafted goalie ever?


Dyson Williams I still believe can do more than he’s asked to do for Duke. In their offense, he’s the guy with remarkable hands who finishes everything. His goal totals for his career are video game like. But I also consider Dyson to be a pro level dodger. Don’t be stunned if he takes some runs at defenders with the ball in his stick this summer. He ran by pros at World Championships. He’s big, he carries the ball well, his indoor game allows him to negotiate pick games better than anyone in this draft. And as well as basically anyone in the league already. He’s that sound playing in tight quarters and in two man games, as the picker or carrier. 

Malone’s appearance on the D-Fly & Dixie pod reveals a lot about him as a leader and locker room player. Grabbing the reins for the team after the week one loss to Colgate, Malone steadied the ship, and has now led PSU on a heater through the regular season. As teams negotiate a 32 second shot clock post faceoff, someone who can play offense with speed while also taking care of the ball and creating a good shot is valuable. Malone is ready to win matchups with pro level poles already, he really was ready last summer. He has a knack for the moment; you could make a case he was the best offensive player at the Final Four last year. It’s tough to quantify or assign value to intangibles because they’re, you know, intangible. But it’s tough to find someone in the draft better in the intangibles department. He is a plug and play weapon for any PLL offense. 

The best natural offensive midfielder in the group, Graham Bundy is putting together another excellent season. Captain of the gold medal winning U-21 National Team. Multiple time first team All American. Unanimous Big East Midfielder of the Year. Unanimous first team All Big East twice. The St Louis native has started every game of his career, and in the last three full seasons, has never had less than 32 goals in a season. This year he’ll likely surpass players like Scott Urick and Andy Flick on the all time Hoya points list. With a 60+ point season, he’ll move all the way to 2nd all time in Hoya history, only behind Jake Carraway. Georgetown has been active in the portal in recent years, but Bundy remained steadily their best midfielder, an offensive leader and primary weapon. The team looking for this year’s Matt Campbell needs to take Graham Bundy. They aren’t really similar players, but if you want a reliable, solid midfielder that you can trust to be productive for you day one, it’s Bundy.

Kenny Brower joins the Top 10. Having Brower this high is definitely outside the norm. Most other mocks or assessments you read will likely have Zappitello and Piseno ahead of him. I’ll go ahead and make my case. In an electric scene in the original Top Gun, the naval aviators all head out to a bar their first night in Miramar. This is when we first see Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw points him out, and explains his callsign. “That’s how he flies. Ice cold, no mistakes.”  Kenny Brower is Iceman. No mistakes. Brower is 6’2, 215 lbs of some of the most fundamentally sound defense you’ll see someone play. Over the head checks? Forget it. Toe drag ground balls? Absolutely not. What you get is the correct angle, the correct footwork, the right play, every single time. He has guarded the toughest matchup of the opponent every game for the past two years. In this draft, that means he spends every day in practice going against that guy ranked #1, and game days in conference matched up with the guys at #2 and #3. In three matchups against Shellenberger over the last two seasons, Shellenberger has one goal. He will not be the guy creating highlights. You won’t see him on TLN or any of that stuff. But you also won’t see him on the receiving end of offensive players’ highlights either. Brower is as solid and safe a defensive pick as you’ll find in a draft.

Eric Dobson falls out of the top ten for now. His shooting percentage is clearly down this year, and the emergence of Jordan Faison and some transfer portal arrivals changed his role a bit. But the potential is still very much there. Dobson is also an interesting barometer for what pro coaches may be looking for. With all his physical tools and ability, Dobson is still primarily an offensive weapon, and hasn’t played a ton of two way lacrosse for the Irish. The pro game can be won and lost in transition, with effective subbing and play from one end to the other. Dobson doesn’t play a ton of two way ball for the Irish. 


CJ Kirst, A, Cornell (Listed as a ‘25 by Cornell)

Cole Kastner, D, UVA (Expected to take a grad year for Basketball)

Sam English, M, Princeton/Syracuse (Has two years of eligibility post transfer to Syracuse)

Jake Taylor, A, Notre Dame (Returning to Notre Dame in 2025)

Patrick Hackler, M, Yale (Expected to take Grad Year)

Michael Grace, D, RIT (Expected to take Grad Year)


  1. Brennan O’Neill, Duke

  2. Connor Shellenberger, Virginia

  3. Pat Kavanagh, Notre Dame

  4. Matt Brandau, Yale

  5. Dyson Williams, Duke

Players to Watch: Levi Anderson, TJ Malone, Ross Scott, Josh Zawada, Payton Cormier, Mike Robinson, Garrett Degnon, JJ Sillstrop, Michael Long, Christian Mule, Vince D’Alto, Jack Boyden, Toron Eccelston, Dylan Pallonetti, Michael Boehm

Attack shuffles to be in line with the overall prospects. Brandau’s elevation of those around him this year has been remarkable. Entering the year, the question was how Yale would handle playing offense with no Chris Lyons, no Leo Johnson, and no Brad Sharp. And in terms of raw numbers, it basically hasn’t had an impact. Brandau’s numbers are among the nation’s best, as he dishes out assists at a clip better than anyone in the country. And he’s doing it to players who he probably didn’t expect to be starting next to back in January. He’s distributing from every spot on the field, he’s dangerous with and without the ball, he is doing it all. The year is a testament to his readiness to be immediately ready to join a new group on offense and get comfortable. I should also note, the Players to Watch are not listed in any particular order.


  1. Graham Bundy, Georgetown

  2. Shane Knobloch, Rutgers

  3. Eric Dobson, Notre Dame

  4. Reese Burek, Army

  5. Noah Armitage, Stony Brook

Players to watch: Alex Vardaro, Dalton Young, Scott Cole, Adam Poitras, Brock Haley, Hugh Kelleher, Thomas Greenblatt, Christian Ronda, Andrew Cook

Purely offensive threats in this midfield group. On previous boards, Knobloch was in the Players to Watch portion of this list. That’s because I wasn’t definitively clear that his time in college was done after this year. If he is indeed going pro, he’s one of the best pure offensive midfielders available. As a change of direction dodger, he’s the best in this class. He can separate from poles at the college level pretty consistently. His release on his shot can be unusual. Even on alley dodges he can shoot low to low, it’s a little awkward to watch, but easy to see why it’s effective. He goes from carrying the ball to shooting it in the blink of an eye. He sort of ambushes goalies with the way he shoots at times. Because he’s effective in unorthodox places and with unorthodox shots, he becomes much more difficult to guard. Watch his first goal in the Hopkins game, you’ll see someone who can win off the dodge and deceive a goalie as a shooter in a single 10 second clip.


  1. Jake Stevens, Princeton

  2. Beau Pederson, Princeton/Michigan

  3. Grant Haus, Penn State

  4. Chase Yager, Harvard/UVA

  5. Jake Titus, Union/Syracuse

Players to Watch: Dylan Hess, Brett Martin, Tucker Garrity

Two way, or SSDMs, in this group. Grant Haus climbs a bit, while some other seniors in Dylan Hess and Brett Martin join the players to watch ranks. It’s an interesting year for the pure SSDM. That really isn’t Stevens, he’s an all over the place guy. Really, some of this could come down to just coach preference for play styles or body types. What type of athlete are you looking for, what kind of system do you run and will this player be comfortable in it, that sort of thing. I don’t consider there to be a Danny Logan, Payton Rezanka level defensive midfielder who is a true plug and play. The closest thing is Pederson in my eyes. Patrick Hackler departs the list for now, as it sounds like he is still entertaining the possibility of another year of college ball.


  1. Kenny Brower, Duke

  2. Jake Piseno, Albany

  3. Ajax Zappitello, Maryland

  4. Mason Woodward, Marquette

  5. Roy Meyer, Boston U

Players to Watch: Pat Morrison, Jackson Bonitz, Mitchell Dunham, Tyler Carpenter, AJ Mercurio, Scott Smith, Jack DiBenedetto, Brendan Lavelle

Not a ton of movement here, we covered Brower above. Some other names in the Players to Watch that deserve shouts are more of the LSM types. The only player in this section with more CTs than Mitchell Dunham is Piseno right now. He’s near the top of the nation in GBs among non faceoff players. He’s a machine between the lines. Mount St Mary’s is struggling, but he’s special, and worth a pick if he’s available in the draft. Brendan Lavelle has been outstanding for Penn this year, notably having a great battle (and really winning) his matchup with Brennan O’Neill. Remember that if a player is in the Players To Watch section, it may just be because they could play another season of college lacrosse somewhere. 


  1. Liam Entenmann, Notre Dame,

  2. Will Mark, Syracuse

  3. Matt Knote, UMass

Players to watch: Chayse Ierlan, Logan McNaney

The move in this edition is Will Mark. His game against Duke was masterful, a testament to just how well he plays angles and limits just how much net a shooter can see. At 6’4, he’s got the size to really frustrate shooters with a long frame. After the game, former MLL Coach Tom Mariano said Mark reminded him of Drew Adams. I try to stay away from player comps, I prefer to allow players to develop their own game and own identity, but directionally, Coach Mariano is right on it. That’s both high praise and a fair comp. 


  1. Jake Naso, Duke

  2. Tommy Burke, Ohio State/UVM

  3. Luke Wierman, Maryland

Players to watch: Alec Stathakis, Mason Kohn

Not a ton of shuffling this week. Naso had a hot start against Kohn, and then Kohn turned the tables late. I still consider Naso’s skillset to be the best in the group for PLL play, with Burke and Wierman not far behind.


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