Randy Staats finally made his media debut on Tuesday afternoon. The waiting game is officially over.
"It's been really good," Staats said. "Just getting used to things, settling in. They are very welcoming here."
Settling in, indeed. Just three practices in, the decorated junior college transfer has already gotten his feet wet at both the attack and midfield positions. In his first, full practice, Staats played "strictly" attack, a position that he has grown accustomed to throughout his lacrosse career. He spent the last two years at Onondaga Community College (N.Y.) at the position and thrived, recording 295 points (120 goals, 165 assists), including a school-record 156 points (73 goals, 83 assists) in 2013 to lead the NJCAA.
The next two practices, Staats put on his midfielder cap and dove into the intricacies of the position. While he prefers attack, he said he wouldn't mind the change.
"As long as it helps the team win" he said.
Whatever role Staats ends up playing will be a deadly one. Staats' addition is just another offensive weapon that Syracuse has tucked in its back pocket. It's a scenario that makes any coach wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
Despite playing catchup, Staats really hasn't missed a beat according to Syracuse head coach John Desko.
"He has done a very good job," Desko said. "He's got great vision, great placement on his shots(and) very good ball control. He's just a very good, all-around player."
Desko said that one of the things that he has noticed is Staats‘ instincts on the field. There were times in practice that Staats may have not known the play, but made up for it by positioning himself in empty space.
The way Desko described Staats' off-ball movement reminded me of former standout Luke Cometti -- one of Syracuse's best offensive players that had a knack for finding the seams on the field. While Cometti's loss should not be overlooked, I bet Desko and his coaching staff can rest easy knowing that Staats is a formidable replacement (should he find more time at midfield).
"I think he is a quick learner, a quick study," Desko said. I think his instincts will help carry him within the offense."
With scrimmages looming this weekend against Division II National Champion Le Moyne and Hofstra, the coaching staff is confident in Staats' ability to perform and produce.
"He has made such an impression with what he has done on the field," Desko said. "It's an easier acceptance."
Waiting game over
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