The Saskatchewan Rush could have some new stars on the immediate horizon and a future home-brew in years to come following Monday’s National Lacrosse League Draft.
The team used its final pick in the sixth round to select Saskatoon’s Anthony Hallborg. General manager and head coach Derek Keenan was thrilled the Saskatchewan Jr. “A” Swat defender was still available 58 overall. Keenan said they became sold on Hallborg after seeing him perform in the draft combine.
“Really, really fast kid, pretty strong, good defensively and he’s got some skill, so we really liked him and kind of had a plan to take him all along and we were really happy he was there at the end of the draft.”
The Rush selected 6’4” left transition player Nick Finlay with their first pick in round two, 16 overall. Finlay had 24 points in 20 games with the Peterborough Ont. Jr. “A” Lakers. Three picks later they went with Johnny Pearson who put up 37 goals and 88 points with the BC Jr. “A” New Westminister Salmonbellies as well as playing for the NCAA championship finalist from Ohio State.
Keenan was surprised both were available and felt they were a step up from the team’s expectations of finding practice roster players in those draft positions.
“They’re real, real good players, “ said Keenan who added both will push veterans for spots on the 2017-18 roster.
“One is a potential transition guy in Finlay, real fast, good skills and Johnny Pearson, we had him as the second rated left handed offensive player in the draft behind Byrne (Josh Byrne) who went first overall (to Buffalo).”
Chris Boushy was Saskatchewan’s third round pick, 31 overall. He also split playing time between box lacrosse and the field pitches of the University game. Boushy had 27 goals and 71 points in 18 games with Burlington in Ont. Jr. “A” and earned an honourable mention in the All-Canadian balloting with Queen’s University.
In the fourth round, the Rush selected Austin Murphy. The Orillia, Ont. native scored 15 goals and 17 assists with the NCAA’s Wingate University.
Keenan felt the team exceeded its pre-draft goal by improving immediately while building for the future.
“I think we got a lot more accomplished than I anticipated, especially with the first two picks and I was really happy with getting Hallborg at the end with some local talent coming in to give it a shot as well and try to make an impression on us in training camp.,” said Keenan.