OAKVILLE, Ont. – There was never any doubt that Logan Schuss was going to be a lacrosse player, but nobody could have imagined when he was first handed a stick that he was going to be this good.
Schuss, a leftie forward from Delta, B.C., was the No. 1 pick, by the Minnesota Swarm, in the NLL entry draft Monday night.
His father, Ed Schuss, was a lacrosse star and his older brother, Carlton, had a fling with the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. The sport is in their blood.
“My dad was a big-time lacrosse player and his (Ladner Pioneers) jersey is retired in our home arena,” says the NLL star-to-be. “The day I was born I had a lacrosse stick in my hands.
“I pretty much grew up in our arena, which is only a five-minute walk from our house. I was there every day. My dad was a defenceman but he wanted me and my brother to be offensive players.”
He had an exceptional summer in both the indoor and field varieties of Canada’s national summer sport: he scored 29 goals in 12 WLA games for the New Westminster Salmonbellies, and he scored 27 goals in 10 MLL games with the Ohio Machine. After four years at The Ohio State University, he’s the program’s all-time leader in points (237) and goals (146).
His OSU program requires a fifth year in order to get him the teacher’s certificate he wants, so he’ll be living in Columbus again this winter getting classroom experience and commuting to Swarm games. He wouldn’t skip two days of classes to attend the NLL draft. He aims to get a high school phys-ed post in British Columbia next year so he can help teens work towards the athletic scholarship opportunities in the United States from which he has benefited.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Schuss, 22, replied from Columbus via conference call when asked about being the No. 1 NLL pick. “Growing up in a lacrosse community and looking up to players and following pro lacrosse for so many years, it’s a dream come true. I’m just happy to get to the next level. I have to thank the coaches who helped me get this far.”
Minnesota made room for Schuss on its roster by trading away leftie forward Ryan Benesch, who in four years with the Swarm became the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer. That trade spoke volumes for how highly the team regards Schuss.
“He’s got size and speed and he can finish,” says Swarm associate GM and head coach Joe Sullivan. “He’s got tenacity. He’s a great athlete and a great person.”
Schuss doesn’t sound like a young man who’ll let himself be burdened by a sense of responsibility to duplicate Benesch’s weighty contributions to the Swarm offence.
“I really don’t see there being too much pressure,” says the six-foot, 210-pound attacker. “Like my college coach says, ‘Just go out there and play your game.’ My mom always told me, ‘Don’t feel as if you have to score five or six goals a game. Be a team player.’
“I do know that I need to step up and be a player who can supply goals for them. That’s why I’m working so hard to get ready. I won’t try to do too many things outside my game. I’ll just continue to play my game. I understand my role.”
Swarm defenceman Brock Sorensen of Peterborough was an OSU teammate and Swarm forward Kiel Matisz of Hamilton was an Ohio MLL teammate this summer, so Schuss will see some familiar faces when he gets to camp in November. The NLL season, with nine teams playing 18 games each, begins Dec. 28.