Dear Pittsburgh, this what you have to deal with for the next four seasons.
If your first reaction is, “yeah, but some of these kids are in private schools so they won’t be playing for state tournament eligible teams,” you’re soft.
Terrifying…despite the tone setting Mr. Hudson Jay-Z ballad.
Over/under 10 years on a Pittsburgh team making it back to the state final. Keep in mind all three Pittsburgh teams lost their first round state playoff games in 2015. All of those losses were to Central Pennsylvania teams.
Those are club teams.
Those 2019 club teams are boat racing 75% of Pittsburgh varsity teams.
Our rising freshmen are having a lot of success at the Keystone Games.
The best Philadelphia kids don’t go to that tournament, because they’re playing at events in front of college coaches.
The 2015 Pittsburgh Player of the Year is at Bellarmine. The 2014 Player of the Year never played college lacrosse. Meanwhile, there a several Philadelphia natives on Team USA’s training roster. Don’t forget Manhiem Township, a Central PA team, has multiple ACC commits in their 2018 class.
As long as the goal is just to win WPIAL, Pittsburgh will continue to lose ground on Central and Philly lacrosse.
Let’s accept the fact that Central PA caught up and passed Pittsburgh. Let’s stop blaming football coaches for hogging the best athletes. Now, let’s figure out how we can harder and smarter in 2016 to take one or two steps to close the gap in 2016. Then, let’s figure out a way to do it again in 2017. Because it won’t happen overnight and it might not happen for another two generations. But, if we don’t make a commitment to reform, you’re tacking on another year and another year to the process.
This isn’t a message to Pittsburgh coaches. This coming season marks a high point for coaching in the area in terms of the number of coaches who have previous coaching experience, have NCAA playing experience, and more importantly aren’t retreads that cycled through the mid tier teams during the 2000s.
This message is to the players.
You have to decide that winning the WPIAL championship isn’t enough. You have to place value on winning the state championship and understand all the work that is associated with that task.
Until the players decide that they want to work for a state title, we’ll still be looking at early exits in state playoffs, few kids making an impact on their NCAA teams, and fewer kids going D1.