The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2015 NLL Transition Player of the Year award. The Colorado Mammoth’s Joey Cupido, Calgary Roughnecks’ Karsen Leung and Toronto Rock’s Brodie Merrill were the top vote recipients for best transition play in the league this season.
Cupido ranked sixth among among NLL transition players in goals (16), seventh in points (31), and ninth in assists while primarily playing a defensive role in 18 games played. The fourth-year pro led the league with 40 caused turnovers and had 117 loose balls, fifth-most among non-faceoff men, eighth-most among transition players, and tied for 12th-most overall. With 16 goals on just 43 shots, Cupido’s .372 shooting percentage ranked first among all NLL players with 10-plus goals. Cupido also tied for second in the league with four shorthanded goals. The 24-year-old Hamilton, Ontario native was Colorado’s fifth-round (38th overall) selection in the 2011 NLL Draft. He was named to the NLL All-Rookie Team in 2013 and became the first NLL player drafted in the fifth round or later to receive the honor in a decade.
Leung finished fifth for his position in points (35), tied for fifth in assists (24), and tied for sixth in goals (11) in 17 games played. The second-year pro recovered 79 loose balls, 16th-most among NLL transition players and tied for 33rd overall. Leung also recorded 12 caused turnovers and had a .229 shooting percentage which ranked in the league’s top 50. The Victoria, B.C. native, who played collegiately at Bellarmine University, was Calgary’s second-round (10th overall) selection in the 2013 NLL Draft. The 25-year-old was named to the NLL All-Rookie Team in 2014.
Merrill was sixth among transition men with 32 points, tied for fifth with 24 assists and tied for 12th with eight goals in 18 games played. The 10-year veteran recorded 151 loose balls, which were second-most among non-faceoff men and fifth overall. The 33-year-old had a career-best 32 caused turnovers, second-most for his position and tied for fourth overall. Merrill scored three shorthanded goals, tied for fourth-most in the league, and had a .222 shooting percentage that ranked in the NLL’s top 50. The Orangeville, Ontario native, who played collegiately at Georgetown University and was the first overall selection in the 2005 NLL Draft, won back-to-back Transition Player of the Year awards in 2009 and 2010. Merrill won both NLL Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2006.
The 2015 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Toronto, Ont.
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Thursday, June 18: Goaltender of the Year award finalists
Friday, June 19: Executive of the Year award finalists
Monday, June 22: Head Coach of the Year (The Les Bartley Award) award finalists
Tuesday, June 23: General Manager of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, June 24: Rookie of the Year award finalists
Thursday, June 25: Most Valuable Player award finalists
Monday, June 29: Teammate of the Year award finalists
Tuesday, June 30: Pinty’s Wingman of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 6: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 29: 2015 NLL Season Awards Ceremony