Rock lies in way of star\'s title

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Around 11 p.m. tomorrow, John Grant Jr. hopes to scratch his name off a list featuring Dan Marino, Karl Malone and Marcel Dionne.

Many lacrosse experts consider the Rochester Knighthawks star to be one of the most dominant players in the sport.

One problem, though. Grant, like those three other outstanding athletes, doesn\'t have a major championship. That could change tomorrow when Rochester (13-4) battles the visiting Toronto Rock (12-5) in the National Lacrosse League final.

\"That (a championship) is what makes you a good player,\" the Peterborough native said. \"I don\'t think you can be considered a good player until you win a championship.\"

Many would disagree, but no doubt the championship issue has plagued Grant, 29, throughout his career.

Grant hasn\'t won at the junior or senior level in Canadian summer lacrosse. He didn\'t win an NCAA field lacrosse title with Delaware. He came up short with the Rochester Rattlers professional field team in 2001. He was part of the Canadian team that finished second at last year\'s world field championship and also played for Canada in a shocking Heritage Cup box loss against the United States last year.

\"That (non-champion) has kind of been my nickname,\" Grant, selected first overall by the Knighthawks in the 2000 NLL entry draft, said.

Still, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Grant can\'t be overlooked. He was named a second-team all-pro for the second season in a row yesterday. In his first two seasons in the league, he was a first-teamer, and he was the rookie of the year in 2000.

If all goes according to plan, Grant will start a championship run tomorrow. He\'ll play for Canada at this month\'s world indoor lacrosse championship in southern Ontario and will suit up for the powerful Coquitlam Adanacs in summer lacrosse.

\"(Grant) is the greatest player in the game,\" Rock forward Colin Doyle said. \"That (the non-championship streak) is going to be a motivational factor for him.\"

Doyle was named a first-team all-star yesterday. Toronto\'s Blaine Manning and Jim Veltman earned second-team nods.

BRIEFLY: The Rock today is expected to announce a three-year lease with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Ltd., for use of the Air Canada Centre.


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