Rock sticks to what it knows

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:55 AM ET

If a lacrosse player makes a good impression on Terry Sanderson, the Toronto Rock general manager/coach will do what he can to bring him into the fold.

Familiarity was the theme of the day on National Lacrosse League entry draft day yesterday for Sanderson as he acquired two players he knows quite well.

First, the Orangeville resident shipped the Rock's first-round pick for 2006 to the Calgary Roughnecks for up-and-coming Orangeville-born defender Brad MacDonald. Then, with the team's first selection of this year's draft in Edmonton (15th overall, second round), the Rock snapped up Owen Sound junior-B forward Tyler Gibbons, who played for Sanderson in the senior-B playoffs this summer for Owen Sound.

"I'm thrilled to play for Terry," said Gibbons, 20, who was eighth in the junior-B loop in scoring this season. "I just loved playing for him and I was really hoping I'd get a chance to be drafted by him.

"He's intense, he wants to win and he gets the most out of his players."

MacDonald, who broke into the NLL in 2004 with the Roughnecks, fills a void that was created when defender Glenn Clark signed with the Philadelphia Wings. MacDonald, who is playing senior lacrosse for Coquitlam this summer, is the sixth Orangeville Northmen junior-A product on the Rock's roster. He won two Minto Cups with Orangeville and captained that team for one season.

"I'm happy to be coming back home," MacDonald, 22, said. "It's neat to go to the place where you watched games as a young kid and have the chance to play in front of all those people."

Gibbons, who is taking a policing course at Georgian College, also played for Rock assistant coach Matt Sawyer for the junior-A Northmen for a few games this summer.

"(The familiarity) makes us very comfortable with the pick," Sanderson said. "He can play the power play, short man and he's a character guy. He doesn't mind dropping the mitts once in a while."

As expected, the Portland LumberJax selected Georgetown defender Brodie Merrill with the first overall pick. The Rochester Knighthawks grabbed Peterborough forward Shawn Evans with the second pick and Philly then used the third and fourth picks to take Cornell forward Sean Greenhalgh and Barrie forward Luke Wiles, respectively. The Arizona Sting wrapped up the top five by taking the University of Denver's Matt Brown.


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