Roughnecks rookie shoots for roster spot

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:18 PM ET

Like so many other members of his graduating class, Curtis Dickson needed a college education to qualify for his dream job.

The rest is up to him — and the Calgary Roughnecks rookie sharpshooter is very close to making the grade.

“You couldn’t get drafted until you graduated (from college), so for four years, I was looking forward to it,” Dickson said. “And ever since they called my name on draft day, I’ve been hoping to crack the roster. I know it’s not a common thing for rookies to hop in the league right away and contribute, but I’m hoping I can be one of those guys.”

By all accounts, the 22-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C., is not your everyday rookie.

In his fourth and final collegiate campaign at the University of Delaware, Dickson led the NCAA Division I ranks in goals per game (3.65) and was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, the field lacrosse equivalent to the Heisman Trophy or the Hobey Baker Award.

The Roughnecks scooped up the high-scoring righty with the third-overall selection in the 2010 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, and he has passed every test so far.

With just one more training camp session before Thursday’s deadline to finalize regular-season rosters, Riggers head coach Dave Pym has nothing but high praise for the 6-foot-2, 195-lb. forward.

“I think he’s going to turn a lot of heads in this league,” Pym said. “He’s a big athletic kid with a phenomenal stick and a nose for the net. I mean … that kid has it all. He can shoot from the outside, he’s got the inside game, and he, if anybody on our front end, has been a really pleasant surprise.

“(Assistant coach) Curt Malawsky had him graded as somebody that was going to be capable of stepping into the league, but he’s exceeded, certainly, what we thought he was going to bring to the table — just a real nice ballplayer and just a fantastic attitude. He wants to get better every time he hits the floor, and already he’s developing some really nice chemistry in camp with the other guys on the right side.

“The kid has got all the skill-sets in the world, and he’s got a great attitude, to boot.

“It’s nothing but upside for him.”

In the history of the Roughnecks franchise, only a handful of freshman have made a major impact in their first professional campaigns. Defender Taylor Wray was the only Rigger to win the NLL’s rookie of the year award.

But with the off-season departures of future Hall-of-Famers Tracey Kelusky and Josh Sanderson, the latest edition of the local lacrosse club is being billed as a younger, faster and stronger bunch, and it just so happens that Dickson fits the bill in all three categories.

“I think with my size and my strength, I’ll hopefully be able to jump in right away and contribute in any way that they want me to,” Dickson said. “I like to look at myself as a big, strong, athletic type, and that’s what the team looks like they’re going towards. We have a lot of guys like that, and I think it’s hopefully going to work out for us.

“In my opinion, I think it should work well.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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