PLANO -- All-Star selections typically go to players who have had successful seasons up to that point. Or, they've at least appeared in a game. But this past week Dallas Rattlers rookie Ben Reeves was chosen for the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Team before he even joined his professional team!
"Don't know how it happened, but I'm grateful for it, I guess," laughs Reeves following his second team practice Sunday morning in Plano. "I mean, it'll be fun. It'll be good to be on the same field as all those guys. But I don't know how it works."
Reeves was the best player in college lacrosse this past season, winning the sport's version of the Heisman Trophy, the Tewaaraton Award, and leading Yale to its first-ever NCAA championship. That long playoff run--which ended just three weeks ago--delayed the start of his professional career until this weekend, however his skill set was apparently enough to get him an MLL All-Star nod.
Rattlers head coach and general manager Bill Warder thinks he might know why. Every four years, with this being one of those years, the MLL All-Star Game pits an All-Star team against Team USA (which has four Rattlers players on it) to give the national squad a tuneup game prior to the Federation of International Lacrosse Men's World Championship. That may have opened the door for Reeves.
"He was a guy that, I think, nearly missed [being on] Team USA," says Warder, "and he's obviously an interesting dodging threat, so I think Team USA probably wanted to see that guy against them. Why wouldn't you if you're trying to prepare for the world games?"
But whether or not that factored into the decision, is it really fair to put Reeves into the game over other players who have actually played this season?
"I think it's a really tough position to be in," opines Rattlers defenseman and fellow All-Star Matt Dunn. "Either way somebody's going to be upset; if these great players come out of college and don't have a chance to play in [the All-Star Game] because the seasons overlap, or you got guys that are doing well that miss a spot because of it. I see both sides of it."
One thing's for sure: the first-place Rattlers are glad to have Reeves on their side--but that doesn't mean they won't give him a hard time about the situation.
"Yeah, we'll bust his chops a little," says Dunn with a smile. "But nothing personal."