BY Louis Frey
Sacred Heart University alumnus and lacrosse player, Julian Garritano, was selected in the 2018 National Lacrosse League (NLL) Draft. He was chosen in the third-round and 35th overall by the Colorado Mammoth.
The NLL Draft took place on Sept. 25, at Philadelphia’s, “Xfinity Live!” According to its website, “Xfinity Live!” is a dining and recreation region that is located within the Wells Fargo Complex.
“Playing professional lacrosse has been one of my lifetime goals,” said Garritano, who graduated from Sacred Heart in 2018.
Garritano is from Markham, Ontario, and played midfield during his four years at Sacred Heart. According to the Sacred Heart athletics website, he played in a total of 59 career games. In that span, he accumulated 79 career points, 64 career goals and 15 career assists.
Garritano felt he had a good chance at being drafted, but he also knew it wasn’t a guarantee. According to Garritano, the NLL is growing in popularity around the country, which is making it more difficult for lacrosse players to be drafted.
He focused on improving his game over the summer by working with coaches, and also received guidance from his head coach at Sacred Heart, Jon Basti.
“When I found out that I was drafted, it was humbling to know that all of my hard work and support that I received had paid off,” said Garritano. “I was at the Draft in Philadelphia when I heard my name, so it was a surreal experience.”
The NLL has 10 teams in addition to the Mammoth. The teams are located in Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester, Georgia, New England, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Vancouver, San Diego and Philadelphia.
Coaches and players of the Sacred Heart men’s lacrosse team who had coached and played with Garritano, weren’t surprised that he was drafted.
“Julian has a tremendous work ethic and is a pure leader,” said Basti. “He has proven to me that if he sets his mind to it he will do it.”
Graduate student and attack, Joe Saggese, looked up to Garritano at how he handled himself and others.
“Julian was a great leader on and off the field and he led by example by always pushing his teammates to go the extra mile,” said Saggese. “His teammates respected him and had trust in knowing he was the right guy to lead our team.”
Saggese also looked up to Garritano’s stickhandling skills.
“He could catch any ball thrown to him and also obtains the craftiness and composure to always finish the ball when close to the cage,” said Saggese.
Garritano’s former teammates believe that it’s because of these skills, that he has what it takes to be successful in the NLL.
“Julian really gives everything he’s got whether it’s in practice or in games,” said senior defenseman Joseph Cipoletti.
Senior midfielder Max Tuttle is looking to keep up with Garritano as he begins his NLL career.
“Hopefully I can catch a game,” said Tuttle. “It’s awesome he got drafted, especially by my hometown team.”
Garritano is a bit nervous to play in the NLL, but he believes playing with professionals during the summer has prepared him for the upcoming season.
He also gives credit to his family for helping him achieve his goal. They are happy for him and they were with him every step of the way.
“Everyone was overcome with joy,” said Garritano. “From traveling to and from games during the week when I was little, to the early morning practices and games, it all paid off to get me to this point in my career and I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family.”
Garritano’s professional career begins on Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., as the Mammoth will host the Calgary Roughnecks at the Pepsi Center in Denver.