If building the nation's eighth-ranked men's lacrosse team can be compared to heavy construction, then attackman Jordan McBride fits the reality and the analogy for Stony Brook. Besides real-life experience as a carpenter, McBride has provided the most prominent offensive hammer in Stony Brook's outline on the sport's skyline.
Entering Saturday's NCAA Tournament first-round game against No. 9 Denver at Stony Brook, McBride - a stealthy presence with a quick-trigger shot - already has the school record for career goals (134) with a full season remaining. He is tied for third in the nation in goals scored (48) and is third in average goals per game (3.2) despite being held scoreless in four of the Seawolves' 15 games.
Even better, McBride, fellow Western Canadian Kevin Crowley (46 goals, 25 assists) and Hauppauge's Tom Compitello (33 goals, 35 assists) all are juniors, providing a figurative scaffolding on a future palace of success. "It's crazy," coach Rick Sowell said, "that I'll have another year with these guys."
Long ago and far away, McBride, now 23, was introduced to box lacrosse - the sport's indoor version - in his hometown of New Westminster, British Columbia, near Vancouver. He was 4.
"I didn't know field lacrosse existed until I was 9 or 10," he said. That's when his father and a friend started an outdoor league. McBride would play half a game on attack, "score a bunch of goals," then play goalie the second half.
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Naturally, as a Canadian lad, he played ice hockey, "but I had more passion for lacrosse" and gave up the former sport in 10th grade. He "tried to get recruited" by a U.S. college out of high school, but when nothing developed, he followed his father, three uncles and a grandfather into the carpentry business.
He worked days as a builder and played lacrosse in the evenings, counting among his friends a future Stony Brook teammate, sophomore Kyle Belton (20 goals), who told him of a lacrosse camp in Baltimore where scores of U.S. college coaches recruited.
That was where McBride was spotted by Sowell, then the St. John's coach, "but it was, like, $40,000 to go to St. John's and they could only offer about 30 percent in scholarship money," McBride said, "and there was no way I could afford that, so I was just laying low."
He had heard of Stony Brook - Rhys Duch, who starred there in '08, hailed from Canada - but when Sowell called again, having just taken the Stony Brook job, "I didn't really know what Long Island was," McBride said.
A campus visit included a lacrosse game ("They were tied with Virginia 7-7 at the half"), facilities tour ("I thought it couldn't get much better than that") and player meet-and-greet ("They treated me great").
So McBride not only signed on but told Sowell of a "guy I know from New Westminster . . . I basically said, 'He's better than the best player on Stony Brook.' " That would be Crowley, the conference player of the year and one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, given to the top college player. Another nail in a tower of power?