Nick Mariano, No. 2 Syracuse’s leading scorer, is set on leading Orange to first national title in 8 years

first_img Published on May 15, 2017 at 3:33 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21 UPDATED: May 16 at 12:32 a.m.Nick Mariano spent most of his first winter break at Syracuse by himself in a South Campus apartment, where he mulled over the possibilities that lie ahead. He always wanted to play at Syracuse, and the once distant upstate school was now home. The thought of excelling at his dream school excited him so much that he went home for only three days — Christmas Eve, Christmas and the day after — during the break.Players estimate more than 90 percent of SU lacrosse players go home for break. Not Mariano. He dedicated three-plus weeks to proving himself to his new team. He ran stairs in Manley Field House two to three days per week, lifted four days a week and shot with former SU All-American Dylan Donahue for hours almost every afternoon. In between, alone in his apartment, he played it all out. He visualized the shots from afar, the alley dodges and sweeps, the precision of his rides, the dimes in traffic and the game-winners. He contemplated the ways in which the next two years of his life could go.“You can do anything you want in life,” Mariano said. “If I hadn’t done that, I’d never know. It was now or never. This is my lifelong dream and it’s coming true.”In spring 2016, he led the Orange in goals with 35. In less than two years, Mariano has transferred to Syracuse, which didn’t offer him a roster spot out of high school, and has risen near the top of the college game. With a potent lefty snipe and ability to get to the cage, Mariano isn’t just the leading goal-scorer of Syracuse. He’s the face of the Syracuse offense. Over the last two seasons, he has scored 21 more goals than anyone else on the team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMariano, who in the second grade begged his parents to paint his bedroom walls orange and blue, is set on leading the No. 2 Orange (13-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) to its first national title in eight years.“He’s a matchup nightmare,” ESPN lacrosse analyst Mark Dixon said. “He’s big, he’s strong. Not necessarily a burner, but he’s quick. Wherever Mariano plays on the field he’s incredibly dangerous. Obviously, Nick Mariano is the alpha male of this team.”Ally Moreo | Photo EditorMariano excels by playing with the intensity he’s had since he was as a kid. Back then, he threw video game controllers at friends when he didn’t win. He stayed on the field after practices at Yorktown (New York) High School, where he started on varsity all four years, with a bucket of balls, shooting until he couldn’t see the net anymore.In one of his first college games, Mariano flashed the advanced skill set that allowed him to play with sixth graders when he was a first grader. As a freshman at Massachusetts, he scored four goals at Ohio State, including the game-winner in overtime. Instead of celebrating with his team, he ran to the sideline, hopped over the wall and ran to hug his father, who welcomed Mariano to the sport by placing a plastic lacrosse stick in his hands two hours after he was born.“Not going to Syracuse right away gave him a drive,” his mother, Cheryl, said. “A drive to be great.”There are two sides to Mariano. He can be protective, quiet and introverted, those who know him said, as evidenced by the aftermath of his offensive outburst in Jacksonville, Florida. That belies his defense-bulldozing mentality when the ball’s in his stick. Last month, against North Carolina in the ACC semifinals, Mariano tracked down a Tar Heels defensive midfielder from 10 yards away. He batted the ball from his stick, scooped up the ground ball and pushed SU’s transition. Later, he trucked a Carolina midfielder and stared the player down as he walked away.Plays like that are Mariano staples. He screams when he scores, in practice and in games, like his game-winner against Albany in February. Before warmups, he listens to the same two songs: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “Kick Out the Epic Motherf*cker” by Dada Life. His shot is a sudden, explosive movement.“At a rough practice, he’d almost bark at me to start hitting the net,” former SU All-ACC midfielder Tim Barber said. “He’d get me pissed off. Then I’d score.”Ally Moreo | Photo EditorThough Mariano himself wouldn’t be here in Syracuse, where he’s carried the team at times, if not for a few days in June 2015. It was shortly after he received his release from UMass when he played at a tournament 8,000 feet above sea level, 100 miles west of Denver in the middle of the Colorado Rockies.The Vail Lacrosse Tournament is an annual shootout for some of the best college players in the country. Coaches from top programs looked on as Mariano averaged four goals per game against defenders from Duke, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and Notre Dame.“Here’s this kid out of UMass, not really a big name, absolutely tearing it up,” said Brian Prestreau, a Penn State senior midfielder and high school teammate of Mariano who also played at the tournament.Syracuse, those who know Mariano said, was interested but hadn’t offered him a spot to transfer, even after he dominated at Massachusetts, leading the Minutemen in scoring as a freshman and sophomore.After that tournament, during which he won Offensive MVP honors, he had punched his ticket to Syracuse. Brandon Mullins, a former SU All-ACC defender, told assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Lelan Rogers about what he had just witnessed. “The next thing you know,” said Thomas Mariano, Nick’s older brother, “he’s at Syracuse.”Ally Moreo | Photo EditorIn his first year at SU, Mariano led the team in scoring and hit three game-winners while earning All-ACC and All-ACC tournament team honors. In 2017, a player who wasn’t even on Syracuse’s radar this time two years ago is lifting the Orange to one of its more successful seasons since its last national title in 2009. Mariano has five hat tricks, a pair of four-goal games and three game-winners for SU, which reached the No. 1 ranking for the first time in nearly two years and reeled off its longest winning streak in six years.“He literally dropped out of the sky for us,” SU head coach John Desko said. “I don’t remember Nick in high school. If I did, maybe he’d have an orange jersey on for four years instead of two.”Mariano said he’s never lost, his head never full of other people’s ideas about the type of player he should be. All he knows is that much of how Syracuse fares in the 2017 NCAA tournament rests on his next move.“I’ve only got one shot at a national championship,” Mariano said. “I’ve got to make it happen.”CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the location of Nick Mariano’s offensive outburst was misstated. The outburst occurred in Jacksonville, Florida. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Redskins fire President Bruce Allen, eye Ron Rivera to coach

first_img Bruce Allen was mocked four years ago when he proclaimed that his perennially last-place Washington Redskins were “winning off the field.” More eye rolls arrived recently when Allen defended the club’s “culture.”After a lot of losing on the field and all manner of public relations disasters off it, Allen is out as president of the NFL team once coached by his father. He was fired Monday, a move announced by owner Daniel Snyder a day after a 3-13 debacle of a season was capped by“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as president of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization,” Snyder said in a statement issued by the team. “Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington.”From the outset of the 2010 season, the Redskins went 62-97-1 with Allen serving as Snyder’s right-hand man, a stretch that featured only two playoff appearances and zero playoff victories. Written By SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 30th December, 2019 23:34 IST “These guys that are taking the blame and taking that on, it’s on all of us in this building,” said injured quarterback Alex Smith, who spent significant time with Allen and Snyder this season. “We’re all responsible for it.” Under Allen’s watch, the issues away from the field included: It was also during that occasionally contentious session with reporters that Allen declared he would do anything to help the team win more games, vowing: “If it meant mowing that lawn out there every Tuesday, I would mow the lawn every darn Tuesday.”During another rare appearance to take questions from the media, at the news conference to announce Gruden’s dismissal in October, Allen objected to questions about widespread criticism of the way things are run at Redskins Park by asserting: “The culture is actually damn good.”Norman believes Rivera could fix the culture around the Redskins if he gets the job. Last Updated: 30th December, 2019 23:34 IST Redskins Fire President Bruce Allen, Eye Ron Rivera To Coach Bruce Allen was mocked four years ago when he proclaimed that his perennially last-place Washington Redskins were “winning off the field.” More eye rolls arrived recently when Allen defended the club’s “culture.” COMMENT There could be another important move soon, too:“He gets the best out of players. Simple as that,” said cornerback Josh Norman, who played for Rivera in Carolina. “And not just players, but men. He builds men and guys and also builds character.”Norman said the culture would be entirely different if Rivera gets the job. It has been an issue with Allen in charge, and even quarterback Case Keenum on Monday said of the organization, “I think there are some cultural things that need to be addressed.”Allen was hired as Washington’s executive VP and general manager in December 2009, then promoted to president in May 2014.Only once in Allen’s tumultuous tenure did Washington even manage to win as many 10 games and it finished at the bottom of the NFC East five times.Just one team in the 32-club NFL had a worse record this season, and the Redskins own the No. 2 pick in the next draft.Jay Gruden, who was given a contract extension by Allen, wasSo the always-in-disarray Redskins are now in need of a president, a general manager and a coach; whoever is hired to those jobs will need to oversee a massive rebuilding project.That includes fixing the roster and a reputation that has alienated fans to the point that the team’s home stadium often had thousands of empty seats and plenty of spectators cheering for the opponent.center_img Associated Press Television News LIVE TV this season’s holdout by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, whom Allen refused to trade and who the messy firing of GM Scot McCloughan in 2017; the acknowledgment that the team’s seemingly endless home sellout streak was over, followed by the house-cleaning after last season of new executives in charge of business matters; the costly trade for, and ugly divorce from, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III; the mostly unsuccessful coaching stint of, and ugly divorce from, costly coach Mike Shahanan; the tens of millions of dollars given to Kirk Cousins (or, as Allen repeatedly called him, for some reason, “Kurt”) as the league’s first QB to play under the franchise tag more than once; eventually, he was allowed to leave as a free agent, with the Redskins receiving nothing in return. “I feel like you’ll see a difference,” he said. “I’ll put it like that. From what you see now to what you’ll see if this is the case, it’ll be a night and day swap.” WATCH US LIVE For all of the Redskins’ poor game results during Snyder’s 20 years as owner — never once managing to win 11 games in a season in that span — it was Allen who infamously tried to downplay the importance of the losing by boasting at a news conference after the 2014 season that the team’s charitable foundation “does a fantastic job,” which meant, he said, “We’re winning off the field.” Allen previously worked as an executive for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.He is the son of late Pro Football Hall of Fame member George Allen, who led the Redskins to one Super Bowl appearance while coaching them from 1971-77. Allen’s brother, George, is a former Virginia governor and U.S. senator. FOLLOW USlast_img read more