Justin Cheng, Beckman

Junior LSM Justin Cheng of Beckman, the MVP of the Pacific Coast League last spring, has committed to play NCAA Division I lacrosse at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

“Bryant really had everything I was looking for in one school,” Cheng said via email. “Nationally ranked business program; nationally ranked lacrosse program; outstanding lacrosse facilities; and a beautiful campus. In addition, to have the opportunity to play for Coach [Mike] Pressler and [Casey] Broderson, who not only are outstanding lacrosse coaches but also emphasize values such as commitment and loyalty, is a real dream come true. I can’t wait to suit up in the Black & Gold with my buddies Q and Ryan!”

Cheng’s West Coast Starz teammates Quentin Buchman of Santa Margarita Catholic and Ryan Ramirez of Torrey Pines also are committed to Bryant in the Class of 2018. LSM Scott Phillips of Peninsula (Rolling Hills) is committed to Bryant in the Class of 2017, and LSM Jake Fiske of Poway will be joining the Bulldogs this fall with the Class of 2016.

Cheng said he also considered Air Force, Lehigh, Lafayette, Cleveland State and Jacksonville during the recruiting process, a process that changed for him dramatically over the summer.

“June of this summer was the turning point of my recruiting process for sure,” he said. “I worked really hard during the spring to get bigger, faster and stronger and spent a lot of time on improving both my stick and footwork. Adrenaline Black Card and playing with West Coast Starz really helped me showcase myself well in front of recruiters.”

In addition to WCS, Cheng also played for the Kings LC and 3d Southland clubs, but it was with WCS at the Adrenaline Black Card Showcase at Stony Brook University on Long Island that he stood out. This is how 3dRising.com described his play in that event:

Perhaps no player had more of a breakout day on Friday than Justin Cheng, a Southern California native who was the talk of the day for many coaches in attendance watching the 2018s. To sum up his game briefly: every time he was around the ball, it seemed to go on the ground. While not physically imposing at 5-foot-9, by the end of the day, he had the presence of a player a foot taller. Opposing offenses kept the ball away from him, and defenses slid early when he was in possession of the ball. Cheng is relentless on ground balls, has a tremendous motor, and is a major transition threat, scoring a goal and having many other offensive opportunities in the time we saw him. Word on the street is that Cheng is a high-academic student, which would seem to make him a great fit at a Patriot League type of institution.

As a sophomore for Beckman last spring, Cheng was named first-team All-Orange County after collecting 115 ground balls and causing 56 turnovers in 18 games. He also turned those possession changes into offense for the Patriots, scoring 10 goals and delivering eight assists. Beckman won the Pacific Coast League and finished the season 14-4 and ranked No. 12 in the final OC coaches poll.

As a freshman, Cheng had 78 GBs and 36 CTOs while scoring five goals and handing out one assist.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me through this process,” Cheng said. “Coach Finn and Kallas [Brendan Finnerty and Joel Schmitt-Kallas of Beckman] for believing in me and coaching me since the seventh grade. Coach [Devin] Arkison, [Cameron] Cole, and [Nick] Tintle for putting me through insane workouts and getting me ready for all the tournaments and showcases on such short notice. My club coaches Jono Zissi and Jamie Baker and the entire West Coast Starz organization. Most importantly, I wanted to thank my family for supporting me and putting up with my crazy travel schedule the last few years.”

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