Top 10 Stories of the Year. No. 10: Stone Sims

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With fall ball ramping up and teams looking forward to the 2016 high school season the new lacrosse year has begun.  MaxLaxOC.com reviews the Top 10 Stories of 2015 starting with No. 10: Stone Sims.  You need to look no further than this San Clemente alum and Albany University sophomore to see that the recruiting system is far from perfect and that hard work and perseverance pay off.

Sims was ranked as the 19th best freshman in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse DI Freshman Rankings earlier this year.  He finished the season with 31 groundballs in 19 games for the Danes and made it all the way to the NCAA semi-finals.  In the age of accelerated recruiting, Sims is a role model for players feeling like they should take up tennis because they don’t have a verbal commitment by the time they graduate from eighth  grade.  Sims flew under the recruiting for much of his high school career and did not commit to Albany until February of his senior year.

Sims was the only player from Orange County to make D1 Freshman Rankings as well as the highest ranked Californian.  He is also one of 10 freshmen in the Top 25  who did not make the pre-season IL Power 100.

Congratulations Stone!  The Top 25 in the IL list are presented below.

25. Jake Miller, D, Brown (4G, 4A, 31GBs, 3CT in 17 games)
IL Power 100: NR

24. Joe Lang, A, Harvard (21G, 7A in 14 games)
IL Power 100: No. 25

23. Logan Greco, D, Virginia (14GBs, 4CT in 15 games)
IL Power 100: No. 31

22. Will Sands, A, Bucknell (26G, 16A in 15 games)
IL Power 100: No. 49

21. Mark Anstead, A, Detroit (21G, 17A in 14 games)
IL Power 100: NR

20. Will Fox, FO, Fairfield (55.7%, 32GBs in 11 games)
IL Power 100: NR

19. Stone Sims, D, Albany (30GBs in 19 games)
IL Power 100: NR

18. Danny Seibel, A, Villanova (28G, 2A in 14 games)
IL Power 100: No. 100

17. Anthony Abbadessa, A, Colgate (24G, 15A in 16 games)
IL Power 100: NR

16. Hunter Moreland, FO, Johns Hopkins (1A, 55%, 45GBs in 16 games)
IL Power 100: No. 28

15. Matt Vierheller, G, Mount St. Mary (56.7%, 8.36GAA in 13 games)
IL Power 100: NR

14. Jack Wilson, A, BU (25G, 15A in 14 games)
IL Power 100: NR

13. Ryan Hilburn, A, BU (25G, 15A in 14 games)
IL Power 100: NR

12. Ben Reeves, A, Yale (25G, 18A in 16 games)
IL Power 100: No. 77

11. Matt Neufeldt, LSM, Maryland (1G, 57GBs, 21CT in 19 games)
IL Power 100: No. 13

10. Reilly McDermott, G, Furman (58.6%, 8.42GAA in 13 games)
IL Power 100: NR

Playing behind a young defense in a league that’s getting tougher each season, McDermott was named the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. His save percentage got better as the season went along, ending the year as the top freshman goalie by save percentage.

9. Sean Cerrone, M, Villanova (12G, 23A in 14 games)
IL Power 100: No. 8

A second-team All-Big East selection, Cerrone’s playmaking ability sparked a Wildcat offense that battled injuries throughout the season but was still able to advance to the conference semifinals vs. national champion Denver.

8. Mikey Wynne, A, Notre Dame (33G, 4A in 15 games)
IL Power 100: No. 4

In the first freshman rankings, Wynne was averaging 4.00 points per game. In the second, 3.11. In this, 2.46. For a finisher like Wynne, it’s hard to balance the cause in down-turned production between decreased performance and increased attention from opposing defenses. It’s also difficult to balance the value of the Fighting Irish’s late-season performance and highlight-reel plays like his midline goal vs. Albany. This spot feels right.

7.  Chris Walsch, A, Air Force (37G, 18A in 15 games)
IL Power 100: NR

Walsch stepped into a squad that graduated a lot of senior scoring and was approaching a one-year stint as an independent, an finished as the leading scorer for a Falcon team that finished 8-7. Worthy of note, Air Force finished 5-1 against Southern Conference teams in 2015, their league home next season.

6. Shack Stanwick, A, Johns Hopkins (28G, 22A in 18 games)
IL Power 100: No. 1

Stanwick saved some of his best play for last, putting up 22 points in the Blue Jays’ last seven games, including a highlight-reel 3&2 day in the NCAA Tournament first round vs. Virginia and 4&2 vs. Syracuse in the Quarterfinals.

5. Joel Tinney, M, Johns Hopkins (28G, 10A in 18 games)
IL Power 100: No. 2

The Big Ten Rookie of the Year, Tinney was frequently the Blue Jays’ offensive catalyst when things otherwise stagnated. He’s a herky-jerky dodger capable of getting into the teeth of the defense and a dangerous outside shooter.

4. Craig Berge, M, Georgetown (16G, 21A in 16 games)
IL Power 100: No. 5

One of three freshmen USILA All-Americans, Berge earned an honorable mention nod. Berge is an excellent playmaker from the top of the box and a viable scoring threat, putting pressure on opposing defenses and giving Georgetown lots of options.

3. Justin Guterding, A, Duke (52G, 19A in 18 games)
IL PG Rankings: No. 1

The ACC Freshman of the Year, Guterding had a reputation coming into Duke as a finisher; over the course of the season, he clearly emerged as a viable ball-carrier with the capacity to move the ball into a scoring position. He provides the Blue Devil coaching staff with a Swiss Army knife-level of versatility.

2. Connor Fields, A, Albany (66G, 22A in 19 games)
IL Power 100: No. 15

Ready for this? Fields’ 66 goals is the ninth-highest single season total of all-time. For that, he was named a USILA Honorable Mention All-American. Surely some of that success is a product of playing alongside Lyle Thompson, but — like Guterding — Fields showed that he’s more than just a scorer and Albany fans can be excited for how the Great Dane offense will produce in his hands.

1. Trevor Baptiste, FO, Denver (8G, 5A, 67.9%, 140GBs in 19 games)
IL Power 100: No. 78

The first first-team All-American freshman since Michael Powell in 2001, Baptiste was arguably the lynch-pin that allowed Denver to play a style that the Pioneers parlayed into the program’s first NCAA championship. While his face-off win percentage took a hit because of his NCAA Tournament first round game vs. Brown, Baptiste had four goals and an assist in Denver’s last eight games, and averaged 8.25 groundballs per game during that stretch.