No. 4 overall pick Byran Cole (Photo Credit: Graig Abel)
(Sept. 27, 2016) – The Georgia Swarm left Monday’s NLL Draft with defense on its mind. Georgia used its first two picks in the first-round to add size to its backend by selecting 6-foot-3, 190-pound transition player Bryan Cole (No. 4 overall, University of Maryland) and 6-foot-3, 215-pound defenseman Connor Sellars (No. 10 overall, Belmont Abbey College).
“We were looking for defense in this draft and Bryan is a big, left-handed transition player who can also play some offense if called upon,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “Connor is more of a stay-at-home defender but has incredible stick skills as well and played attack in college. He very much wants to be a stay-at-home defender and is focused on that and is excited to be that guy for us.”
Cole finished his career at Maryland as one of the most successful players in program history as he was a member of four NCAA Final Four teams, and three NCAA Championship games in five seasons. The Oakville, Ontario native finished his collegiate campaign with 101 points (43G, 58A) and was a 2016 USILA First Team All-America selection. As Maryland’s team captain his senior season, Cole tallied career-highs in goals (21), assists (29), points (50) and ground balls (16).
This past summer in the MSL (Canadian indoor league), Cole played for his hometown team, the Oakville Rock, and totaled 17 points (10G, 7A) over 13 games.
“I want to thank the Georgia organization for everything; I’m excited to get in and start off on the right foot,” Cole said. “… I’m ready to play the role the Swarm need me to play wherever it is on the floor.”
Sellars finished his college career as Belmont Abbey’s all-time leading scorer with 235 points, 156 goals and 79 assists over four seasons. The Brampton, Ontario native started in all but three games in that span (65 games) and was a two-time team captain. In 2016, he registered a career-best 68 points (38G, 30A) and helped lead the Crusaders to a No. 10 national ranking.
As a defenseman for the MSL’s Brampton Excelsiors this summer, Sellars appeared in 18 games and recorded 16 points (6G, 10A) and 31 faceoff wins.
“I’m really excited and I know that they are a good team right now,” Sellars said. “I want to step in and do the best I can and help them get to the next level.”
The Swarm’s coaching staff likewise echoed excitement in regards to the additions of Cole and Sellars, as the team now has more depth on the backend, and in particular, has more size to matchup with some of the league’s bigger offenses.
“We were happy to get Bryan at that pick as we heard a lot of teams we looking to get him,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We knew we would have to take him high. He played offense in college and scored a lot of goals, but in the indoor game, he’s a pretty versatile player; plays defense, runs the floor and can play some O for us. Connor is another guy who played offense in college, and is a big, physical, shutdown type defender. We thought we wanted to address some size at our backend and we’re really happy with those two picks.”
Georgia selected an additional six players Monday night, and continued to add more players specifically on defense. With that said, the Swarm is set to have an incredibly competitive training camp come December, where the team will have to narrow its roster down to 20 players and four practice squad members.
“Competition is a good thing,” Arlotta added. “We certainly have it now across the board and it makes players better. Everyone needs to come into camp prepared because we have a lot of really good players. The more competition, the better your team is going to be.”
The Swarm selected a pair of Six Nations teammates in the second-round by grabbing defenseman Leo Stouros (No. 17 overall) and goalie Warren Hill (No. 20 overall). Stouros and Hill helped the Chiefs win a Mann Cup (Canada’s indoor championship) this past summer and also completed successful collegiate careers in the spring. Stouros was a team captain at Colgate University and finished his career with 73 groundballs and 30 caused turnovers. Hill spent two seasons in net at Syracuse University and appeared in 470 minutes his senior season with a 5-3 record.
“It’s a dream come true, I’ve been waiting for this day all my life and I’m thankful and honored for Georgia giving me this opportunity,” Stouros said.
“I couldn’t be more excited, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Hill said. “… I’ve learned a lot these last couple years, especially playing at the older level and definitely this past season playing with the Chiefs.”
The Swarm rounded out their draft with the following selections:
22. Lauchlin Elder, Transition Player (Burlington Chiefs Jr. A)
25. Brayden Hill, Defenseman (Six Nations Jr. A)
28. Matt Kavanagh, Forward (Notre Dame)
44. Liam Byrnes, Transition (Marquette)
The Georgia Swarm opens the 2017 NLL Season at home on Saturday, Jan. 7 against the two-time defending champion Saskatchewan Rush at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena.
Fans can take advantage of a special Home Opener Ticket & T-Shirt Package for only $99! Fans will receive (3) Lower-Level Sideline Tickets and (3) Swarm T-Shirts (a 4th Ticket and T-Shirt can be added to the package for only $20!). Call 844-4-GASWARM to purchase your Home Opener package today!