Talking Sports with Colorado Mammoth’s Ned Crotty

By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report Owner/Sr. Writer
Photos by Phil Wilgus Jr.

Ned Crotty, a forward with the Colorado Mammoth, recently took time to do a Q&A session with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about his sports career and views.

TCSR: who is your biggest role model outside of sports?

NC: “I would probably have to say my parents. They have done a great job to raise all of us. I am who I am, because of my parents.”

TCSR: why did you choose to attend Duke University?

NC: “Actually, originally, I did not want to go to Duke. A bunch of my other siblings went to Duke, so I wanted to go off and do my own thing. It came down to Duke and one other school, who kept bugging me into making a decision and then I finally made my decision. I told the other school that I wasn’t ready yet, so then, they were taken off the radar. I called Duke the following day and committed to them. That’s how I ended up at Duke.”

TCSR: why there are a lot of New Jersey ties to Duke, like a lot of New Jersey residents going there

NC: “Yeah, I don’t really understand it, but a lot of people do go to Duke from New Jersey. One of the attractions for me was the warm weather. I know that Duke is a great place and it’s a great school, but why exactly New Jersey residents going there? I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out just yet. Going down there I knew it was a Southern school, but once I got down there, I realized that it’s a really big Northeastern school.”

TCSR: being teammates with Matt Danowski and Zack Greer

NC: “It was great! I was fortunate enough to be on a team with two of the greatest players to ever play. Zack Greer is going to do down as one of the greatest finishers ever, while Danowski is going to go down as one of the best quarterbacks of the game. They are also two of the best overall players ever. They had really great chemistry with everybody, besides having great chemistry with each other. They also knew were each other were going to be throughout each game. Watching them play was a lot of fun. They were my friends, but at the same time, I tried to learn from them as much as possible. When Matt graduated and Zack decided to leave, I didn’t know I would be playing attack.”

TCSR: why he thinks Zack Greer decided to leave Duke after his junior year once Danowski graduated to transfer to Bryant University

NC: “Everybody makes their own decisions, and I think Zack had a great opportunity at Bryant, so he decided to go with that.”

TCSR: being the next Duke duo in line once Danowski and Greer left school to team up with Max Quinzani

NC: “He was great! Max and I are good friends. We clicked right off the bat. I remember when I was a freshman and Max came to school on his recruiting visit, his official visit, and he actually stayed with me and my roommate. Max had the opportunity not to come to Duke after what happened in 2006, but he still came and that’s when we knew he was committed to Duke. That spoke highly of Duke. My last year, we played attack, so we played with each other. It worked out, because we knew were everybody was going to be on the field.”

TCSR: being coached by Matt Danowski’s father John Danowski at Duke

NC: “It was great! Obviously, it was tough to lose coach (Mike) Pressler, but I knew there wasn’t a better guy for the job after coach Pressler left. Coach Danowski did an outstanding job, not only being our coach, but being our mentor. He helped get us through a very difficult time. We got along very well. He did an unbelievable job then and is doing an unbelievable job now. He gives it his best in everything that he does. Duke is very lucky to have coach Danowski.”

TCSR: being the first-ever NCAA men’s lacrosse national championship at Duke on May 31st, 2010

NC: “Everything! We had been so close for so long. It’s a terrible feeling when you get so close and can’t actually win it. You had to walk away empty handed, then to finally win it, with everything that we’ve gone through, to be the first Duke team to finally win one, it was great! I believe there’s only 8 other schools that have won the men’s lacrosse national championship – and to be the first new team to win championship in a very long time – it was a huge deal to us. There was so many different things that made it so special. I was very fortunate to be apart of that.”

TCSR: did you guys wish coach Pressler was on the sidelines to celebrate on the field with you guys?

NC: “Yeah, of course. He was a big part of it, and being a 5th-year senior, it was my class that was his last class. He’s definitely apart of that. I was fortunate enough to be coached by coach Pressler at Duke and again in the summer with Team USA. We knew coach Pressler was always with us, and we’re always with him. He was the reason why a lot of us went to Duke. We were definitely thinking about him when we were celebrating. I was even able to win a World Championship with him in July, but it definitely didn’t make up for the time that we lost with each other, but it came pretty close.”

TCSR: being the first overall pick in the MLL draft by the Chicago Machines, who are now the Rochester Rattlers

NC: “It was great! I was going from winning the national championship, to then being a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy (like the Heisman Trophy Award for lacrosse), before actually winning it, then going onto the MLL draft, it was an unbelievable experience. It was the greatest week of my life. It was an unbelievable experience to go No. 1 overall in the draft. It is something that I’m very proud of, and something that I’m going to remember for a long time. It was an unbelievable way to end my college career, then transition into my pro career. I was very lucky and fortunate to do that.”

TCSR: having to juggle playing in the MLL and playing for Team USA at the same time last summer

NC: “I just really had to focus. They both were very important. There was no time for excuses. Everybody on the USA team was doing both, so you didn’t have time for excuses. I think it made us that much stronger as a team, because we all knew that we had to represent our country, but then at the same time, do our job with the MLL team that we were working for. At one point, I was going from the USA training camp to an MLL game, then back to the USA training camp. It meant that I had to prioritize things. It was a great experience to do both. I believe this experience helped me grow, as a player.”

TCSR: what were the biggest adjustments he had to make from playing outside to be playing box (indoor) lacrosse?

NC: “As you said the differences in the game. Growing up, I used to play (ice) hockey, so I’m used to playing in an Arena, but playing lacrosse, I’m so used to playing in an open field. I was able to switch hands and having room to run, but playing the indoor game, I have to maximize what I can do. I have to even move to best shield myself and give myself the best opportunity to make a play. I look forward to each weekend to be able to learn more.”

TCSR: why he thinks Max Quinzani didn’t play this year in the NLL after being a second round draft pick by the Philadelphia Wings in the 2010 NLL draft (Quinzani was put on the inactive list after being drafted by the Wings)

NC: “Max has a very intense job that he has to work very hard to keep. I don’t think with his schedule that it worked out.”

TCSR: being considered by many with Paul Rabil, a former Johns Hopkins graduate, as the best lacrosse players on the planet

NC: “I think its pretty far fetched that I’m one of the best players on the planet. I think I’ve been very fortunate over the past year to win the individual and team awards that I’ve been able to win. I don’t think there’s much of a rivalry there. Paul is one of the players, who took this game by storm, and is really making it a professional game. He trains regularly and the way he plays the game, I think it puts him head and shoulders above the other players in the game. Max Seibald is a player that’s very similar to Rabil, because they both have the size and speed to succeed. I think players like that are helping to push our game to new heights. I think those two are the best players on the planet.”

TCSR: working with Philadelphia Wings forward Ryan Boyle, then having to face him during this season

NC: “It has its ups and downs. Our job is in the City, New York City. We’re both very competitive and we want our team to win. (The Wings beat the Mammoth twice this year)”

TCSR: future once you have to retire

NC: “I would still love to be involved in sports. It has been something that I’ve done forever. It is something that I love and I understand it. It comes natural to me. Being an athlete is knowing that you’re doing something that you want to do.”

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