October 2, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Edmonton Rush
Edmonton, AB-----From "Â˜Simon Says' to "Â˜Derek Does' -- the Edmonton Rush played the name game Monday at the 2012 National Lacrosse League Draft by selecting local forward Simon Giourmetakis in the fourth round.
Rush GM and head coach Derek Keenan moved up in the round and selected the Edmonton product to bolster a young stable of left-handed forwards that includes No. 1 pick Mark Matthews and the high-scoring duo of Zack Greer and Corey Small.
Giourmetakis, selected 33rd overall at the draft, was ecstatic at being nabbed by his hometown team in preparation for the 2013 NLL campaign.
"It feels great," said the six-foot, 195-pounder from the City of Champions. "I'm really excited to have the opportunity to play in front of family and friends again.
"I can't wait until training camp."
"A real good player. Left-shot offensive guy," Keenan said of Giourmetakis, who's wrapping up his studies after four years at NCAA Div. 1 Canisius. "He needs some development time, but he's just finishing up school out here in eastern Buffalo. He'll move home for the season."
The 23-year-old Giourmetakis is a product of the greater-Edmonton lacrosse community running the floor for both the Blues and Warriors programs, the junior Edmonton Eclipse and had his first taste of senior ball with the Outlaws of the Rocky Mountain loop.
"It's good to get local talent. It's good for the program and it's good for lacrosse in Alberta overall," Keenan said of the local selection. "It's always hard for guys that far down the draft to make a team, but in practice, guys get hurt, they get an opportunity and they can grow and get better."
Always able to put the ball into the back of the net, Giourmetakis feels his ability to open space in the offensive zone for other players for the likes of Matthews and company that could be his calling card with the Rush.
"I think one of my best assets is creating space for other people," he said. "I like to set hard picks and break down the "Â˜D'. I like to bang around in the middle and try to get other guys open."
And it will be a reunion of sorts as the top pick Matthews and Giourmetakis were part of the dynamic Coquitlam Adanacs summer club that only saw defeat twice throughout the regular and post-season play and then went undefeated in five games at the 2010 Minto championship series.
Giourmetakis scored five goals and had nine points in that winning series and joins Coco teammates and current Rush members Jeff Cornwall and Brodie MacDonald along with Maple Ridge mates Tyler Codron and Jarrett Davis in the Rush family.
"I'm looking forward to playing with all those guys again," said Giourmetakis. "They're all real good guys."
With Edmonton's training camp beginning in November, the next step for Giourmetakis is the preparation for his first pro camp and then make the leap from learning lacrosse while growing up in the gyms and arenas to a place on the carpet at Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place for his hometown Rush.
"I'm going to have a real intense next month-and-a-half to get myself prepared mentally and physically for training camp. I think I can find a role on this team and help out in any way I can."
That what Simon says.
Won't have to travel far for home games
The names of the players called on draft day are likely the ones remembered, however the smiles and joys travel beyond to other family members and friends of those selected. Especially when they're Rush supporters already.
"We've been season ticket holders since the first year and we've been fans so this is really exciting," said Giourmetakis' mother and Rush fan, Brenda. "I'm already taking texts asking for player appearances at schools."
So, when Edmonton announced Simon's name at the draft, it answered the question to where Brenda would watching lacrosse this winter.
"We were trying to figure out how we were going to watch him play this year, so this is a blessing. It really worked out."