He’s going pro.
On Friday afternoon, Penn men’s lacrosse practice concluded with some welcome news as senior attackman Nick Doktor learned he had been taken by the Charlotte Hounds with the 18th pick of the 2016 Major League Lacrosse draft.
As the East Coast prepared for an impending snowstorm, the MLL draft was moved up from 8:30 to 2 p.m., and the timing was perfect for the Rochester, N.Y., native and his team.
“We got the word after practice today and guys were very excited in the locker room and congratulating him,” Penn coach Mike Murphy said. “It was a nice moment for the whole team, especially Nick.”
Taken at the end of the second round, Doktor is the highest draft pick in Penn history, eclipsing third-rounder DJ Andrzejewski.
“Obviously it feels really good, it’s something that I’ve been working toward for a while now,” Doktor commented. “It’s always been in the back of my mind ... It’s been a goal of mine that I’ve always wanted to achieve. But now that its come true, its sort of surreal.”
Although being selected was not a surprise, the destination was. Prior to the draft, Doktor had been in touch with one club, but had heard nothing from the Hounds. Ultimately, it was Charlotte that came calling with the team’s fourth pick of the day, coming just after Cornell’s John Edmonds went to Rochester.
For the senior, the draft has added another layer to his plans as he considers life beyond graduation. Almost unique among professional sports, lacrosse offers the ability to maintain careers both on and off the field. MLL games are regularly scheduled for weekends, allowing players to hold full-time jobs in addition to being a part of their teams. In Doktor’s case, this means balancing a position working in banking in New York with his dream of continuing his career as an athlete.
But that dream will be on hold for a little while. Doktor, a second team All-Ivy pick in 2015 comes into the season with a 27-game point-scoring streak and looks to continue leading the Red and Blue offense into the 2016 campaign.
Unlike most professional sports drafts, the MLL draft occurs before the start of the college season, so the Quakers will get one more year to watch the future pro. MLL rules prohibit draftees from playing with their team until the conclusion of their collegiate squad’s season.
Doktor’s selection is reflective of the recent success of Murphy’s program, which in recent years has taken down the likes of Duke and North Carolina. During Doktor’s sophomore season Penn played their way to the NCAA tournament, where the attackman recorded three goals and an assist despite a 16-11 loss for the Red and Blue at the hands of their 33rd Street rival, Drexel.
“I think it raises the bar for everything that we do,” Murphy noted. “Obviously it demonstrates that we have players that are just as good as anybody.”
The Quakers are barely a week from the first sign of the season’s start, as they host Drexel for a scrimmage on Feb. 6. And for Doktor, that means setting aside the news from Friday.
“Now that [the draft] is done and over with, I’m gonna put that on the back burner and just focus on the upcoming season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to my senior year, I think the team looks really great, so I’m just going to stay focused on the season and make the most of it.”
Which is good news for his coach, who’s ready to see what the soon-to-be pro can do in his senior year.
“We’ll get back to work on Monday and he’ll be running with everybody else, and he’ll just be one of the guys.”
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