Knighthawks make five selections in NLL Entry Draft

The Knighthawks selected forward Graydon Hogg from the University at Albany at 15th overall.The Knighthawks selected forward Graydon Hogg from the University at Albany at 15th overall.

The Rochester Knighthawks made five selections, including two in the first round, and acquired a total of six players during the 2023 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft last week in Oakville, Ontario.

The Knighthawks opened the draft with back-to-back first-round picks at 15th and 16th overall by way of trades, first acquiring the 15th overall pick from the Buffalo Bandits in exchange for Rochester’s first-round pick in the 2024 NLL Entry Draft.

Subsequently, the Knighthawks selected forward Graydon Hogg from the University at Albany at 15th overall. A three-time America East All-Conference Second Team selection, Hogg scored 85 goals and added 29 assists for 114 points while starting 33 of 43 games.

As a freshman, Hogg led the Great Danes with 29 goals and finished third on the team in scoring with 38 points on his way to earning America East All-Rookie Team honors.

The Oshawa, Ontario, native closed out his collegiate career this past season with 19 goals and 23 points, earning SUNY Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolades and was named a finalist for the America East Man of the Year.

Hogg also played parts of five seasons of Junior ‘A’ lacrosse for the Whitby Warriors, during which he totaled 112 points (49+63) in 55 games from 2016 to 2021.

Rochester then immediately acquired the 16th and 35th overall picks along with forward Kyle Waters from the Calgary Roughnecks in exchange for forwards Thomas Hoggarth and Thomas Vela.

The Knighthawks selected Ben MacDonnell, a defenseman out of Robert Morris University, with the 16th overall pick.

Also a native of Oshawa, Ontario, MacDonnell appeared in only one game with the Colonials during his sophomore season after not playing as a freshman.

MacDonnell led the Whitby Warriors to a Minto Cup championship last summer in addition to putting up seven goals and 18 points while appearing in all 14 games for the Oshawa Outlaws of the Arena Lacrosse League. He earned All-Rookie First Team defender honors before emerging as one of the top rookies in Major Series Lacrosse with the Brooklin Lacrosse Club.

MacDonnell was an accomplished two-sport athlete in both hockey and lacrosse at Maxwell Heights high school. As a senior in 2019, he captured a pair of titles with the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship and the U18 National Championship.

Waters, 24, completed his second pro season with the Roughnecks in 2022-23, recording 25 points on eight goals and 17 assists while appearing in all but two games. He also added 14 loose ball recoveries and 48 shots on goal. In 28 career NLL games, all with Calgary, the 6-foot-4, 236-pound forward has totaled 42 points (15+27) and 37 loose balls.

Prior to turning pro, the Orangeville, Ontario, native played two years of collegiate lacrosse at the University of Detroit Mercy, where he notched 16 points (5+11) in five games for the Titans. Waters led the team with five goals and finished second in assists and points before the remainder of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his collegiate debut, he scored five goals, including the game-winner, and added six assists in the 15-14 win over Jacksonville. The five goals were the most scored by a Titan in his collegiate debut, earning him MAAC Rookie and Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Waters was also a two-time MAAC Honor Roll selection and named to the 2020 MAAC All-Academic Team.

Waters is also a two-time Founders Cup champion, having guided his hometown Orangeville Northmen to Junior ‘B’ titles in 2016 and again in 2018. In 80 career games with Orangeville over the course of seven seasons, he totaled 221 points (111+110) while also adding 155 points (77+78) in 56 postseason appearances.

He concluded his junior career by winning a Minto Cup in 2019 after scoring 42 goals for the second straight year and amassing 97 points in 20 games for Orangeville.

Originally Calgary’s first-round selection (6th overall) in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft, Waters remains the only Detroit Mercy player ever to be drafted in the first round by any professional lacrosse league.

Rochester used its first of two second-round picks to select 2022 Minto Cup champion Jake Doolittle at 30th overall.

Following a brief three-game stint with the Barrie Lakeshores in 2018, the 6-foot-1, 22-pound defenseman earned a full-time roster spot with the Whitby Warriors the following summer and has remained there for the past four years.

In 71 career games at the Junior ‘A’ level, the Shelburne, Ontario, native has recorded 12 points (1+11) and 34 penalty minutes as well as seven assists in 22 playoff contests while serving as an alternate captain in 2023.

To close out the second round, the Knighthawks chose their second University at Albany product in defenseman Jake Piseno at 35th overall.

Piseno, who’s slated to return to Albany for a fifth season in 2023-24, started all 16 games for the Great Danes as a senior in 2023, recording seven assists, winning 78 ground balls and forcing 50 turnovers as one of Albany’s primary long-stick midfielders.

The native of Liverpool, N.Y., was named the America East Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-ECAC selection after leading America East and ranking second nationally in caused turnovers. A three-time America East All-Conference selection, including First Team laurels in 2023, Piseno set Albany’s single-season program record with 50 caused turnovers, recording at least one in 15 of 16 games.

Piseno was also an America East All-Rookie Team selection in addition to a USILA All-America Honorable Mention and a USA Lacrosse Magazine All-America Honorable Mention.

In 48 career games with Albany, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound defenseman recorded 20 points (7+13), recovered 212 ground balls and accounted for 94 caused turnovers.

Internationally, Piseno recently won a bronze medal for the Haudenosaunee Nationals at the 2023 World Field Lacrosse Championship in San Diego. He appeared in all eight games, making six starts, and finished with six points on two goals and four assists. Piseno, who played for the Hawkeyes in the Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (UCBLL) this past season, was named the Best Defender of the tournament and was an All-World selection.

With its lone pick in the third round, Rochester selected Jack Boyden, a two-time All-American and the reigning 2023 Division III Player of the Year, with the 47th overall pick.

Boyden transferred to the University of Virginia this fall following a productive four seasons at Tufts University that saw him put up a staggering 290 points in the last two seasons alone.

In 2022, the Toronto, Ontario, native tallied 133 points on 86 goals and 47 assists, garnering First-Team All-Conference honors and a USILA Dynamic All-American honorable mention. For his efforts, he earned selections to the NEILA Division III All-New England and NESCAC All-Conference First Teams, respectively.

More impressively, he increased his offensive output the following year as a senior, recording an astounding 157 points on 69 goals and 88 assists while leading the Jumbos on an incredible undefeated run to the National Championship Game, where they fell to Salisbury to end their season with a 22-1 record. Boyden, who recorded 10 or more points in a game on seven separate occasions this past season, would later be named the recipient of the Lt. Col. Jack Turnbull award as the nation’s Outstanding Attackman.

He closed out his tenure at Tufts with 310 career points (167+143) and 87 ground balls in 59 games for the Jumbos.

The Knightawks wrapped the day by sending their 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft to Panther City in exchange for its third-round pick in 2026.