Dave Cottle and Brian Reese were as surprised as anyone when Myles Jones went on the Major League Lacrosse market. However, the president and head coach of the Chesapeake Bayhawks were in immediate agreement about doing whatever possible to acquire the former Duke All-American.
"We were looking for a downhill dodger and some size. When Myles Jones became available, we pulled the trigger," Cottle said.
Chesapeake landed Jones through a trade with the Atlanta Blaze on Tuesday, adding an element to its offense that has been missing the last few seasons. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder was an unstoppable force at times during his highly decorated career at Duke.
"Myles brings a dimension to the midfield that we were lacking and will be given the opportunity to play and develop around some other great offensive players and veterans," Reese said.
Jones was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 Collegiate Draft and was expected to become a major building block for Atlanta, an expansion franchise in its first year of competition in Major League Lacrosse. So it was unexpected when Blaze general manager and coach John Tucker decided to part ways with Jones after he played just two games with the club.
"That's a great question and I don't know the answer," Reese said when asked why he thought Atlanta would be willing to trade such a prized player. "Maybe Atlanta has more of an attack-oriented offense and it wasn't a great fit. All I know is that we were very interested when they contacted us. We don't have another player on the roster like Myles Jones."
Jones is a two-time winner of the McLaughlin Award as the top midfielder in Division I, a two-time finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation's best player and a two-time first team All-American. He ranks seventh in Duke history with 231 career points (126 goals, 105 assists).
"Myles is an enormous man and is very tough to cover one-on-one. He's a north-south dodger who knows how to take advantage of his size," Reese said. "Myles is a also a great passer. He has proven very adept at drawing slides and dishing to the open man. We think that ability will enable him to make some of the players we already have even better."
Chesapeake has not had a dynamic dodging threat from the midfield for the past couple seasons. Kyle Dixon (Archbishop Spalding) and Ben Hunt (Severna Park), who retired following the 2014 and 2015 seasons, respectively, filled that role in the past.
To get Jones, the Bayhawks gave up midfielder Matt Mackrides, who was selected to play in the MLL All-Star game on Tuesday. Mackrides, who was in his fifth season with the Bayhawks, has 98 career points.
"Matt Mackrides has been a key member of the Bayhawks for four and a half years and we wish him nothing but success," Cottle said of the former Penn State standout.
Draft picks were also involved with the deal as Chesapeake traded one of its first-round selections in 2017 for Atlanta's second-rounder. Reese said the Bayhawks could afford to do that since they acquired a first-round choice from the Boston Cannons in the Tyler Fiorito trade.
Jones did not make much of an impact in two games with Atlanta, scoring two goals and assisting another. Chesapeake management is hopeful the presence of Matt Danowski will help the rookie get acclimated to professional lacrosse. Danowski, an attackman and midfielder for the Bayhawks, was an assistant coach at Duke all four years that Jones played in the program.
"I'm very familiar with Myles and his game. I know what makes him tick and what he brings to the table as a player," Danowski said. "Myles texted me this morning and was fired up about joining the Bayhawks. He is a self-motivated young man who has gotten better every year."
Danowski admitted he was also surprised that Atlanta would want to trade Jones so quickly and could only guess that he did not fit into the offensive system that Tucker employs.
"I don't know the reasoning behind the decision, but I'm glad Myles is on our team now," Danowski said. "He's exactly the type of player we need – a big body who can shoot, dodge and draw slides."
Jones, a product of Walt Whitman High in Huntington, New York, is expected to make his debut for the Bayhawks next Thursday at Boston.
ALL-STARS: Major League Lacrosse announced the 2016 All-Star Game roster on Tuesday. Teams will be selected in a draft determined by winners of an "Ultimate Fan Fantasy" contest. This year's All-Star contest is being held at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State Fullerton.
Other Bayhawks selected as All-Stars were goalie Brian Phipps (Severn School), close defenseman Michael Evans (South River), midfielders Matt Abbott and Joe Walters (Maryland).
MLL All-Star Roster by Position
Goalie: Tyler Fiorito (Boston Cannons, McDonogh), John Galloway (Rochester Rattlers), Brian Phipps (Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland, Severn School), Scott Rodgers (Ohio Machine)
Face-Off: Greg Gurenlian (New York Lizards), Brendan Fowler (Charlotte Hounds), Chris Mattes (Florida Launch), Greg Puskuldjian (Ohio Machine)
Defense: Tucker Durkin (Florida Launch, Johns Hopkins), Mike Ehrhardt (Charlotte Hounds, Maryland), Michael Evans (Chesapeake Bayhawks, Johns Hopkins, South River), Joe Fletcher (New York Lizards, Loyola-Maryand), Brian Karalunas (Ohio Machine), Michael Manley (Rochester Rattlers), Jackson Place (Ohio Machine), Scott Ratliff (Atlanta Blaze, Loyola-Maryland), Mike Simon (Denver Outlaws), Joel White (Rochester Rattlers)
Midfield: Matt Abbott (Chesapeake Bayhawks), Brent Adams (Boston Cannons), Peter Baum (Ohio Machine), Connor Buczek (Florida Launch), Ned Crotty (Rochester Rattlers), John Haus (Charlotte Hounds, Maryland), Matt Mackrides (Chesapeake Bayhawks), JoJo Marasco (New York Lizards), Paul Rabil (New York Lizards, Johns Hopkins), Tom Schreiber (Ohio Machine), Max Seibald (Boston Cannons), Jeremy Sieverts (Denver Outlaws, Maryland), Drew Snider (Denver Outlaws, Maryland), Joe Walters (Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland)
Attack: Randy Staats (Atlanta Blaze), Marcus Holman (Ohio Machine, Gilman School), Eric Law (Denver Outlaws), Will Manny (Boston Cannons), Kieran McArdle (Florida Launch), Rob Pannell (New York Lizards), Kevin Rice (Atlanta Blaze), Joey Sankey (Charlotte Hounds)