Denver's Mark Matthews Selected First in the 2012 NLL Draft

Edmonton, AB--The Edmonton Rush have selected Denver University standout Mark Matthews with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.

Full results of the NLL draft appear at the bottom of this post.

The six-foot-four, 230-pound forward is one of the most highly regarded draft-eligible players over the past 15 years, and is expected to instantly spark the Rush offense when the team begins the 2013 NLL season in January. Matthews will wear No. 42 on his Rush jersey.

"Obviously it's been a dream of mine to play in the NLL and to be part of the Edmonton Rush is something special," said Matthews.

Being drafted by the Rush reunites Matthews with his former junior coach, Rush General Manager and Head Coach Derek Keenan. Matthews played a starring role on Keenan's Whitby Warriors which claimed the 2011 Minto Cup national Junior 'A' championship. The win with Whitby was Matthews' second straight Minto success after being part of the victorious Coquitlam club in 2010.

"I think knowing each other helps. There's a trust factor," said Keenan. "He knows what my expectations are as a player and as a person. The systems that we used in the summer (with Whitby) are almost exactly the same as we use in Edmonton. He's well aware and well versed in them.

"He's got all the tools. He shoots the ball a hundred miles an hour. He passes well, sees the floor, good on the power play. He can shoot accurately from outside and he can finish on the inside.

"He's a playmaker ... he can flat-out make plays. He's got all the attributes that will make him a very good player."

A dynamic offensive presence, Matthews finished his four-year career at Denver with a school record 216 points and 155 goals. The Oshawa, Ontario, product also completed his collegiate tenure on a 45-game point scoring streak, which helped him earn his second straight ECAC First Team honors and All-American status.

Along with being the ECAC's Offensive Player of the Year, Matthews' collegiate accolades included 30 hat tricks and 21 power-play goals, and completing his time at Denver as the second-leading active goal scorer and fourth active leader in career points amongst all NCAA players.

Matthews already has a taste of pro lacrosse as he was taken in the first round of last year's Major League Lacrosse College Draft by his home-town Denver Outlaws. In just nine regular-season games, Matthews put up 19 goals and nine assists four of his goals coming in his debut against Chesapeake.

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TORONTO Former University of Denver lacrosse player Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario) was picked as the No. 1 overall pick by the Edmonton Rush in Monday's National Lacrosse League Entry Draft at the Toronto Westin Harbour Castle. Alex Demopoulos (Canton, Conn.) was also picked in tonight's draft in the sixth round as the No. 53 pick.

Matthews' selection in the NLL draft comes after a summer in which he played for the Denver Outlaws, after being selected by the local Major League Lacrosse team in the first round of the 2012 MLL College Draft. In nine regular season games for the Outlaws, Matthews netted 19 goals, including four in his debut against Chesapeake. Matthews also added two assists in his debut, and was named the MLL Rookie of the Week. In two playoff games with the Outlaws, Matthews scored three goals and assisted five others.

In his DU career, Matthews played 65 games, tallying 216 points on 155 goals and 61 assists. His 216 points and 155 goals are both program records. Matthews finished his career with 30 hat tricks, including 10 in his senior year. He finished his career on a 45-game point scoring streak, marking the fifth-longest streak in the nation. Matthews was also a two-time USILA Second Team All-America selection (2011 and 2012).

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