CALGARY, AB — It hasn’t taken Karsen Leung long to make an impact in the National Lacrosse League.
As such, the 22-year-old was named a finalist for NLL Transition Player of the Year.
And for the second-year player, the nod means a lot.
“It’s a great honour being in the league for two year and being recognized early,” said Leung, who is up against Joey Cupido of the Colorado Mammoth and Brodie Merrill of the Toronto Rock for the award.
“I give a lot of credit to my coaches and my teammates. I’ve come a long way since my first game in the NLL. It’s just to the point where I’m at now and my confidence level, it’s tremendous.”
In 2015, Leung scored 11 goals and 24 assists to go along with 79 loose balls and 12 forced turnovers.
“I can only say good things about Karsen Leung,” said teammate Shawn Evans, who was also nominated as the NLL’s most valuable player. “He’s a smart player, he can run up and down the floor and he’s got great hands for a young guy. He came into this league and nobody knew who he was and he’s made a name for himself.
“He came out and performed. If you look at the replays of some of his goals scored, they were incredible. He’s a heck of a ball player and I’m glad he’s on our team.”
Only in his second year, Leung has really found a role for himself with the Roughnecks organization and has improved each year.
His ability to play defence, score in transition, play in an offensive set, and log a ton of minutes have made him invaluable to the Roughnecks and one of the best transition players in the NLL.
“I think Curt really emphasizes pushing the ball and I can play within that style because I’m able to run – that’s one of my fortes” said Leung. “Just being offensive minded once I have the ball and really push the ball to the net. We have some really great offensive players on our team. We’ve got (Curtis) Dickson, [Evans], and (Dane) Dobbie coming off of the bench. It really helps having them and being able to dish them the ball and them being able to score.”
Being recognized alongside two of the best transition players in the NLL, Leung is humbled by the nomination and is grateful to be considered part of that group.
Cupido recorded 31 points (16g, 15a), and scooped up 117 loose balls and forcing a league leading 40 turnovers.
Merrill, who has won the award twice (2009, 2010), scored 32 points (8g, 24a), and racked up 151 loose balls and 32 caused turnovers.
“It’s really cool, they are great players,” Leung said. “I had no idea I was up for the nomination until my buddy texted me. It’s a lot of hard work paying off. I’m not the most talented player, but I work extremely hard and pay a lot of attention to our team’s system. It’s just things kind of falling into place. It’s nice to be rewarded for all of that hard work.”
For Leung, winning the Award would be a great honour.
But not his main concern.
“I think it’d be pretty cool, but I play the game to win championships. That’s the main goal. Personal awards are just accolades that you’ll remember forever, but championships are what we play for. That’s something you’ll never forget.”