BRAD SELF A FORCE ON BOTH ENDS OF THE FLOOR
By Andrea Chevalier
A battle at both ends of the turf - that’s what Knighthawks transition player Brad Self faces every game when he steps out onto the field. In his eighth season in the National Lacrosse League, he has become one of the game’s best at playing both offense and defense.
Self began his professional lacrosse career in 2003 with the Ottawa Rebel. His career as a professional lacrosse player then took him to Colorado for the 2004 and 2005 seasons, Philadelphia for the 2006 season, Chicago for the 2008 season, and to the Knighthawks in 2012.
He took some time off from playing lacrosse to turn his focus toward playing professional hockey in Germany before joining the Knighthawks. His first season back in the NLL with Rochester proved to be a memorable one, where he played on his first championship team.
The success didn’t stop there. Self was with the Knighthawks when they won their second consecutive championship last season, and as exciting as it was to become back-to-back title winners, it was even more memorable for him.
Brad isn’t the only player on the field sporting the name ‘Self’ on his back. Knighthawks defender Scott Self, Brad’s older brother, joined the team last season, giving the brothers a chance to play on the same team and ultimately win that championship together, Brad’s second and Scott’s first.
The past year has given the brothers more of an opportunity to learn each other’s tendencies.
“With us both playing defense, we’re always there to help one another,” said Scott. “I understand how he plays and he understands how I play the game, so we can learn from each other.”
Last season, Brad Self set a career-high in loose balls (96) and came in second in forced turnovers on the team (13). Up to this point in the season, he remains at No. 1 on the team and No. 10 in the NLL in loose balls (73) and has pitched in 16 points (3+13) for the Knighthawks.
“He’s a guy with a lot of energy,” said Matt Vinc. “He really keeps the tempo up on our defense and he’s also great in transition and great at moving the ball up and scoring. He’s an all-around true defender.”
Self’s job when he is with the Knighthawks is a somewhat complex one. As a transition player, he is required to run the floor and play both defense and offense. Though he has multiple duties on the field, Self knows exactly what his job is when he steps foot on the floor.
“For me, my main job first and foremost would be defense,” he said. “After that, it’s my job to push the ball up the floor and get it in the offensive sticks.”
Though Brad’s main focus is keeping the ball out of Knighthawks’ territory, he is finding himself playing more on the opposite end of the turf, mainly due to the roster size this season. Self and the rest of his team are spending more time on the field and have adapted to the change.
“We’ve had to make some adjustments this season with only 16 guys on the field and we find ourselves getting more floor time,” he said. “Our coaches have really put us in good spots in order for us to be successful.”
The Knighthawks are known for their solid and vigorous defensive unit that has grown to be nearly unbreakable. As a whole, each player that they put out there, including Self, is an important piece of the puzzle.
“We just work well together,” he said. “We’ve been together for a few years now so we are a veteran group of guys. Everyone just buys into the team and it’s worked well for us.”