A few things can change in a span of three years, including where a teenager wants to attend college and play lacrosse.
Camden Hay, a rising senior attackman at Victor (New York) High School, told Syracuse University coaches that he wanted to play for the Orange during the summer before his freshman year of high school. The statement was a non-binding verbal commitment.
That was Hay’s plan until Monday, when he decommitted from Syracuse and gave a verbal commitment to attend and play at the State University of New York at Albany.
The Great Danes will add one of the best high school players in the country, according to Victor coach Jim Andre, once Hay signs a letter of intent. The NCAA signing period for Division I and II lacrosse players begins Nov. 13.
“I think he’s one of the top players in his 2020 class,” Andre said. “He’s big (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), he’s strong and he’s a lefty. All of those things add up to him being a desired kid for (a college coach’s) roster.”
Albany, Maryland, Michigan and Ohio State were among the other NCAA Division I colleges who recruited Hay, he said.
Here’s why Hay said he changed his choice from Syracuse to Albany:
Hay has a couple of connections to Albany, one on the field and another on the team’s sideline.
“The coaching staff at Albany is truly fantastic,” Hay said. “My brother (Tanner) plays there and my cousin, John Maloney is also the defensive coordinator.”
Tanner Hay is a rising sophomore defenseman at Albany. The 2018 All-Greater Rochester Boys Lacrosse Team member is one of five former standouts in Section V who were on the 2019 Albany roster, including former Victor defenseman Pat Barrow.
Maloney graduated from Albany in 2016, and played one season in Major League Lacrosse before returning to the college game as a coach, first at Skidmore, then St. John Fisher College. This was his first season back at Albany.
“Yeah they did, they’ve been recruiting me for a while,” Camden Hay said. “It took a long time because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
Camden Hay said there is “no chance” he will change his mind again. Besides, his choice is a plus for parents Shannon and Tim.
“My parents are really excited,” Camden Hay said. “They don’t have to worry about games in separate places.”
Fit in the bigger pictures
Camden Hay said that he liked Syracuse University, and that the lacrosse team offered what amounted to half of a scholarship to join the Orange. Albany’s offer was similar — “really good for lacrosse” he said — plus there were the family ties among the Great Danes.
“I didn’t think I’d fit in with the team (at Syracuse),” Hay said. “They bring in a lot of kids, they recruit a lot of kids.
“It didn’t feel like one big family, like Albany is.”
Hay had a team-high 52 assists with 41 goals by the time Victor won the Class B state championship in June. The 2019 AGR Boys Lacrosse Team member made it on to Victor’s varsity as a freshman, and became a starter the following year.
“(Albany’s) plan is for me to go in, and hopefully have a shot to play from Day 1,” Hay said. “It’s really hard, going in and being able to contribute (as a true freshman).”
Adapting to Albany’s playing style may not take very long.
“It’s fast-paced, how lacrosse should be played,” Hay said.
Albany will keep Hay as an attackman, the role he’s almost always played in lacrosse, the 2018 AGR Football linebacker said.
“I’ve played goalie when I was young but I wasn’t any good,” Hay said. “Those guys are crazy.”