via the Launch’s web site
All-Star Tucker Durkin has been one of the most dominant defenders in the MLL since joining the league in 2013. Prior to turning pro, Durkin played at Johns Hopkins University where he racked up a long lost of accolades including back-to-back Schmeisser Awards for being college lacrosse’s top defender. Here we get an inside look from the man himself about what it’s really like to play lax at the highest level:
How did you get your start in lacrosse?
So I got into lacrosse around the 4th grade, mostly because my best friend Mike Noone (Ohio Machine) made me make the switch from baseball to lacrosse. I loved it immediately, but I also played so many other sports: football, basketball, golf. I really didn’t specialize or just play lacrosse until my freshman year at Hopkins, that is when I actually started playing lacrosse year round. I played basketball and gold throughout high school and two years of football as well.
What players did you watch growing up that you most wanted to play like?
I wasn’t crazy into watching college and professional lacrosse growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I did love it and attended several Final Fours, I just had a lot going on with other sports. I did, however, love watching Ken Clausen while he was in high school and college. Ken played for the Dukes Club Program who I later played for, and I remember watching and loving his game. It turns out that our styles of play are really different but he is definitely a guy that I loved to watch in high school and while he was at Virginia.
Why did you pick Johns Hopkins?
So I was actually committed to play and attend Bucknell; I made a verbal commitment before my junior high school season. I ended up progressing and having more options by the summer so I decided to explore other opportunities. My club coach Ebe Helm was instrumental in helping me find the right place for me; I couldn’t be happier with my ultimate decision to attend Hopkins.
What is your favorite memory of playing in a game?
This is a really tough question. I have been fortunate enough to play in some really awesome lacrosse games throughout my career; it’s really hard to pick just one favorite game. One that sticks out to me is from my junior year when we played Virginia at Klockner Stadium. It was #1 vs. #2 and the atmosphere was amazing; we ended up winning on a shot from John Ranagan in overtime.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I definitely don’t have any set rituals necessarily. I like to try to stay pretty relaxed during pregame for the most part. I do however always have a difficult time sitting still, I’m always pacing around or trying to tune my stick in the locker room.
What is one thing you most want to accomplish in the sport that you haven’t done yet?
I want to win an MLL Championship with the Florida Launch. I also want to win a Gold Medal with Team USA.
Favorite pregame meal?
Grilled chicken and veggies, maybe some pasta if I’m really crazy that day.
Favorite sports team outside of lacrosse?
Last concert you attended?
Backstreet Boys. Just kidding, I think it was Phish a few years ago. I’m due to attend another concert though, been a while.
What can’t you live without?
Hot sauce. Need it. You name it, I put it on it.
What’s your “day job?”
Head Coach at Bryn Athyn College. Go Lions!
Jessica Alba. I am not that in tune with the celebrity scene though.
One thing you’ve completed on your bucket list?
What would you tell someone who is just starting to play lacrosse and asks you for advice?
Have fun and enjoy it, that is most important. If you love the game, it will become a heck of a lot easier. I would also say become a student of the game, I think that is so important. Once young guns understand how and why certain things happen in lacrosse, it all becomes a lot easier. Watch your favorite players, and favorite MLL/college teams play, then work on those things in the back yard with your buds.