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Open Mike: Buffalo Bandits' Resetarits developed game at Hamburg H.S.

Joe Resetarits had a solid career at Albany, before being drafted for both the indoor and outdoor professional lacrosse leagues. (Photo courtesy of the University of Albany)
It was during his sophomore lacrosse season; and Joe Resetarits was on a pace to set state scoring records, during that and the next few spring campaigns.

So he was a bit surprised, when first-year Hamburg varsity head coach Jerry Severino told Resetarits that the 10th grader would need to make some changes to his game.

“He looked at me and said, ‘I have to change my game?,’” Severino remembered.

It wasn’t so much that the rising star had to alter what had already made him such a success. Severino was merely asking that Resetarits set up his teammates more often, instead of doing what he’d been taught and was so good at, which was dodging and shooting.

Severino said Resetarits exhibited his willingness and ability to be a well-rounded lacrosse player, by going out the next game and putting up nine assists as part of an 11-point performance. Resetarits would get even better at distributing, while improving his goal scoring during his junior and senior seasons. Severino added that Resetarits became special at finding an open spot on the field, getting his teammates attention and finishing.

“He became a more complete player,” Severino said. “Finding teammates was something that needed to be accomplished for him to take that next step. Once he did that, he was ready for the world.”

And Resetarits took the world, at least the lacrosse world, by storm.

As a senior, he established a Section VI record with 98 goals in leading Hamburg to the 2008 Class B state semifinal and a 21-3 record. He totaled 164 points that season. Beginning his varsity career being brought up as an eighth grader, by legendary coach Ed Van Tine, Resetarits would finished second in state history with 318 goals and fourth in points with 463.

“Joe was the first Hamburg player to play varsity at such an early age,” said Severino, noting that future Division I college players Ryan Feuerstein and Max Maxwell then followed. “He had the stick skills, vision and athletic ability that younger kids just didn’t have. He had all of the skills; he just needed to be coached and refine mechanics and become a team player.

“That doesn’t happen overnight,” Severino added. “An eighth grader usually doesn’t think of assisting another player first.”

After a successful four-year career at Division I Albany, which included being named an All-American honorable mention as a senior, Resetarits has continued his career professionally in both the indoor and outdoor leagues. “It was no mystery that he was going to play at the highest of levels,” Severino noted.

On Saturday, Dec. 28, Resetarits will begin a new phase in his career, 20 minutes from where he grew up, suiting up for the first time for his hometown Buffalo Bandits, when they open the 2013 – 2014 season against the Philadelphia Wings 7:30 p.m. at the First Niagara Center.

The second-year professional and former first round pick in the National Lacrosse League was traded in the offseason after spending his rookie year with the Calgary Roughnecks.

“There will definitely be some jitters for that first game,” Resetarits said. “I’m playing in my hometown and in front of the best crowd in the league. I’m trying to approach the game and season as if it’s just another other game but it’s going to be exciting. This a great organization and we have great coaches and players — I think we can go a long way.”

It almost seemed Resetarits was destined for greatness in a sport his oldest brother also took by storm. Before Joe came on to the high school scene, it was Frank Resetarits that was breaking New York State records. Frank was then one of the best Division I college players, getting nominated as a finalist for the Tewaarton Award his senior season.

“When I first came to the Hamburg program from Orchard Park, Joe was in eighth grade and I knew about Frank,” Severino said. “The pedigree there is pretty serious. I knew Joe would be very special.”

Joe followed in big brother’s footsteps, heading to Albany, where he was also America East Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He was drafted both in outdoor and indoor professional leagues, just like big brother Frank. Joe played his first two seasons in Major League Lacrosse with Hamilton.

“Frank’s always been the guy I looked up to in not just lacrosse but in all parts of my life,” said Joe, the son of Frank and Donna Resetarits.

It also hasn’t hurt that Resetarits has always been open to learning. He showed that last season as a role player taking in what the veterans taught him in Calgary. He’s been a sponge since plying as a youth, accepting and building on the advice of others, even when his coach is telling him that he doesn’t always have to be a scorer.

Even as a youngster, Joe was open to that advice. It’s been just one of many key ingredients that’s helped land him to embarking upon his Bandits’ debut.

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