[inline:conor] [inline:gilman] UNC freshmen Conor Steidle and Marcus Holman are not only roommates in Chapel Hill, but also teammates on the Tar Heel lacrosse squad. I was able to steal some moments with them last week, and the duo went shot for shot with me, giving us a peek into the lives of two future NCAA stars. Conor, also known as the Towel Prince of the Northeast, comes out of Malvern Prep, located outside Philadelphia. He was a standout attackman for the Friars, earning an impressive collection of hardware. His 1st-Team All State selection foreshadows success to come, and he's topped the ranks of every high school conference willing to unleash him. His father Ward and uncle Brett Steidle were standouts for UNC when short shorts only highlighted the hey-day of long hair. He carries himself with a cool confidence, and even at 6'3" and 200+, he exudes a calm presence. He's a laxer at first sight; his Nike and T-shirt collection are spanked with brotastic vibes. I think top right may have found its match. Marcus arrived at UNC as a highly touted blue chip recruit. Inside Lacrosse tabbed him as a top 5 incoming attackman, nothing uncommon for a Gilman School standout, but Marcus is certainly spectacular in his own right. He was a ridiculous athlete at Gilman, harassing the less fortunate on the football, basketball, and lacrosse stages. 1st Team All Metro, 1st Team All Everything, he did everything you'd want to achieve in high school, and did so on the very public Baltimore Prep scene. As he mentions below, his entire family can go low to high, and there's little doubt he will make a name for himself in the ACC and Holman home alike. Marcus works hard and plays at an exciting pace; I would recommend using whatever stick he uses (also below). 90% of Lax: How's the transition to college life? Has it been different from home? Do you guys miss anything in particular from home? Conor: The transition has been pretty difficult; at home my mom would buy extra soft toilet paper and here at UNC, they buy the "razorblade" brand. I'm almost accustomed to it. The thing I miss the most about home is my dog Griswold (despite our fight, which left me with more scars than my shoulder surgery gave me). 90% of Lax: What happened to the shoulder? Conor: I tore my labrum halfway through last season and didn't get it checked out until this summer. I know what you're thinking, and yes, I am that tough. Marcus: The transition has been easy considering I actually live 5 minutes away now. My dad is the volunteer assistant here so I get to see him everyday which is awesome. 90% of Lax: That's an interesting twist to the start of your career. I know it worked out for Danowski and some Tierney duo, but how do you feel about the close-circuited lax circus in the Holman home? Marcus: Honestly it has been such a relief to go home on Sunday for a load of laundry and a home-cooked meal. And having my dad as a coach has been a dream and we have such a great relationship, so it's working out great. 90% of Lax: You are both far from where you played in high school: why UNC? What other schools were you considering?
Marcus: I narrowed it down to UNC, Princeton, Notre Dame, and Hopkins. I just felt UNC had everything I could ever want in a college. Conor: My dad went to UNC and I have family in Durham so the decision was very simple. The school is unbelievable in every aspect, so my choice to pick UNC was basically made by the time I could visit any other schools. 90% of Lax: How has the roommate situation been for you guys? Either of you driving the other one nuts with any ridiculous habits? Marcus: Conor aka "The Sloth" has been a great bro-mate. You are probably wondering, Why is his nickname Sloth? Well sophomore Charlie McComas decided to give all the freshman animal names (mine being the lioness to my dismay), and Sloth was the only one that really stuck. He also tends to spend anywhere between 3 to 5 hours daily lying in bed with his headphones on browsing YouTube for funny videos. I guess the only bad habit would be all of his "dirty" water bottles that lie around our humble abode. Conor is gonna say that I'm on his Mac all the time and it is 100% true. My girlfriend goes to Florida so we video chat on the reg. Sloth has been very generous with his Mac-book sharing, I will admit that. 90% of Lax: Florida has a club lax team, I personally know an ex-2nd line mid-fielder. Does that make you nervous? Marcus: I actually visited last weekend for the Florida vs. Tennessee football game, and witnessed a club game going on at 9:30 on a Friday night. I'm sure those guys had an early curfew that night because lacrosse players don't really go out, so I'm not too worried. Conor: The roommate situation has been great so far; we get along pretty well. Marcus is a good roommate other than his chronic use of my Mac. Every night, circa 11:15, Marcus and his girlfriend Kitty iChat it up for a solid half-hour. I force myself to wear headphones and listen to music on full-blast so I don't have to listen to the "I love you so freakin' much" or "I miss you more than more" comments. Other than that torture, he's been a great roommate! 90% of Lax: Sounds like jealousy to me, what do you love most in this world? Conor: Qdoba. 90% of Lax: Do you guys have a video game that brings you to the brink of a fist fight? Conor: We mostly play cooperative games (i.e "Halo," "Call of Duty (Zombies)"). But when we play against each other in "Tiger Woods \`10" or "NHL \`10," I get bent over. Marcus: Believe me when I say Conor knows his place when it comes to "Tiger Woods \`10." We have been playing n00bZ recently in "Halo 3" online, and when I say that I mean me slaying the other team while Conor rides around in the Warthog just waiting to be Spartan Lasered. 90% of Lax: How do you spend your free time? Marcus: One word and three numbers: Xbox 360. Conor: I spend my free time on the "Tiger Woods \`10" golf course hoping to one day beat Marcus. Other than that I spend a majority of my time in study hall trying to do the best I can academically! Hi Mom!!!! 90% of Lax: Career goals? Majors? Conor: At a career standpoint, I want to be a shepherd. They don't have any majors here that specialize in that. 90% of Lax: Are either of you considering an early departure to declare for the MLL draft? Conor: Hahahaha, Marcus probably is. Marcus: One of the toughest questions so far. I really have no idea what I want to do when I get out of college. A dream of mine has been playing in the MLL, but I'm just taking it one day at a time and having a great experience at UNC. 90% of Lax: When did you start playing lacrosse? Where? Conor: I started playing lacrosse two days after Tee-Ball started. Marcus: I've been told at around the early age of 3 I ripped off my pacifier and threw a no look BTB into the trash can. I started playing soft-stick (the equivalent of girls lacrosse I guess you could say) for Kelly Post I think at the age of 6. 90% of Lax: What club teams did you play with during the summer months? Conor: I played for Dukes for the first two years of high school but later left that program because I loved the coaches so much, they were awesome (sarcasm)!! I later played for Headstrong lacrosse which was founded by friends of Nick Colleluori to support Nick's mission to help found a cure for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Chris Bryan, Mike Holloway and Dusty Baker were good friends of Nick's and volunteered to coach Team Headstrong once established. It was the best lacrosse experience I've had to date and strongly recommend anybody in the Philadelphia lacrosse community to get involved with Team headstrong. Check it out at HeadStrongFoundation.org.... or at least buy some Headstrong laces. Marcus: During my sophomore and junior summers I played for the Breakers, which was chock full of D-I and D-III talent. It was a blast playing with my friends from other schools and traveling the East Coast to play tough teams. This year I went to Vail with the Baltimore Crabs, which was really fun and we took home the Championship, which was great too. 90% of Lax: A championship at Vail is nothing to downplay. Personally, I find summer tournaments to be the purest means of laxual expression. How much eye black were you wearing, and if you weren't wearing any, do you regret it in Facebook retrospect? Marcus: I've always found eye black to be over the top in Summer ball, IMHO. Board shorts and flow are the way to go. Luckily I was on the field with Gilman teammate Harry Prevas out in Vail, who epitomizes the word style. 90% of Lax: That was a trick question, I concur about summer league eye-black. Practice at 7:15 a.m.: that has to be rough. How have your talents translated into the college game? Conor: I'm still recovering from surgery... we'll find out in four months. Marcus: I'm actually a morning person so it's not too rough for me. I've just been trying to grasp the offense and play as hard as I can. 90% of Lax: What's the biggest difference between college and high-school lacrosse? Marcus: Speed. Coming from the MIAA, I had great competition for four years of high school. But everything here happens a lot faster. As an attackman, the slides are faster, the checks are harder, and the goalies are better. I'm doing my best to play fast but also under control. 90% of Lax: What are your personal goals for the season? Marcus: To help the team win in anyway possible. I'm going to work to be on the field as much as I can, and have fun doing it. Conor: To be healthy. 90% of Lax: How awesome is free gear? Marcus: Coming in the first day and seeing a helmet, cleats, and sticks for you is jaw-dropping. Playing a Division-I sport at a school like North Carolina is a very rewarding feeling. 90% of Lax: UNC baby blue is the apex of fly, if you don't look good in baby blue, do you look good in anything? Conor: If you don't look good in baby blue, hit up a plastic surgeon. 90% of Lax: Aside from practice, what do you guys do to get better? Conor: You know, just get on the wall and chill there for hours. 100 left, 100 right... repeat. Marcus: I've learned that what you put in is what you get out. So if you just do the minimum requirements, don't expect maximum results. I want to be the best player I can be and I know it takes a lot of work to be successful in anything. Little things like shooting after practice and watching film of the offense are things that will help me become a better player. 90% of Lax: Now that's an answer dad can quote. What sticks do you use? Special stringing? Marcus: With the new NCAA specs rule, I've upgraded from my traditional Proton Power to the Professor by STX. To be honest, I really haven't sensed much of a difference at all. I'm a little disappointed in myself that I never had the effort to string my own twig, but someone always seems to do it well. At UNC, it's Gavin Petracca, who should be on the UNC payroll for his efforts in the stick doctor department. A little shaving cream and/or conditioner to break them in, and then I'm good to go. Conor: Lazer Highwall with the Al6000 shaft... no tape, one shooting string. My father taught me his ways. 90% of Lax: Conor, how has your injury affected your participation in fall ball? Give us your perspective on fall ball as a sidelined freshman. Conor: I can't even jog yet due to my lack of motion so I've been working the bike pretty hard most mornings. Teammates Greg McBride and Charlie McComas have been inspiring me to pedal my best. Lookout Lance. Marcus: He gets to stay up later and eat ice cream for breakfast. 90% of Lax: Marcus, you come in as a highly touted freshman. How do you cope with the expectations? Marcus: I've just tried to do the best I can and not put any pressure on myself. I have so much fun playing lacrosse and I love the game so everyday is a blessing to step on the field. Awkward pause Conor: Yea, I suck and nobody respects me... whateva'. 90% of Lax: Both of your fathers were former Division-I alpha males themselves. Talk about the family lineage. Conor: What can I say about Ward, he's such a bro and loves lacrosse more than that "Ultimate Lax Bro" loser. He taught me to shoot sidearm and underhand so that's going to be the antithesis of helpful here. 90% of Lax: Ward Steidle, the source of your existence, won a few rings and that's got to be the benchmark of awesome in your residence. Conor, what do you know about pressure? Conor: Pressure, let me think... I believe it is a force applied to a surface area, usually measured in pascals but I'm not sure. Marcus: My dad/coach Brian was a starting goalie at Johns Hopkins his sophomore through senior year and lost three national championships as a starter. Ouch, right? He stuffed me once in a married vs. singles lacrosse game in the summer and I don't know if we talked the rest of the day. But he has honestly taught me so much and I'm so thankful for his knowledge of the game. My mom also played lacrosse at Towson. She likes to think she knows the rules of boy's lacrosse. My brother Matt is a sophomore goalie at UMBC and is fighting for a starting spot there this year. And last but not least is my sister Sydney who is a freshman in high school. I will be the last to admit, but she might've gotten the best lax genes in the family, even though I taught her how to throw a BTB. 90% of Lax: Marcus, that's an impressive genetic code your parents are splicing. Did you ever throw a baseball? Marcus: Believe it or not, yes, for the Pioneers in the Roland Park Baseball League. It is my honest belief that a true lacrosse player has to experience the lameness of baseball in order to appreciate the "Creator's Game." 90% of Lax: How are the girls at UNC? Do they like the lax vibes? Conor: I wish I was a senior. The girls, even freshman, don't dig the freshman lacrosse guys. My time will come; patience is a virtue. 90% of Lax: It certainly is an uphill battle. How do you think stellar flow would influence your rejections? Conor: Trust me, these blonde locks will be making an appearance for the mild winter that approaches. Marcus: With a 60% to 40% girl-to-guy ratio at Chapel Hill, the girls here are aplenty. I would say they dig the lax vibes, just not the freshman lax vibes. It's tough to get any attention when you're in the same room with Billy Bitter or Chris Hunt. Luckily I do have a girlfriend and even though the long-distance relationship is tough, we're making it work. 90% of Lax: That's a noteworthy girlfriend plug; if you had to describe her, would you say she's a low to high crank shot or a three-quarter low and away? Does she understand the difference? Marcus: In my own words, she would be turning the corner and finishing with a dip and dunk that grazes pipe and goes in. 90% of Lax: I believe those were the very words Homer used to detail Helen of Troy. How has the team been treating the new freshmen? Have any of the guys helped you out in particular? Marcus: I can't say enough how open and supportive the upperclassmen have been. They have made the freshman not feel like shit asses ("I'm sorry... for cursing" -"Superbad") which is great for me and Conor. Even though it's just the fall I feel like we have great team chemistry. Conor: We get treated the same as everyone else. The upperclassmen have been cool. Sean Jackson has taught me how to shoot; too bad I became better then him... at his own shot. 90% of Lax: What game are you looking forward to most? Marcus: The game against UMBC could get interesting because of my brother, but honestly I'm looking forward to all of the games on our schedule, Duke and Virginia in particular. Conor: Eagles vs. Steelers. Vick is going to let his dogs out. 90% of Lax: I meant on the UNC schedule, there must be brighter lights in your future than Eagles losses. Conor: I'll be psyched for any ACC battle. The ACC is basically the NFC East of lacrosse. 90% of Lax: Would you guys prefer your sisters date lacrosse players, because they are on par with you, or non-lacrosse players, precisely because they aren't on par with you? Clearly momma Steidle and Holman liked the flow back in the day. Marcus: Let's just put it this way, if my sister's boyfriend does not know what a question mark dodge is, then there's gonna be trouble. Conor: You date my sister. 90% of Lax: I sure do Conor. I sure do. Any other funny stories you can share? Marcus: Sloth likes to sing Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." Classic style. Conor: Hahaha. Nope, none. 90% of Lax: I played Division III; does that mean you should get ice cream before me? Conor: Not when you average an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty every other game. Marcus: Ahh, I knew it was coming. Well, considering I'm an elite, sculpted, and tremendously athletic Division-I player with a vertical off the charts, I would never eat such a sugary and unhealthy food like ice cream, so you would have the luxury of going first because you guys are so different from us. But, if it was low-fat frozen yogurt, that's a different story. 90% of Lax: That's true, but I kissed MLL grass, so its catch up for you. Marcus: Well played. --- I want to thank the boys in baby blue to taking time out of their busy schedules to give me a look into the elusive world of D-I lax. These two are certainly bro-certified and I look forward to their collegiate development.