Film Study: What Makes Tucker Dordevic So Special
By Adam Lamberti | Jun 6, 2023
When the Whipsnakes selected Tucker Dordevic sixth overall, Paul Carcaterra referred to Dordevic as a “unicorn” in creating his own offense and shot.
Dordevic lived up to the unicorn moniker with a team-high 13 shots in his pro debut. His ability to get his hands free is something that can’t be coached; shot selection and decision-making can be.
“I want Tucker to shoot when it’s the appropriate shot to take,” said Whipsnakes LC head coach and general manager Jim Stagnitta. “Out of those 13, I probably have a problem with three or four of those. And we talked about it. Part of that is not necessarily the shot, but how he shoots it. It’s a little bit different level here.”
“Shot selection is something that all young guys gotta get used to. He came back and stuck that one down the alley left-handed to tie up the game late. He’s going to be a really good player and he’s going to learn as we go.”
Both of Dordevic’s goals were perfectly-placed, left-handed, on-the-run looks. With his talent and Stagnitta’s oversight, Dordevic’s future is bright. Let’s look at six traits that make him a special prospect.
Change of Direction & Explosiveness
Roll the tape, and you’ll see pretty quickly that Dordevic can get his hands free at will. When he puts his foot in the ground, there is zero wasted movement. Dordevic also dodges full speed, so the suddenness of the change of direction leaves his defender guessing where he’ll go.
While the freshman Dordevic was already lighting up the ACC before this game, to score this goal in the ACC Semifinal on ESPNU cemented Dordevic as one of college lacrosse’s rising superstars. Sprinting into his dodge, Dordevic brings his left hand across to sell the underneath move only to plant hard with his left foot and come topside. He absolutely dusts his defender and releases a rocket. This is one of those moves that kids try to replicate in their backyard for weeks.
There are so many clips to choose from to showcase Dordevic’s change of direction and explosiveness, but I like this one because it focuses on Dordevic’s footwork. Charging hard to his left, Dordevic only needs two steps to get out of his roll and then two more to set his feet to shoot. There’s zero wasted movement, and his defender simply can’t keep up.
Dordevic started his college career as a midfielder and moved to attack his final two years. He will be a midfielder for the Whipsnakes this season, but the experience dodging down low has only helped his game.
Dordevic impressed in his first game as a Hoya, particularly for his ability to use his upper body strength to gain leverage and snap shots off of a defender. Usually relying on his elite quickness and athleticism to get open looks, this type of goal is promising for Dordevic as a prospect because he is showing growth in his game.
This goal just shows how many places Dordevic can dodge and how many ways he can score. Dordevic floats up top awaiting his turn to dodge and then goes hard to the rack. Not knowing where Dordevic will attack from is a nightmare for defenders and tough to scout against.
Not only playing attack for two years, he played left-handed attack for Syracuse in 2022 which helped him improve his off-hand.
Set up on the left side during a slow break, Dordevic hitches to his left and puts a missile past the goalie.
Like he scored in his first career game, left-handed sweeps and alley dodges have always been a part of Dordevic’s game, dating back to this NCAA First Round game versus Cornell his freshman year. He’s not only capable, but willing to go to his left if given.
This was an area of Dordevic's game that I hadn’t seen prior to this year. Not only is he cutting to score, but he consistently sets himself up in space where he can dodge and attack. While it’s not always obvious, Dordevic constantly keeps moving in the flow of the offense, which is essential to the Whipsnakes' style of play.
Don’t think any words are necessary for these two plays.
Dordevic having the ball in his stick as a freshman with the game on the line against an ACC foe while dodging a pole is all you need to know about Dordevic’s confidence.
In what I think is Dordevic’s only overtime winner in his college career, from the moment he catches the ball you know he’ll make a play. Using his unguardable left-to-right rollback, he shoots right off the defender's hip, which screens the goalie and ends the game.