Carolina Chaos rookie Shane Knobloch

How Shane Knobloch can open up his game after quiet start for Chaos

By Hayden Lewis | Jun 14, 2024

When Carolina Chaos head coach and general manager Andy Towers selected Shane Knobloch fourth overall in the 2024 College Draft, he was elated. Towers told the league he got his guy. 

However, two weeks and three games into the season, Knobloch has struggled to find the explosive offensive game that made him a first-round pick. Knobloch has recorded two goals on 11 shots and hasn’t provided any assists. 

The 2-1 Chaos haven’t needed to rely on Knobloch early this season, but if the rookie can drive his game out of its mini hibernation, Carolina can explode on offense. 

Knobloch plays his best lacrosse when he has the opportunity to be a high-volume shooter. During Knobloch’s collegiate tenure with Rutgers, he averaged more than six shots per game over four seasons and tallied more than eight per game his senior year. 

Knobloch’s average was that high because he was the only midfielder on his team who could consistently create offense for himself off the dodge. Averaging 3.7 shots per game in the PLL, Knobloch isn’t playing the same style of lacrosse that led to his collegiate success. 

During a training camp press conference, Knobloch alluded to better goalies as one of the biggest changes in professional lacrosse that he needed to adjust to. 

Knobloch's shooting percentage in college was 26.1%. So far in the pros, it sits at 18%. 

Like a golfer with the yips around the green, a small change in a shooter's mindset can throw off their game. Knobloch isn’t playing with less confidence, but he’s straying away from the lacrosse that led him to success. 

Simply put, I think Shane Knobloch needs to be more selfish. 

Knobloch has passed up looks he would’ve taken in college because he’s trying to mesh into a new system. 

In college, Knobloch used his touches to dodge down the alleys and create offense for himself. The defenses in the PLL are monsters compared to an average college defense, making it harder for Knobloch to get the same looks. But he is finding windows in defenses. 

The issue is Knobloch hasn’t attacked the windows he’s created with the same conviction. In college, Knobloch was the system of his team’s offense; now he’s playing on a Chaos team that functions off high-quality scoring opportunities from great passing.

The new style has resulted in a more reserved Knobloch. He is playing excellent team lacrosse but has lost parts of the high-speed shot-creating game from before. 

Knobloch has averaged 26 touches this season, and a majority of those are used for passing. He averages 21.3 passes a game, meaning he only has about five touches per game to use on himself. 

With that being the case, Knobloch has to maximize each touch he has, or he needs to demand more. 

Knobloch is tied for the team lead in touches (79) with Josh Byrne and has 29 more than any other Carolina midfielder. Moving forward, the team as a whole needs to spin the rock to get more players involved because it will allow players who handle a higher load to make more of an impact with their touches. 

Knobloch needs to average 15-20 more touches per game than any other midfielder to bring out his full game. That gap currently is less than 10.  

Against the New York Atlas last Saturday, Knobloch saw his touches jump to 35. The Chaos as a team had their fewest number of touches (216) against the Atlas. The inflated numbers for Knobloch may have come because it was the second game of the weekend and his young legs still felt fresh. 

Nonetheless, Knobloch needs to strive for that tally each game.

Knobloch’s confidence exudes more as his touches increase, and his flashy offensive game starts to show up. Ahead of this Saturday’s matchup with the Utah Archers, the fourth overall draft pick needs to be ready to shoulder a heavier load to get his game back on track.

Veteran Chaos midfielder Sergio Perkovic is out this week due to injury, with rookie Eric Dobson set to replace him. Dobson is a larger dodging threat than Perkovic, so his presence in the lineup could lead to Knobloch having more opportunities to dodge against short sticks. 

Coach Towers loves it when his players play with confidence and swagger. Right now, Knobloch is playing with confidence. Unlocking the swagger can be the catalyst for a major offensive breakout.