Mac O’Keefe signs two-year deal with Archers LC
Mac O’Keefe has signed a two-year contract with Archers LC. The sixth overall pick in the 2021 College Draft is reuniting with his Penn State linemate, Grant Ament.
“The opportunity to play with Grant again was always intriguing for me,” said O’Keefe. “I think he knows what I’m going to do on the field more than anybody.”
O’Keefe scored more goals (213) in his college career than anyone in DI history. Ament was on the feeding end of many of those. Defenses would throw the kitchen sink at Ament's razor pick, playing every coverage imaginable above the cage to contain O'Keefe. They still lost him. Archers LC head coach and general manager Chris Bates is eager to incorporate some of those Penn State sets. In the meantime O'Keefe fits into what the Archers already do -- both as a shooter and a picker.
From his signature low release point, O’Keefe can spray to any corner of the cage. His mechanics are consistent, making his placement unpredictable.
Four @MacOKeefe3 shots. Four similar releases. Four different placements. pic.twitter.com/nczjhRNqvQ— Joe (BC WLAX 3-2) Keegan (@joekeegs) March 8, 2023
“He’s a premier stretch shooter, which is something you can’t teach,” said Bates. “Any time his stick is free, he’s a dangerous scoring threat.”
During his first two season with Chaos LC, O’Keefe ran out of the box as a midfielder. He made up one-half of the league’s most dangerous pick-and-roll combo with Josh Byrne. Bates sees him in a similar role alongside Connor Fields or Ryan Ambler on the lefty side of the Archers’ twins set. And he anticipates O’Keefe carrying the ball more often.
“If you look at our game against Chaos last year, he manufactured a goal just by being aggressive with the ball in his stick. If he gets a shorty on him, our hope is that he’s going to continue to develop on-ball, too,” said Bates. “I think he’s just scratching the surface.”
Bates plans to expand O'Keefe's skillset. Not into a right-handed player, he joked. But into more of a dodger -- someone who makes defenses think twice about locking off adjacents to invite isolations.
In 2022, O’Keefe only had 19.9 touches per game (48th in PLL) and 3.0 shots per game (58th in PLL) according to Champion Data. Both of those numbers could nearly double in 2023. The Archers lost a combined 69.8 touches and 11.1 shots per game this week when Will Manny signed with Whipsnakes LC and Marcus Holman signed with Cannons LC. Most of those will go to O’Keefe.
The Archers aren’t done in free agency. This club has had Championship aspirations since 2019. That won’t change in 2023. Bates has built a strong young core: Tom Schreiber, Fields, Ament, Latrell Harris, Graeme Hossack, Jared Conners, Jon Robbins, and Brett Dobson are all locked up through 2024. Some younger players will need to step up – on the field and in the locker room – in Holman and Manny’s absence.