Men's Lacrosse Player Cam Lee Arrested
The Dartmouth College men's lacrosse team celebrated one of its biggest victories in years last spring after freshman Cam Lee (9) scored the winning goal against No. 9 Princeton. Lee, however, has had a troubled year and a half on the college's campus. (Valley News File Photo - Tris Wykes)
Dartmouth College lacrosse player Cam Lee. (Courtesy of Dartmouth Sports Information)
A disappointing 2013 continued for the Dartmouth College men’s lacrosse team last week when sophomore standout Cam Lee was arrested by Hanover police.
Lee, 20, was charged with creating a false fire alarm and simple assault on Nov. 5. Fifth-year coach Andy Towers, facing a critical 2014 season, wrote in a Thursday email that Lee remains on the team while the case is pending. He declined further comment Friday and Lee declined a Friday request for an interview made through an athletic department representative.
Towers is 18-51 with the Big Green and 5-19 in the Ivy League, which may be the country’s toughest conference in men's lacrosse. He badly needs Lee to turn the program around, but the Cold Spring, N.Y., product hasn’t shown many public signs of stepping up during his time in Hanover.
Last spring, Lee and some teammates were suspended for several games after violating team rules during the team’s trip to Dallas to play Georgetown. Lee and a few other players were then removed from the team late in the season after another violation, but they were reinstated by the start of the current academic year.
Lee scored two goals and had an assist in Dartmouth’s first game last season, a loss to No. 10 Colgate. He also scored the winning goal in a huge upset of No. 9 Princeton later in the season and although he played in only eight games, finished with seven goals and two assists.
At 6-feet-4 and 205 pounds, Lee is a breathtaking athlete, the kind of talent Dartmouth men's lacrosse rarely lands. He originally bypassed entreaties from Georgetown, Ohio State, Navy and Dartmouth and, as a high school junior, committed to Duke. Under eighth-year coach John Danowski, the Blue Devils have gone 111-29 with two national titles and won 80 percent of their games.
“My decision was based upon the the renowned academics, the professionalism and integrity of the coaches, and the opportunity to compete for a national championship,” Lee told insidelacrosse.com in 2009. “Duke’s fast-paced style of play suits me well. Coach Danowski not only lived up to all the wonderful things I have heard about him but surpassed all my expectations. I am very blessed to have this opportunity.”
Why in the world would a recruit later turn down such a program to come to a lacrosse backwater like Dartmouth? Lee wasn’t saying last spring when I asked him, but he emphasized it was his decision, not that of the Duke coaching staff. After a postgraduate year at Deerfield (Mass.) Academy, he landed in Hanover, where his ride has been anything but smooth.
I remember watching Lee in that Colgate game last February and thinking I was looking at a future All-Ivy player. But as I watched more of him throughout the spring, I wondered what was going on with No. 9.
Many players trash talk, but Lee often seemed to take it too far, especially for someone with a handful of college games under his belt. He would take little cheap shots here and there at opponents, often when coming through the midfield substitution box, where no one expects to be hit.
This behavior came to a head against visiting Hartford, when 6-foot-6 defenseman Nick Ceme finally had enough and dropped his stick to challenge Lee to a sideline fist fight. Lee slunk back amidst his teammates near the Big Green bench.
Towers wouldn’t have brought Lee to campus if he didn’t believe in him and he defended the player vigorously when we had a casual conversation about him this summer. But if Lee’s third strike is judged enough of a problem to remove him from the team permanently, Dartmouth loses a game-changer and that certainly doesn't help Towers keep his job.