The next great? JoJo Marasco and the power of No. 22

Though he is only a sophomore, SU's JoJo Marasco has shown that he is one of the top college lacrosse players in the country. As a tribute to his talent, he was allowed to wear the No. 22 this season – a hallowed number at Syracuse University.

CORRECTION: The NewsHouse incorrectly stated that former Syracuse lacrosse player Mike Leveille was among players who wore No. 22. Leveille actually wore No. 19. We have removed that reference from the following article and apologize for the error.

Photo: Alyssa Stone
JoJo Marasco (22) works for a goal against Army earlier this year in the Carrier Dome. The Orange avenged a loss to the Black Knights in last year's NCAA tournament.

The No. 22 has had a long-standing legacy throughout the history of the Syracuse University men’s lacrosse team. Every SU player who has worn the hallowed number has left a unique mark on the lacrosse program.

The impressive history of the No. 22 began in 1987 when SU great Gary Gait sported the number. Since then, the number has been given to the player who is expected to be the team’s best overall player or the player who is expected to have the biggest effect on the program's future. It is a privilege to become a member of this prestigious fraternity, and given the history of the Syracuse lacrosse program, it means that each member is expected to be one of the most elite players at the collegiate level.

The newest player selected to join this fraternity and sport the No. 22 is sophomore JoJo Marasco. The attackman has already been named a preseason All-American honorable mention, even though he missed a third of the 2010 season with a stress fracture in his shin. So far this season, the sophomore is living up to the hype.

Marasco came to SU with some pretty lofty credentials and expectations. In high school, he was ranked fifth overall and second among attackmen in the Class of 2009 by Inside Lacrosse, and was an immediate contributor on the field for the Orange as a freshman. He saw action in ten games and finished as the team’s top scoring freshman with 17 points.

Morasco will be the first player to don the No. 22 as a sophomore since Mike Leveille who wore the number during his entire four year tenure starting in 2005.

“It’s a great honor. I spoke to some of the guys like Gary Gait and the Powell’s, so it’s a huge honor to finally get the opportunity to wear it,” Marasco said. “You look up to those guys ever since you were little and now to be wearing that number that they wore is a really awesome and great feeling.”

Marasco also acknowledged that the honor of wearing the number comes with some added pressure. He said he has sought out advice from former players in his position to see how to deal with the high expectations that come along with the number.

“I talked to Casey Powell about it and he told me it’s your number, take advantage of it and to continue to be the type of player you are,” Morasco said.

Fully recovered from his shin injury, Marasco is one of the Orange’s main attackmen/midfielders. He will be looked upon to fill the void left by Chris Daniello who scored 53 points last year. Being a sophomore, he still has some work to do to reach the immortal status of the players who have worn the number before him.

However, he has already become a vocal leader on a team full of experienced seniors. Personally, Marasco said his most important goal is to win championships and let his play do the talking. No doubt, No. 22 will have plenty of opportunities to do that this season.

Elite company

Below is a look at SU alum who have worn No. 22:

Gary Gait (1987-90)

Gait was named an All-American by the USILA four times, three times as a First Team selection and once as an Honorable Mention. He graduated as SU's all-time goal leader with 192 career goals. He led the Orange to three NCAA Championships and was named the NCAA Player of the Year in 1988 and 1990 and the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament in 1990.

Along with his twin brother Paul, who also played for the Orange, Gait is widely known for popularizing innovative moves such as behind-the-back passes and shots, and the "Air Gait."  This was an acrobatic scoring move where he would jump from behind the goal crease and score a goal in mid-air by dunking the ball over the top goal crossbar before landing on the opposite side of the crease. The NCAA would later ban the move because it was too hard for goalkeepers to defend. 

Charlie Lockwood (1991-94)

Lockwood played midfield and was a four-time All American, as he made the third team his freshman season, the first team his sophomore season, and the second team his junior and senior seasons. In the 1993 National Championship, Syracuse was tied with North Carolina 12-12 as time was running down. With eight seconds remaining Lockwood fed an assist to Matt Riter who scored the game winning. The lacrosse team would go 50-9 in the four seasons Lockwood was on the team.

Casey Powell (1995-98)

Powell was a three-time first-team All-American attackman and midfielder, and helped Syracuse win the 1995 NCAA National Championship. He was named Division I Most Outstanding Player two years in a row (1997, 1998), Division I National Attackman of the Year (1998), Division I National Midfielder of the Year (1996), and is a four-time NCAA All-Tournament team member (1995-98).

Ryan Powell  (1997-00)

Powell earned All-America honors four times (1997-00) and was a member of the 2000 National Championship squad. He is tied for second on the Orange's career points list with his brother (Casey)at  287.

Mikey Powell (2001-04)

Mikey Powell is arguably not only the best player to ever come through the SU program, but the best to play collegiate lacrosse. He became the first player in Syracuse history to be named a First Team All-American as a freshman. He was also awarded the Jack Turnbull Award as the nation's top attackman as a freshman. As a sophomore, Powell led Syracuse to a National Championship and he was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player and won his first Tewaaraton Trophy (the nation’s top player).

As a senior, Powell led the Orange to their ninth NCAA championship. He won his second Tewaaraton Trophy and became only the fourth player ever to be selected as a First Team All-American four times. He finished his career at SU as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 307 points, which is also ties him for fourth all-time in NCAA history.

Dan Hardy (2006-09)

Hardy was a four-year starter for SU and a four-time All-American, being named an honorable mention all four years. He led the Orange to two National Championships during his time at SU, and was named to the 2008 NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team after finishing second on the team in scoring (13 points) and goals (8) in the postseason.

Cody Jamieson (2009-10)

Jamieson played two seasons at SU after transferring from Onondaga Community College. He was not eligible to play until the last few games of the 2009 season, however, Jamieson was in full form by the time the NCAA tournament began. He was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team after scoring 11 points in the postseason. In sudden death overtime of the championship game, Jamieson scored the game-winning goal to give Syracuse their second national championship in a row. Jamieson was named an All-American Honorable Mention during his senior season.


Mike Leveille error

We made the correction in our article. Thanks for pointing that out to us so that we could get that taken care of!

Mike Leveille

Never wore #22. He wore #19 like his brother at UMASS. 

I believe the number was vacant for at least a season before Dan Hardy took the number his freshman year. 

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