Wichita Falls defenseman Rounds makes NCAA DI commitment
April 5, 2016
Ladder of Development: Three full seasons in the NAPHL, followed by a tremendous rookie season this year in the NAHL, led Michael Rounds to a NCAA Division I commitment to Ohio State.
By Alex von Keudell, Wichita Falls Wildcats
The Wichita Falls Wildcats, proud members of the NAHL, are pleased to announce that defenseman Michael Rounds has committed to play NCAA Division I NCAA hockey at The Ohio State University of the Big Ten Conference. He will begin his college hockey career at the start of the 2017-18 season.
“I wanted to play for a school that really wanted me,” Rounds said. “Ohio State is a school that will develop me, not only as a player, but as a person. I was also really comfortable with their coaching staff; their coaches are amazing.”
Rounds became the fifth player in Wildcats history to commit to Ohio State and the first in over five years, following in the footsteps of Tyler Lundey, Jeff McNeil, Sean Juddy, and Cal Heeter, who played in the NHL briefly with the Philadelphia Flyers. R.J. Umberger, a current Flyer, was also a Buckeye, along with several other notable NHLers, like defenseman Matt Bartkowski and veteran center Ryan Kesler.
Round recently played in the 2016 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the South Division team and was +2 in two wins at the event, which Ohio State attended.
“We’re very excited for Michael in becoming a Buckeye,” Wildcats Head Coach John LaFontaine said. “His work ethic, character, and commitment are second to none. He has a very promising future with the Buckeyes program.”
At just 18, Rounds is the fourth youngest player on the Wildcats and the second youngest defenseman after Rourke Russell. He spent three seasons affiliated with the NAHL prior to moving to Wichita Falls, scoring 29 points in 63 games played with the Lansing Capitals of the NAPHL in his home state of Michigan. Rounds played in the NAPHL beginning as a Bantam in 2011-12 and finished in 2014-15 playing in the 18U Division. During his time in the NAPHL, he played in the 2016 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game and the 2015 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournment.
He will play one more year of junior hockey before becoming a Buckeye, prompting the possibility of a return to Wichita Falls next season.
Rounds advanced through the Wildcats’ ranks incredibly quickly to start this season, impressing the coaching staff as a very smooth-skating defenseman who has shown an aptitude for getting his shots through traffic from the blue line. The results have been indicative, as Rounds leads all rookie defensemen with seven goals this season. He is third among all Wildcat defensemen with 20 points on the campaign and boasts a +21 rating through 53 games played.