Ian Balser Video Breakdown
- Eamon Thornton (Head Coach at the McCallie School): "Ian is a skilled, tenacious defender. He plays at top-speed every play, all day. He has a full repertoire of checks and throws them with surgical precision. He plays with great focus and tenacity both on and off the ball. He anticipates and pounces on ground balls and makes great decisions in transition where he is a significant threat to shoot or find the open man on the offensive side as well. Ian's biggest strengths are his savvy knowledge of the game and his incessant desire to make plays to help the team win. He's a we-first kind of player who cares less about his own stats and more about playing his role to make it all work, and he is always leading by example by striving to get better every day."
- Ryne Linsley (McCallie Defensive Coach 2019; Rabun Gap Head Coach 2020): "Ian excels in two areas in particular that many high school defensemen do not. First, he has an exceptionally high lacrosse IQ. That phrase, often used to well evaluate offensive players, is not as easy to highlight on the defensive end. Ian plays with great position and posture and situational awareness. In our year together at McCallie School (TN), he easily comprehended our near-man slide-fill-recover defense and its nuances as well as our multiple zone and man-down concepts. He was able to verbalize and teach the responsibilities of every player on the field! Taking Ian off the field impacted the entire unit; very similar, on a scale, to removing an Eddy Glazener. He's a second coach on the field. Secondly, his stick skills are remarkably smooth and effective as a close defenseman and a long stick midfielder. He can escape traffic on the crease after tough ground ball pickups, always with his head up looking to get the ball downfield onto the offensive end. His ability to run transition offense is a weapon! Ian is a big fan of the give and go slow break as a slick inside finisher and really loves the step-down shot as the second or third middie in on the back end of slow breaks."
- Troy Kemp (Nation United 2021 Coach/Director): "Ian has a rare combination of exceptional ability and high lacrosse IQ. He understands complex defensive sets and he plays with tremendous poise, position, posture. Balser is a coach on the defensive end of the field, and constantly is talking with his teammates. Ian's stick skills are remarkable, and his strength makes him very effective as a close defenseman and a long stick midfielder for closing out an opposing players' hands. He clears with ease and confidence, and navigates traffic and pressure after tough ground ball pickups very well. Ian always has his head up looking to get the ball downfield onto the offensive end, and his ability to push transition offense is one like no other. He can find the open man, handle the ball for a sleek inside finish, or step down with a powerful shot."
- Aidan Kelly (Nation United 2021 - Syracuse University 2025): "To say the least about Ian, he’s a smart, driven, and very talented player. His off-ball skills, IQ, and footwork are what truly make him stick out. Off the field he’s a role model to all and a personality that is like no other; his attributes as a player reflect on how great of a teammate he is and how selfless he plays."
- Donovan Rock (Nation United 2021 - United States Air Force Academy 2025): "Ian, as a lacrosse player, is a top-level talent. He is always communicating slides and where he is on the field. He is a field general, always letting everyone around him know what’s going on. Off the field, he is one of the most intellectual people I know. He keeps a conversation going and could easily entertain a group of people by himself. Whoever is lucky enough to get Ian is not only getting a fantastic lacrosse player, but they are getting someone who will bring their team together and build bonds."
- Jyasi Watson (McCallie 2020 - Hofstra University 2024): "Getting to know Ian throughout the years has been a pleasure of mine. You will quickly realize that he is the guy everyone wants to be around. He is a vocal leader on the field and demands respect with his physical play. Being a senior on our team there were often times where I would look to Ian to lead in my absence in which he rose to the occasion. He is a great friend off the field and is a true definition of a student-athlete."
- Carter Henry (McCallie 2020 - Yale University 2024): "Ian Balser is one of the most composed poles in the 2021 class. He always has a positive mindset and is willing to do the dirty work for the better of the team. Off the field, he’s an amazing student and one of the closest friends I have. All around amazing guy who will bring great energy into a locker room."
- Kofi Samuels (McCallie 2020 - Yale University 2024): "I’ve had the pleasure of being Ian’s teammate and friend for over 6 years now, and in that time he’s grown to become like a brother to me, both on and off of the field. Lacrosse-wise, Ian has always been trustworthy and consistent. I’ve always felt comfortable letting him take the reins of the defense, and no matter the system we were expected to run, he’s exceeded expectations. He’s a grinder, who’s worked painstakingly to develop his athleticism, stick-work, footwork, and knowledge of the game, and his continued passion even in the face of some nagging injuries has been an example to myself and all of our mutual teammates. All of the characteristics that make Ian a great lacrosse player make him a great teammate, friend, and brother. He’s a great communicator, detail-oriented, and has always prioritized the needs of his peers over himself. It’s been an honor to wear the same uniform as him and to stand between the pipes knowing that he has my back. His talent, work ethic, and character come together to create a wonderful human being and an elite player."
- Quinn Fitzsimmons (McCallie 2021 - Uncommitted): "On film, you can see that Ian throws dimes, makes devastating checks and is a deep-range sniper (which is why we coined the phrase “Balser Range” for any shot outside of 20 yards), but you don’t see who he is when his helmet is off. He’s genuine, caring, and knowledgeable. Oftentimes I would wander down to Balser’s room where he would educate me about anything from the New York lacrosse scene to what mesh I should use. He seeks out opportunities to uplift others and he truly wants the best for his teammates. Balser is a great lacrosse player, a better teammate, and an awesome friend, It’s too bad he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan."
- Michael May (McCallie School 2021 - Uncommitted): "Living next to Ian for a year gave me a new perspective on how I should live. I’ve never had a friend and teammate work for the betterment of the team as a whole and not just himself. Whether it’s on or off the field, Ian will fill the atmosphere with his presence."
- Jack Krisch (Rebels LC 2021 - University of Massachusetts Amherst 2025): “Ian is a great teammate both on and off the field. He’s is a very dedicated player that does his best to make sure the team succeeds. He has a very strong game IQ, throws hard and precise checks, and his passion on the field reflects who he is as a person and a teammate
- 3.5 GPA
- 3 Year Honor Student
- McCallie Headmaster’s High Honor Roll List
- McCallie Faculty Recognition List
- 5x Varsity Lacrosse Player (8th Grader on Varsity and 2020 Senior Captain)
- 4x Varsity Lacrosse Starting Defenseman
- 2x Team Leader in Ground-balls and Caused Turnovers
- 2019 All-Ivy League Team Nation United Ambassador
- Legends "Team 18" National Team Invitee
- 3x Nike Jake Reed Blue Chip Showcase invitee
- 2x FCA Pursuit Invitee
- STX D1 Rising Showcase Invitee
- Other Sports: 2x Varsity Soccer Starter 2x Varsity Squash Player 2x Captain of JV Soccer (8th and 9th Grade)
Colleges with Interest: