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Nick Dupuis looks to go from undesirable to undeniable at Stony Brook

Attackman Nick Dupuis looks to pass the ball from the X in practice on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Dupuis will return to the field with the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team this year after missing a year and a half. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

After missing the better part of the last two seasons, attackman Nick Dupuis will look to turn his career around with a fresh start for the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team.

Coming off a season in which the Seawolves scored the second-most goals in the Colonial — now Coastal — Athletic Association (CAA), Dupuis will be an added luxury in an already dangerous offense. Though things are looking up for the fifth-year player in 2024, his collegiate career has not been the most fruitful to this point.

Dupuis started his college career at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he was the first attackman off the bench as a freshman in 2020. In what wound up being the final game of his freshman season, he scored a pair of goals to enter the offseason trending upwards. In his second year, he built on that strong final game and became a powerhouse, scoring 39 points with 23 goals and 16 assists.

Dupuis’ performance earned him a spot on the 2021 All-America East Conference First Team as well as the All-Rookie Team. However, that was as good as it has gotten for Dupuis at the NCAA Division I level.

In 2022, some self-inflicted wounds sent his career into a bit of a spiral.

“I had some struggles, both academically and kind of some off the field stuff going on,” Dupuis said in an interview with The Statesman. “Our coaching staff kind of put their hand down in terms of me breaking some team rules and whatnot. It led to them not giving me as much playing time.”

Dupuis’ off-the-field issues all but cost him his junior year, appearing in only four games in the entire 2022 season without any starts. He was productive in his limited playing time, tallying eight points on six goals and two assists, but his ability was never the issue.

Due to the friction between Dupuis and his coaches, it became clear to both sides that they were not a fit for one another. Following the fifth game of the 2022 season, UMBC head coach Ryan Moran gave Dupuis news that would alter the trajectory of his career.

“We came back and Coach Moran brought me in and kind of just told me they’re going to move on from me which was a really, really big letdown for me,” Dupuis said. “I was kind of hoping they could just wait until the end of the year, but everything happens for a reason.”

Dupuis had no choice but to enter the transfer portal at the end of the season, and he was quick to get a bite. Stony Brook head coach Anthony Gilardi reached out right away, and it was not the first time the two had spoken.

When Dupuis was in high school at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School (SSSAS) in Alexandria, Va., Gilardi was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Towson University. Gilardi offered Dupuis a spot on the team, but he had to turn down the opportunity due to financial reasons.

Towson was one of many schools to give Dupuis a shot, and for good reason. Despite being a relative unknown as a freshman at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, it was when he transferred to SSSAS during his sophomore year that he would start receiving some real recognition.

Despite being the new kid on the block, Dupuis’ talent on the field helped him fit right in. He was a key contributor right away, helping SSSAS win the state championship in 2017.

Making the switch from a public to a private school, Dupuis quickly realized that his new setting could mean big things for his future.

“A lot of guys on the team, the seniors were all committed to go somewhere to play in college,” Dupuis said. “That’s really when I knew that school really produces Division I lacrosse players. The lessons that those coaches taught me and those players taught me really prepared me for the next level.”

With a newfound desire to play at the Division I level, it was Dupuis’ play in the summer for his travel team — Blackwolf Lacrosse — that really drew the attention of college recruiters. It was while Dupuis was playing for Blackwolf that he got paid a visit by Moran and received an offer to play at UMBC, one that he jumped on in the fall of 2017.

Dupuis did not slow down after making his commitment, bringing SSSAS to a second-straight state championship appearance in 2018. Despite falling short of a title, he and his team returned the next year with a vengeance. Dupuis led his team back to the promised land and won his second Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association title.

Being a captain for the second championship team, Dupuis learned valuable lessons on how to give guidance on and off the field.

“Being a captain on that team really taught me what it was like to be a leader,” Dupuis said. “We had a lot of really talented young guys … having them look up to me, asking me for help and advice is something I’ll never forget.”

Three years later, with the UMBC bridge burnt and a pre-existing relationship with Gilardi already formed, Dupuis took his talents to Long Island for the 2023 season. Being part of a star-studded transfer class that included attackmen Jonathan Huber and Blake Behlen, Dupuis’ off-the-field struggles came back to haunt him yet again.

Upon coming to Stony Brook, Dupuis was three credits short of being eligible to compete, rendering him academically ineligible. Gilardi assured him that there were waivers that could be passed that would allow him to play, but the NCAA denied all of them, sidelining him for the entire 2023.

Being deemed ineligible to play last year was disappointing for Dupuis, but he has used it as a lesson to stay focused in the classroom.

“Being out last year was a huge bummer, not being able to play, especially because, in my mind, I was going to play,” Dupuis said. “Since then, I’ve really been on top of my school work. I’ve really improved my overall GPA.”

Dupuis has not played in a college lacrosse game since March 11, 2022. He will finally have a chance to revive his career in 2024 with the Seawolves where he is set to contribute on the attack alongside Behlen and superstar Dylan Pallonetti.

Dupuis’ dynamic skill set as both a scorer and facilitator should lift Stony Brook’s offense to great heights. His addition to the offense comes at a great time after the graduations of both Huber and midfielder Matt Anderson.

“He’s a great teammate, he takes more pride in setting his teammates up than when he scores goals, but he is fully capable of scoring goals,” Gilardi said. “We see him as kind of being the quarterback of the offense behind the cage, and he’s done a really tremendous job this year for us so far.”

With an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong, hopes are high that Dupuis’ career will not be just another “what if” story.

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About the Contributor
Kenny Spurrell, Assistant Sports Editor
Kenny Spurrell is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a senior English major and journalism minor at Stony Brook University. He began covering sports for The Statesman during the Fall 2021 semester. Since then, he has covered men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse and football. His passion for sports derives from his many years of playing basketball, football and baseball. He is a Long Island native from Selden, N.Y. and has dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
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