Favorite athlete: Carson Wentz
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Beating Central Bucks East in 3OT
Music on mobile device: Rap
Future plans: Study finance at Pennsylvania State University
One goal before turning 30: Have studied abroad
By Craig Ostroff
A great athlete makes his team better. An exceptional athlete elevates his teammates and makes them better as well.
Eric Diamond falls squarely into the second category.
“If you have a youth lacrosse player and you want him to look up to a high school player, Eric Diamond is the guy you want,” said North Penn boys’ lacrosse coach Rick Smith. “Eric defines the kind of student-athlete that every coach wants. You play with Eric, he’s going to make you a better player. He holds himself accountable to certain standards, and he holds his teammates to those standards as well.”
Diamond, a four-year varsity player and two-year captain, moved up to attack from midfield this season, and proceeded to set up his teammates to the tune of 37 assists (along with 12 goals).
Smith will tell you that that assist-to-goal ratio is part of what makes Diamond such a great leader and captain.
“Eric is a guy who, if you’re his teammate, you are a better lacrosse player because of it,” Smith said. “He’s going to feed you the ball and you’re going to score. A true leader is going to be the guy who doesn’t take the shot, but he’s patient and he waits for the cut and looks for the open man and assists you on goals. Eric’s all about that.”
If you ask Diamond, however, he’ll tell you that he’s simply doing what the Knights needed him to do this season.
“Reece Udinski graduated last year, and he was the quarterback of our offense,” Diamond said. “He had over 70 assists last year, so I saw that as a role someone needed to step up and fill. We have a lot of great shooters, so I felt the role of the feeder was one that suited me well. It doesn’t really matter to me whether I’m the one who scores or someone else scores. I just like getting the ball in the back of the net any way we can.”
The move to offense also served a more practical purpose for Diamond, who is still hampered by the effects of an injury and the procedure to correct it.
In November, Diamond underwent surgery to repair a torn rectus abdominis and two torn abductors. While the recovery period was expected to take about 6 weeks, Diamond said the injury didn’t quite heal the way it should have, and lasting effects can still be felt. Moving to attack cut down dramatically on the amount of running Diamond does during a game, and the discomfort is not enough to keep him off the field.
“I notice I’m not as quick and explosive as I’d like to be,” Diamond said. “It will hurt sometimes in games, but once the adrenaline is going and I’m focused on the play, it’s not in the forefront of my mind.
“The doctors said one side had been torn for almost two or three years based on the amount of scar tissue, and everything else most likely tore overcompensating for that.”
While Smith estimates that Diamond probably played the season at around 80 percent of his full capabilities, he still performed well enough to earn Second-Team All-League honors in his first season back at attack since middle school.
That follows a junior season that saw Diamond earn Second-Team All-League status as a midfielder. He was also named the recipient of the North Penn Lacrosse Coaches Award.
“The Coaches Award was a huge honor,” Diamond said. “(Assistant) coach (Kyle) Quist presented it to me. Last year was his first year with program, and I felt like he was a huge part in the success we had, so to get the award from him really meant a lot.”
His work ethic and his willingness put the team needs above his own have also cemented Diamond as a sterling example of how a leader should behave and present himself to his teammates.
“One of the greatest things about Eric is that he challenges himself,” Smith said. “He has overcome a lot this year, playing through injuries, moving up to attack. But he never stops, he knew this was his senior year and he was ready to do everything in his power to help the team win.”
Diamond’s leadership and his excellence don’t simply end when he walks off the lacrosse field. He also serves as an example of a well-rounded student-athlete who shines both on the field and in the classrooms.
Diamond ranks in the top 5 percent of the senior class of North Penn. His ACT and SAT scores are stellar, and his workload has been bolstered by numerous AP- and Honors-level classes. He was named a 2017 Commended National Merit Scholar
A member of Future Business Leaders of America for the past three years, Diamond has qualified for the Pennsylvania FBLA State Conference in 2016 and 2017. In his second trip, Diamond and his team placed fifth overall and qualified for the 2017 FBLA National Conference in Anaheim.
“Business is something that’s always really interested me, the concept of money and how it works and how businesses operate behind the scenes,” he said. “FBLA has been a great experience, not only seeing what it’s like, but it’s given me great opportunities to travel and meet kids with similar interests.”
Diamond is also very involved in giving back to his community. He volunteered at the 2017 Special Olympics, and has spent several years delivering food to needy families through the Jewish Relief Agency and serving food to the homeless via the Philadelphia Broad Street Ministry. He has also volunteered with the local Mitzvah Circle Foundation, which he notes as one of the most fulfilling volunteer work he’s done.
“Mitzvah Circle is a small organization in area, they rely almost entirely on donations,” Diamond said. “We would pack and send clothes and food and baby supplies, care packages with anything an impoverished family could need. And they include a little bio of the family while we’re preparing the care packs. It gives you a strong connection to the people we were helping.
“Giving back, that definitely comes from my parents. From when I was very young, they always preached about being thankful for where you are in life and what you have. Any opportunity I have to give back through the synagogue or through outside organizations, I like to get involved in that.”
While Diamond won’t continue his lacrosse career at the college level, the next four years at Penn State University will certainly provide him with ample opportunities to continue his volunteer work. He will be entering the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program through Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, looking toward a degree in business, though he admits that’s “not set in stone just yet. I don’t really have a super-clear picture of what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
But whatever path Diamond chooses, his coach has no doubt that it will lead to success. Because he has seen first-hand how hard Diamond is willing to work to achieve this goals, whether they’re on the lacrosse field, in the classroom, or around the community.
“My goal for all my players is to move on from North Penn, become great young men, great fathers, great parts of society, and act in a respectable, professional manner,” Smith said. “Eric is going to do great things. He’s an outstanding young man with a great family. The whole family is going to be missed.
“When Eric graduates, North Penn is losing what every coach looks for in a student-athlete—he’s a hard worker in the classroom, makes the right choices, and is proud to represent North Penn lacrosse 24/7. And Penn State is getting a kid who is going to be dedicated, who is going to work hard, and is going to be a great representative of the school.”