Cam Badour Duke University Lacrosse Greely

Cam Badour turned 16 on Monday. Four days prior, he committed to play lacrosse at Duke University in 2017. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

As a men's university lacrosse powerhouse, the Duke Blue Devils have the inside track on many of the top young lacrosse players across North America.

And they've chosen a 16-year-old from rural south Ottawa to play for them, just the second Canadian in their 76-year history.

Greely's Cam Badour said he found out Duke was interested when he got a business card during a recent showcase.

He gave them a call, went to their North Carolina campus on Thursday for a tour and wound up verbally committing to play for their team in 2017.

"(The coach) sat down and said 'OK here's the deal, we'd love to have you as a part of Duke lacrosse, be a Blue Devil,'" Badour said.

"My face lit up and I just said 'Mom, come on let's do this!'"

Badour said he feels blessed and excited to play for a team he's watched for years and is considered the best college team in North America right now.

"I can't really comprehend this, it's just a dream come true," he said.

Zack Greer, the only other Canadian to play for Duke's men's lacrosse team, played from 2005 to 2008.

Growth spurt plays part in choosing lacrosse

Badour split his time between playing hockey and lacrosse until this past fall, when he decided to focus on lacrosse full-time.

"My dad's friend had a really hard time getting a scholarship with hockey and he's a way better hockey player than I was," he said.

A growth spurt from 5'10" to 6'4" didn't hurt him in the eyes of the scouts either, as interest started to build in the spring.

Jay Fox, who co-founded the Ottawa Capitals lacrosse team where Badour now plays, said he "dominates" competition among his peers in field lacrosse, which is played outdoors.

"College coaches are looking for three things: size, speed and skill," Fox said.

"Cam is lightning fast, he's 6'4", he can finish with the best of them. He scores a lot of goals and sets up a lot of plays."

Fox said Badour's game can be compared, cross-sport, to Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos — but with plenty of grit, as he tied for the team lead in penalty minutes his last hockey season.

"Inside Lacrosse, which is a U.S. publication that follows all lacrosse in North America but also has a great focus on high school lacrosse, one of their lead reporters referred to Cam as the best finisher at the Maverik Showtime (showcase)," Fox said.

"Those are the best 200 kids in North America and they considered Cam to be the best goal-scorer there."

Future business student

A verbal commitment to a NCAA school often comes before student-athletes sign their letters of intent when they're in Grade 12.

Duke University officials said their coaches couldn't talk about Cam until that letter is signed.

Badour said he's interested in playing professionally after his university career ends.

He's going to be studying business at Duke and said another of his goals is to work in finance at a Fortune 500 company.