Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kyle Caldwell: 6'9 UCLA Volleyball Commit

Since printing a news excerpt on 6'9 UCLA volleyball commit Kyle Caldwell in our weekly Prep News Roundup, we've received numerous requests for more information on the Newport Harbor HS center. Below is an excellent article on Caldwell from the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot

Note: Last December, Caldwell signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at UCLA.

By David Carrillo Peñaloza
Daily Pilot

Caldwell takes licking, keeps on scoring

[reprinted with permission]


Kyle Caldwell hung on the rim, like King Kong on the Empire State Building.

He earned the right well before dunking. On his way to a record night, the 6-foot-9 Newport Harbor High center didn’t let go of the rim until those below scattered.

“I didn’t want [to get hurt],” he said. “Or hurt them.”

Caldwell already had, so many times that those Marina fans, clad in white T-shirts, could’ve made more use of their shirts by throwing them on the court.

At least they’d have a shot at an autograph from Caldwell.

Against a team that runs up and down the basketball court to shoot three-pointers, Caldwell kept up. Sure Marina hit 17 threes and Caldwell none.

But his 47 points offset whatever Marina did, as the senior set the school’s single-game scoring mark in the Sailors’ 81-71 Sunset League victory last Friday.

“I loved it,” Caldwell said of the atmosphere created by the host fans, especially the section dubbing itself “3-point Nation.”

The fans badgered Caldwell, the biggest player on the floor, who also had the biggest rebounding total (20).

Against a team with a bunch of 5-foot-9, 160-pound guards, Caldwell looked as if he were on “The Biggest Loser” with having to constantly sprint from one end to the other. Not that Caldwell needs to shed pounds. He’s a lean 220 pounds and the go-to guy at Newport Harbor (12-9, 2-3 in league).

Still, for a big man, Caldwell showed how well in shape he’s in when he broke the Sailors’ previous record of 43 points in a game set by Justin McIntee during the 1991-92 season.

“I think [what’s] pretty amazing is the fact that he takes the ball out of bounds for us, which means he’s the last guy down the court,” Newport Harbor Coach Larry Hirst said. “In an up-tempo game, that’s usually not very conducive for getting shot attempts.”

“The fact that he could get that many points without shooting any threes is a tribute to his teammates getting him the ball and him getting down the floor as many times as humanly possible in that tempo of a game.”

Caldwell isn’t one to lag behind, one reason he said he’s been nominated to play in the McDonald’s All-American game in Milwaukee on March 26. Big news for someone headed to UCLA to play volleyball.

As much as he’s talented, averaging 21.4 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, both Newport-Mesa bests, to go with 5.8 assists per game, Hirst credits Caldwell’s work ethic. For this, Hirst calls Caldwell one of his top five players in his 13 years at Newport Harbor.

The praise comes from everywhere, his peers to old-school fans who remember his late grandfather, George Yardley, a Hall of Fame basketball player, who became the first NBA player to score 2,000 points in a season in 1957-58.

Even the opposition gives Caldwell props. Esperanza Coach Jason Pietsch named Caldwell the best player in the competitive Sunset League. This after the Aztecs on Jan. 4 hammered away at Caldwell, forcing him afterward to the emergency room at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian with a gash near his left eye, a cut below his right knee and a busted lip.

“I was kind of upset about that,” said Caldwell, adding what hurt more was seeing Esperanza win the league opener, 56-46, that night. “It’s not fun. I got my eye super-glued shut. It looked OK [before the hospital visit]. But I’m glad that I did [go] because now it feels fine.

“If I would’ve left it, it still would’ve been scabbing up and it still would’ve been [susceptible to] bleeding.”

That might change tonight as Esperanza is at Newport Harbor. With the second half of league starting and the Aztecs (14-8, 4-1) in second place, this should be another battle. Caldwell said he’s ready to face the Aztecs’ big men, 6-5 Kyle Pascual and 6-6 Lloyd Birtles, again.

“It’s their game plan. They can do whatever they want. If they want to get their guys fouled out, that’s their issue,” said Caldwell, referring to Pietsch instructing Pascual and Birtles to use their five fouls on Caldwell in the last meeting. “If they’re going to play physical, you just kind of have to accept the fact that they’re going to play physical. You just got to deal with it and work around it.

“I’ll have a little chip on my shoulder just remembering last time.”

(photo credit: Daily Pilot)



At Feb 19, 2008, 6:02:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin 06 said...

BBR, I was wondering what the rules are regarding players on scholarship for another sport. It seems like Caldwell has been excellent on the basketball court and a guy his size and talent would benefit our b-ball, especially since our current big men are now going to become seniors.

At Feb 20, 2008, 12:34:00 AM, Anonymous Bare Gunner said...

Yeah, what is the chance of a little double-duty from Mr. Caldwell? Would love to see an impact two-sport star in Westwood!
BBR, you always seem to come up with the answers to our tough (many times nagging) questions... Any idea on this one? Thanks

At Feb 20, 2008, 1:02:00 AM, Anonymous XiledBruin said...

This came up when Danny Farmer played football. The details are a little hazy now, but I think that if he plays VB for two years, he can then play BB without being charged as a basketball scholarship. Before the set time, he would go against the basketball limit of 13. Maybe BBR can dig up the precise details.

At Feb 20, 2008, 3:03:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

This is our understanding as well.
Considering how the basketball program has evolved recently and with elite players leaving early each season, to have 13 scholarship players on the team's roster in any given season would be a challenge.

At Feb 20, 2008, 5:38:00 AM, Anonymous BruinGrad said...

I believe that the scholarship for a 2-sport athlete is charged against the 'bigger money' sport, when they start participating in 2 sports during the freshman year onwards. For example, if a student athlete is doing track and football, football gets charged for him. If it is Basketball and Volleyball, the hoops team gets charged for it. For an athlete doing football and hoops, football would ultimately get charged for the used scholarship.
In this kid's case, I wonder if the UCLA volleyball coaches would want him to play hoops, since the wear-and-tear on the body of the two sports would be significant, esp. given Howland's physical practices. I wonder if this kid could survive such a routine for one year, let alone four, and stay healthy?

At Apr 17, 2008, 7:18:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin66 said...

Keith Erickson was also a world-class volleyballer


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