PASADENA, Calif. (August 4, 2016) – The Caltech men's basketball team will add seven talented freshmen to its most successful roster in history for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
The class includes:
Alec Andrews (Folsom, Calif./Folsom)
Aaron Ayres (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills)
Roshan Bal (Saratoga, Calif./Pinewood)
Ross Carter (Sudbury, Mass./The Rivers School)
Calvin Huh (Fort Lee, N.J./Bergen Tech)
Bret Johnson (Carlsbad, Calif./Santa Fe Christian)
Michael Li (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Radnor)
"This is the most talented class we've seen straight out of high school in both quantity and quality," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "All seven recruits have significant competitive experience, both in scholastic and club ball. They've been on some of the top teams in their regions and were key members of teams that advanced in respective playoffs. We fulfill a number a number of needs with the class as a whole, most importantly great balance and scoring possibilities. These guys have complementary skills and they will be able to play all over the court."
Folsom, Calif./Folsom H.S.
6-2, 165, Combo Guard
Andrews, an All-Sierra Foothill League First Team and All-Metro Honorable Mention selection, captained Folsom High School to the NorCal Championship. He has earned considerable experience playing under Coaches Mike Wall, Matt Sargeant, and Jared Waters while being named class valedictorian, a four-time Scholar Athlete and a National Hispanic Scholar.
"Alec's versatility makes him very hard to guard; he is a superb scorer and can create for others as well," Eslinger said. "His high school team was one of the top teams in the nation and he has an uncanny knack for playing in the full court and converting possessions. He is a big-time player who can make an immediate impact all around the court."
Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills H.S.
6-3, 180, Wing/Small Forward
Under Section Coach of the Year Doug D'Amore, Ayres was selected All-Section Honorable Mention as a senior. He is an AP and National Merit Commended Scholar and won the Foothills Scholar Athlete award, in addition to being named the Foothills Outstanding Senior in science and social studies.
"Throughout his high school career, Aaron adapted to different systems and roles, and those modifications are what will make him great for us," Eslinger said. "He is capable and willing to fill various needs, whether they're screening, rebounding or scoring from different spots. He has a strong and athletic body and is extremely coachable."
Saratoga, Calif./Pinewood School
6-3, 180, Wing/Small Forward
Bal enters Caltech as a two-time WBAL League champion and two-time Central Coast Section Champion, while earning an All-League Honorable Mention as a senior. Also a National Merit Semifinalist and an AP Scholar with distinction, he is a three-time National Spanish Exam medalist and National Honor Society member as well.
"After we saw Roshan play for the first time, we referred to him as the DIII Tristan Thompson for his tenacious abilities on the glass and in the paint," Eslinger said. "Roshan is athletic and strong and will be an inside/out player for us. His jump-shooting abilities and all-around presence fit very well into our system."
Sudbury, Mass./The Rivers School
6-7, 250, Power Forward/Center
Carter played AAU Basketball for the Middlesex Magic under coach Mike Crotty. He made the High Honor Roll, won the Williams Book prize and is a National Merit Scholar. He was also awarded the Kenneth F Benjamin Citizenship Award, which is given to students who lead by example, give selflessly to others and embody The Rivers School's Core Values.
"What really sticks out about Ross, along with his basketball skills and IQ, is his leadership," Eslinger said. "He is a great communicator who competes with the highest character. He can face up, have his back to the basket and run the floor. He comes from one of the best AAU programs in the nation, directed by long-time colleague and collegiate national champion Mike Crotty."
Fort Lee, N.J./Bergen Tech
6-7, 235, Power Forward/Center
A five-time All-County and All-Conference selection, two-time All-Bergen County team member and three-time All-Big North Conference Liberty Division honoree, Huh played AAU basketball for the New York Rockits and Bronx Back to the Basics under the tutelage of Coaches Ken Lee and Jermaine Lloyd. He is also a National AP Scholar and BCTHS National Honor Society chapter inductee.
"Calvin is capable of making ferocious plays, big-time blocks, scoring in a variety of ways and being an all-out presence," Eslinger said. "He has terrific footwork and poses a significant threat all around the basket. His basketball experiences in New Jersey and around NYC provide him with exceptional basketball toughness."
Carlsbad, Calif./Santa Fe Christian
5-11, 175, Combo Guard
Johnson arrives at Caltech following a very successful high school campaign, including two-time Union Tribune All-Academic Team honors, serving as captain of his Varsity team and being named MVP as a senior. He led his team in steals per game and three-point percentage while recording three double-doubles and draining a season-high eight three-pointers in a single game. An All-Tournament selection at the Horseman Automotive Tournament, he is also a member of the California Scholarship Federation, National Honor Society and received the Boston College Book Award. He is a National Merit Commended Scholar and an AP Scholar as well, in addition to serving as Co-President of the Math Club and Co-Captain of the Math Team.
"Bret can perform a number of actions on the court – shoot it from deep, create in the lane and defend very aggressively," Eslinger said. "He's able to pick up full court and run the offense from either guard spot. He can adapt to whatever system he is in and really loves being in the gym. He seeks out competition and thrives on challenges."
Bryn Mawr, Pa./Radnor High School
5-9, 165, Point Guard
Li served as captain and was named Defensive Player of the Year all four years at Radnor High School, where he also earned All-Delco Honorable Mention honors twice, an All-Main Honorable Mention and the Radnor Toughness Award while leading the squad to its second PIAA AAAA District Tournament berth in school history. An AP Scholar with Distinction, Distinguished Honor Roll recipient and Radnor Student Ambassador, he also captained his Physics Olympics team, served as the Orchestra Treasurer and qualified for the FBLA SLC in Cyber Security and Computer Problem Solving.
"Mike is a true point guard who looks to get others involved and can keep the defense guessing," Eslinger said. "Mike can really get into opponents and play full-court defense with great intensity. He is a basketball junkie and brings a tough Philly sense to the court. We needed another backcourt player with a keen sense for the game and impactful skills."
This incoming group joins a squad which posted a program record for SCIAC wins and loses just one regular contributor while returning six others who averaged over 15 minutes per game, including rising senior and Second Team All-SCIAC selection Nasser Al-Rayes (Doha, Qatar / American School of Doha). The Beavers spent 22 days atop the SCIAC standings and just missed out on their first-ever berth in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament by one game while setting program records for points, rebounds and blocks in a season.