PASADENA (Jul. 17, 2019) – The Caltech men's basketball team will hope to outdo last year's 10-win season with six incoming players set to join a squad comprised entirely of underclassmen in 2018-19. The Class of 2023 will add players who can not only thrive in Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger's system, but expand it thanks to a wide array of different skill sets.
"My staff and I are very excited to get to work with this next crop of Caltech basketball players," Eslinger said. "These six individuals are unique to one another and come from winning teams and programs just as last year's class did. It has been great getting to know these young men and we are excited to help each of them maximize their potential on and off the court."
|Ben Juarez||Kyle McGraw||Chase Pagon|
|El Dorado Hills, Calif.||San Mateo, Calif.||Solana Beach, Calif.|
|Oak Ridge||The Nueva School||Santa Fe Christian|
|Jack Pierson||Pavlos Stavrinides||Richard Wang|
|Slayton, Minn.||Nicosia, Cyprus||San Jose, Calif.|
|Murray County Central||The English School of Nicosia||The Harker School|
El Dorado Hills, Calif./Oak Ridge
A three-year member of the varsity team and team captain as a senior, Juarez brings length and athleticism to the Beavers. He helped Oak Ridge to an outstanding 19 wins this past year and 48 victories over the last three seasons. Juarez also put his toughness on display as a standout lacrosse player in the spring.
"We really liked Ben when he attended our Elite Academy last year," Eslinger said. "We see him as someone who will develop into a defensive disrupter and use his athleticism in a variety of ways. He has vital length and a laser focus when it comes to being coached."
San Mateo, Calif./The Nueva School
McGraw is a three-time First Team All-League player and the North Division MVP of the Private School Athletic League. As the Nueva School's all-time leader in points, rebounds, and assists, McGraw has an all-around game with deceptive athleticism. He led his team to a perfect 14-0 record in league play as a senior and averaged 18 points, nine rebounds, and an exceptional five steals over his three years on varsity.
"With Kyle we are getting a versatile player who not only can produce in a number of ways, but a guy who is open to learning much more about the game as he grows into becoming a collegiate player," Eslinger said. "He has great hands on defense and can throw down a dunk when you least expect it."
Solana Beach, Calif./Santa Fe Christian
Pagon is a former First Team All-Coastal League selection and Full-Time Hoops All-Defensive Team honoree whose stellar defense and rebounding prowess will boost the Beavers in immediate areas of need. After transferring from Battlefield High School in Virginia where he earned all-league and all-defense recognition, he helped Santa Fe Christian to a CIF Open Division berth and later played in the San Diego County Senior All-Star Game.
"We are thrilled that Chase decided to attend Caltech," Eslinger said. "We've known him for years and he comes from two very good basketball programs and a top-notch athletics pedigree. He loves to compete and rise to the occasion, especially when assigned to guard a top opponent. Plus, he can make plays from anywhere on the court."
Slayton, Minn./Murray County Central
A three-sport athlete in high school, Pierson's competitive nature and mobility make him a great fit for the Caltech system. Armed with an ability to shoot from deep and protect the basketball, he led Murray County Central into the postseason while averaging 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists as a senior.
"Jack has a solid skill set that will enable him to play our guard spots," Eslinger said. "His experience in multiple sports provides added toughness, and he'll be determined to develop offensively and defensively."
Nicosia, Cyprus/The English School of Nicosia
Stavrinides is a true big man who won a championship with the Cyprus national team and led his high school team in scoring and rebounding. In the U18 Club Championships, he averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks per game. The international import also has some finesse to his game. During his U18 season, Stavrinides shot 79[percent from the free throw line and 49-percent on three-pointers with a season-best 37 points in one game, 17 rebounds in another and as many as eight blocks in a separate contest. He will have the opportunity to fill the middle, an area of need for the Beavers, right out of the gate.
"Pavlos is by far one of the most unique student-athletes we've had in our program," Eslinger said. "As a Cypriot, he's grown up with international basketball experience and spent time in the military. He is a legitimate center with a great feel for the game who can make a major impact on offense and defense."
San Jose, Calif./The Harker School
Known for his work ethic in the gym and reputation as a knockdown shooter, Wang comes to Caltech after a three-year varsity career at Harker. Over that span, Wang has received recognition as a NorCal Top-10 Asian-American and a NorCal Sports TV Asian-American All-Star. He is adept as a catch-and-shoot threat from the perimeter and is also a creative slasher with a nose for the basket.
"The greatest skill Richard possesses is his passion to play," Eslinger said. "The guy loves to be in the gym. He's the type of player you have to shoo out of the gym and tell him to get some food and rest because he's already been in there for five-plus hours. Richard's shooting ability and eagerness to improve in other areas will help him carve out a role on our team."