Standing at 6-foot-5, Aaron Valdes can be an intimidating factor in the pool.
Yes, Valdes was an All-American water polo star during his time at the high school level, but the wing forward will also pursue basketball at the collegiate level.
Valdes was cleared last week to play this season at Hawaii, getting his necessary paperwork in for this school year right before the deadline.
Prior to his commitment, Valdes had been receiving attention from Saint Mary’s, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount.
The late scramble was exactly that, but the news that Valdes can join the program as a true freshman only cost him four days of classwork. Valdes in now enrolled and set to begin his coursework at Hawaii.
The Rainbow Warriors are headed to the Big West Conference this season and under third year head coach Gib Arnold, Hawaii is hoping to make a splash early and often.
Senior Vander Joaquim will be joined down low this season by Nebraska transfer Christian Standhardinger, providing the Warriors with a presence inside.
Long Beach State won the Big West Conference Tournament a season ago, earning the league’s lone bid to the NCAA Tournament. Hawaii, on the other hand, finished 16-16 in their final season in the WAC.
Valdes is not your typical two-sport star, but his presence on the court should warrant some instant attention. The forward has a 38-inch vertical leap and his unappreciated value may pay dividends in the long run for the Warriors.
Valdes attended La Jolla Prep (CA) last season.
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