LOS ANGELES -- UCLA head men's water polo coach Adam Wright announced the signing of three highly-rated prep standouts to national letters of intent to join the Bruins for the 2014 season.
The class consists of Alex Roelse (Maarssen, Netherlands), Kent Inoue (Huntington Beach, Calif./Mater Dei HS) and Corbett Kruse (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola HS). The three newcomers will enter UCLA in the fall of 2014 as freshmen and will become members of the 2014 men's water polo team.
Roelse, a 6-foot7-inch, 225-pound utility out of Maarssen, Netherlands, is just 18 years old, but has already trained and competed with the Netherlands' National Team for three years. He started playing the sport in 2006 and since 2009, he has been consistently selected for and competed internationally with Dutch National Youth Teams, usually one or two age groups up from his actual age. He is currently the youngest player (by two years) on the Dutch National Team. A frequent scorer, he mostly plays on left wing positions (4 and 5) where he can make best use of his swimming speed, but he is also a regular at the center/defender position (3). He started training with the Dutch National Youth Team in 2008. In 2010, he led the Dutch Junior Team to a first place finish at a tournament in Lviv, Ukraine. He was selected to participate in the Netherlands' National Training Center on a full-time basis in February of 2012. He made his Senior National Team debut in November of 2013, helping the Dutch place second at an international tournament in Gzira, Malta. He recently (Feb. 2014) competed with the Senior National Team in the European Championship Qualification games against Russia.
While participating in regional youth training programs, he won four national championship titles in five seasons, mostly coached by Laszlo Boros (Hungary). He first started playing club ball with UZSC (Utrecht, Netherlands) in 2006 and won two national championships with UZSC in the same year, playing on the U15 and U17 teams in 2010. He has been playing club ball for Widex GZC Donk (Gouda, Netherlands) since June of 2011. Widex GZC Donk is one of the top clubs in the Netherlands and competes at the highest level in the Dutch competitions. He guided WGZCD to a U17 national championship in June of 2012.
"Alex was the last piece of the puzzle that we got to come on board," Wright said. "I had an opportunity to see him play last summer. I had heard a lot of great things about him. I knew he was a big kid, but when I was out in Europe watching him play, I was surprised at how fast he could swim. He is very very fast in the transition game. He comes from a swimming background and I truly believe that he is somebody that can create opportunity in moments where a team is struggling. He can create shots for himself and is an all-around player. He has a great outside shot, is a solid defender, and can also play at center. But what excites me most about him is the impact that he is going to have on this group."
Inoue, a 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound attacker out of Huntington Beach, Calif. (Mater Dei HS), was a four-year varsity letterwinner (2010-13) for the Monarchs' water polo team for Head Coach Chris Segesman and a three-year (2011-13) letterwinner in swimming under Head Coach Ken Dory. Registered 64 goals, 27 assists and 18 steals as a senior in 2013 while being named first team All-CIF, first team All-Trinity League and first team All-County by the OC Register. He was named Mater Dei's Best Offensive Player in 2013 as Mater Dei was upset in the Southern Section Division I Championship, 9-6, by Harvard-Westlake, denying the Monarchs a chance for a sixth consecutive title. Kent, who was a four-time Trinity League champion and a three-time State champion in water polo while at Mater Dei, was also named first team All-CIF and All-Trinity League as a junior in 2012 and was again named Mater Dei's Best Offensive Player. Also in 2012, he was named second team All-County by the OC Register and was an All-American after being named as a second team All-California/Hawaii selection. His sophomore season (2011), Kent earned second team All-Trinity League and All-CIF plaudits. In his freshman season (2010), he picked up third team All-CIF and second team All-Trinity League accolades.
He was a member of the USA Water Polo Youth National Team in 2013 that competed at the first FINA Youth World Championships in Perth, Australia. He also competed in club ball for United Water Polo Club under head coach Trevor Wawrzynski. His father, Takeshi, is the Executive Director and one of the founders of UWPC and also serves as a Chief International Delegate for USA Water Polo, as well as being a FINA Technical Water Polo Committee (TWPC) member.
"Kent has been a part of California's most dominant high school program at Mater Dei," Wright said. "He has won as a starter on three Division I Championship teams. I've known him since he was seven years old. I'm surprised at his development and transformation, not only as a competitive athlete, but as a person. He has been on every national team at each age group that he has played. He has trained with the best and brings a lot of size at the attacker position. He is going to bring a strong outside shot that is needed on this team."
Kruse, a 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound center out of Los Angeles, Calif. (Loyola HS), earned three varsity letters for the Cubs under head coach Erik Healy. He was named his team's Most Valuable Offensive Player in his junior and senior seasons (2012-13) while being named to the All-Mission League team in each of those seasons. His junior season, he was named as a third team All-CIF selection and earned second team All-CIF accolades after his senior year. He also picked up All-American honors after being named as a seventh team All-California/Hawaii selection his senior year. Helped lead Loyola to a Mission League championship in his junior season. He also competed for the Los Angeles Water Polo Club and was coached by current UCLA assistant coach, Dustin Litvak. His 2012 LAWPC team won gold at the 16U Junior Olympic Championships and finished second at the US Club Championships.
"Corbett comes from a family with strong water polo history as his father, Jim, was a member of the 1976 Olympic Team," Wright said. "With the departure of two seniors at center (Lucas Reynolds and Aimone Barabino), I felt we needed to get a top center and add some size at the center position. Corbett brings that as he is a big, strong kid. But the thing that appeals to me most about him is his work ethic. He's determined to come in and push himself to be part of the group right away. I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops as a center, not only in the next few months leading up to training camp, but over the next four years of his collegiate career."