Dec. 3, 2001
UCLA Coach Al Scates welcomed the addition of two of the Southland's most heralded men's volleyball recruits after Patrick Nihipali and Matt McKinney signed national letters-of-intent to play for the Bruins.
Nihipali, whose brother Paul was a four-time All-American on two NCAA championship teams for Scates, was an All-CIF selection at Manhattan Beach's Mira Costa High while leading the Mustangs to the 2001 CIF title last spring.
The 6-9 middle blocker will be the third Nihipali to attend UCLA and play volleyball. Sister Amy lettered two seasons on the UCLA women's team.
"Patrick was our No.1 recruit," said Scates, who has won 18 NCAA titles. "We think he can play three positions for us: opposite, outside hitter and middle blocker.
"He's further along than his brother was at this stage. He'll have an opportunity to compete for a starting position as a true freshman."
McKinney, who signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball for the Bruins, also will compete in volleyball when his schedule allows. As an outside hitter, the 6-8 McKinney has led Santa Ynez HS to three consecutive Southern Section Div. III titles. He is also a two-time All-CIF selection.
In basketball, McKinney is rated as the state's No.3 forward by PrepWest Hoops. Last season he averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds per game and earned All-CIF honors.
"Matt McKinney is an elite volleyball player with Olympic-team potential," said Scates.