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Door open for Caldwell

BASKETBALL: Sailors senior says there’s a lot riding on all-star game because it might lead to a shot to play for UCLA.

April 26, 2008|By David Carrillo Peñaloza

Kyle Caldwell hasn’t played much basketball lately. Just twice since Newport Harbor High’s season ended in February.

Caldwell’s been busy with volleyball, the sport in which many consider the versatile player to be the top high school senior in the country.

But right now basketball occupies his mind. Four days after being named MVP of the Santa Barbara/Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions, all he cares about is another basketball game.

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There is one today. This isn’t just another game to the 6-foot-9, 225-pounder. Sure it’s an all-star event, but in all levels, from high school to the pros, all-star games aren’t always taken as seriously. They’re mostly fun, not much defense is played, just a lot of scoring.

Caldwell is hoping to score more than points today at the 43rd annual Kiwanis/PlyoCity Orange County All-Star festivities featuring his South team against the North in the boys’ big schools game at Ocean View High at 8:15 p.m.

“I’m approaching this like a real game because of the possibility of being able to play basketball at UCLA next year,” Caldwell said. “There’s a lot riding in this game.”

Caldwell’s future hangs in the balance.

A volleyball scholarship already awaits the setter at UCLA. The idea of a basketball one has him intrigued.

Caldwell’s late grandfather George Yardley played college basketball at Stanford, where he was an All-American, and later a prolific scorer in the NBA, becoming the first player to score 2,000 points in a season in 1957-58.

“That has a little to do with it,” Caldwell said of being influenced by his grandfather, a six-time All-Star and Hall of Famer. “I’ll walk on if I have to because it doesn’t get any better than UCLA when it comes to athletics.”

Especially in basketball and volleyball, two storied programs. Both with the most NCAA titles won in their respective sports, 11 for basketball and 19 for volleyball.

Caldwell wants to play for each next season.

The basketball and volleyball seasons overlap, making it tough to juggle both sports. But Caldwell said legendary volleyball coach Al Scates is fine with him playing basketball and volleyball if the Bruins court him for basketball.

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