Six more high school volleyball players—6-7 outside hitter Clay Dickinson of Corona del Mar High in Newport Beach (Calif.), 6-7 outside hitter-middle blocker Billy Fauntleroy of New Trier High in Winnetka (Ill.), 6-6 outside hitter Kyle Gear of Gates Chili High in Rochester (N.Y.), 6-2 setter Chris Hall of Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks (Calif.), 6-4 outside hitter Christopher McBee of Palos Verdes High in Palos Verdes Estates (Calif.) and 6-4 outside hitter Pete Obradovich of Laguna Beach (Calif.) High—have signed with the USC men’s volleyball program and will join the team in the fall of 2017, Trojan head coach Jeff Nygaard announced today (April 25).
They join a quartet of previously-announced prep standouts who signed with USC this past November and who also will come aboard this fall: 6-10 middle blocker Sam Lewis of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, 6-7 middle blocker Mitch Haly of Corona del Mar (Calif.) High, 5-10 libero Cole Paxson of Laguna Beach (Calif.) High and 6-6 outside hitter Noah Franklin of Huntington Beach (Calif.) High.
Dickinson helped the SCVA team win a bronze at the 2016 USA Volleyball High Performance Championship. As a member of the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club, he won a 17 Open gold medal at the 2016 Junior Olympics and a 15 Open gold at the 2014 Junior Olympics, while he won a 16 Club Bronze at the 2015 Junior Olympics with the Ultimate Volleyball Club.
Fauntleroy earned 2016 Pioneer Press All-Area honorable mention and All-Central Suburban League South honors while getting 223 kills as a junior at New Trier High, as the team was the state runnerup. He played for the Adversity Volleyball Club. His sister Katie was an outside hitter at Colgate (2012-14), his sister Haley is a junior middle hitter at Virginia and his twin sister Callie will play at George Washington.
Gear made the 2016 Rochester Democrat & Chronicle All-Greater Rochester first team and All-Monroe County League as a senior at Gates Chili (boys volleyball is a fall sport in New York) while averaging 18 kills per match. As a 2015 junior, he was Rochester Democrat & Chronicle All-Greater Rochester first team and All-Monroe County League while averaging 13 kills and 7 digs. He played for the Victor Volleyball Club. He also played tennis at Gates Chili and played saxophone in the concert and marching band. His sister, Shelby, was an outside hitter at Lycoming (2010-13), while his brother, Kevin, is a junior middle blocker at Penn State.
Hall played for his father, Jim, at Notre Dame High. He was the starting setter on the USA Volleyball Boys Youth National Team that won a silver medal at the 2016 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship in Havana, Cuba, and qualified for the 2017 FIVB Boys U19 World Championship in Bahrain. He was on the 2015 USA Volleyball High Performance Select Continental team. He played for the Manhattan Beach Surf club team. He also played beach volleyball. He is active in community service, including participating in fundraisers to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis.
McBee was an alternate on the USA Volleyball Boys Youth National Team that won a silver medal at the 2016 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship in Havana, Cuba, and qualified for the 2017 FIVB Boys U19 World Championship in Bahrain. He was a member of the Manhattan Beach Surf club team that won a 16 Open bronze medal at the 2015 Junior Olympics. He was on the 2014 and 2015 USA Volleyball High Performance Select A1 teams. His brother, Charlie, was a member of USC’s 2012 and 2013 NCAA championship men’s water polo teams. His sister, Molly, played water polo at Princeton, while his father, Cameron, played water polo at UC Santa Barbara. His grandfather, grandmother, 2 aunts and an uncle attended USC (his grandfather was on the crew team).
Obradovich had 287 kills, 159 digs, 26 blocks and 25 aces as a 2016 junior at Laguna Beach High. He made 2015 Orange County Register All-Orange County honorable mention when he had 336 kills, 194 digs, 31 blocks and 15 aces as a sophomore as Laguna Beach was the CIF Regional Division III champion. He played for the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club. He also played beach volleyball at Laguna Beach. His father, Steve, was an outside hitter at USC from 1975 to 1977 and was a member of the Trojans’ first NCAA championship men’s volleyball team in 1977 (he then played professionally on the beach for 20 years and won 9 tournaments); he also was a wide receiver on USC’s football team in 1975 and 1976 (he was on Troy’s 1977 Rose Bowl champion). His sister, Paige, was a defensive specialist at USC in 2008 and 2009. His uncle, Jim, played football at USC (1973-74), including on the 1974 national champs, and then in the NFL with the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2017 in Nygaard’s second season as head coach, USC went 14-14 to double its win total from the previous year and it advanced to the MPSF Tournament after a year’s hiatus. The Trojans, ranked No. 10 nationally, won 8 of their final 10 matches.
In its history, the USC men’s volleyball program has captured 4 NCAA championships while appearing in 14 NCAA tourneys and has produced 20 Olympians, 34 All-Americans and 7 College Players of the Year.
News courtesy of USC Athletics.