The Hawaii men’s volleyball team went the distance — more than 7,300 miles — to secure a signed commitment from a multi-skilled outside hitter.
Jan-Philipp Marks, a 6-foot-5 member of Germany’s junior national team, will compete for the left-side hitter’s job made vacant by Joshua Walker’s graduation.
The Warriors also received a signed financial-aid agreement from 6-foot-7 Taylor Averill, who redshirted as a freshman at UC Irvine this year. Averill can play setter, outside hitter and middle blocker.
"These are the kind of six-rotation players we need," UH head coach Charlie Wade said. "They can pass and hit and block and serve. They are the kind of players you like having in your gym because they can do a lot of different things."
In October, the Warriors received commitments from 6-5 outside hitter Brook Sedore of Grand Prairie Composite High in Alberta and 6-6 opposite attacker J.J. Mosolf of Hart High in Valencia, Calif.
Wade said Marks was the starting left-side hitter for a junior national team that played a challenging schedule.
Wade praised Marks as a "great passer who’s good at serve-and-receive. He has good technique. He’s played at a high level. He’s a rock-solid kid."
Marks hopes to attend UH’s second summer session. Wade said Marks is a smart student who is "already talking about trying to get his master’s degree in four years. He’s absolutely gung-ho on everything."
Averill, who was raised in San Jose, was a member of the prestigious Bay to Bay Volleyball Club. He turned down an offer from UH last year to sign with UC Irvine.
After gaining a release from the Anteaters, Averill contacted Wade, expressing an interest in competing at setter. Nejc Zemljak completed his UH eligibility last month.
"He’s not saying he only wants to be a setter, but, at some point, he wants to give it a shot," Wade said. "We’re like, ‘We’re going to have a new setter. Sure, we’ll give you a shot. If you’re the best setter, you’ll set.’ "
Wade said Averill has enough skills to play several positions.
"He probably could have started in the middle for us this year at some point," Wade said.
Wade said Averill often goes around the Bay Area in search of volleyball matches.
"He’s a full-volley guy," Wade said.