A two-sport standout at Central Valley High School, Yoshi Kumar will play men’s volleyball in college.
The 2022 grad committed to Benedictine University-Mesa on June 15.
Kumar moved to Arizona this past month.
“For me to be able to get this opportunity is amazing,” said Kumar, an outside hitter/utility player. “It’s cool I get to continue my high school dreams.”
Benedictine Mesa ranked second in the 2022 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Postseason Coaches Top 15 Poll.
The Redhawks advanced to the finals of the National Championship Tournament for the second year in a row.
Benedictine Mesa compiled a 22-7 overall record.
“The program is really good,” Kumar said. “They just went to Nationals.”
“I want to make the program better,” he added. “It doesn’t matter if I come off the bench.”
Kumar always envisioned competing at the collegiate level. But volleyball wasn’t his first choice. Basketball has always been his favorite sport.
“I really didn’t think about playing volleyball in college until my senior year. It was a quick transition. It’s a very different game. It’s faster. You have to make better reads and react quicker. It reminds me of basketball.”Yoshi Kumar
“I really didn’t think about playing volleyball in college until my senior year,” he said. “It was a quick transition. It’s a very different game. It’s faster. You have to make better reads and react quicker. It reminds me of basketball.”
Kumar’s passion for volleyball grew under Central Valley head coach Donald Dudley’s guidance this past spring.
“Coach Dudley was the one that helped me see volleyball was a path to go,” Kumar said. “I can never thank him enough for what he did for me. He sent out a lot of messages to colleges. (Benedictine Mesa’s) coach reached out with some interest. I met him during my official visit. The interaction was really cool.”
Mesa is located 600-plus mile from the city of Ceres.
“It’s a beautiful and lovely place even though it’s extremely hot,” Kumar said. “You get used to it. I love the place. I feel like I fit right in.”
Kumar will make history by becoming the first boys volleyball player from Central Valley to compete in the sport in college.
“I wanted to show anything is possible if you work hard,” said Kumar, who earned athletic/academic scholarships to Benedictine Mesa.
Kumar will major in computer science.
“After college, I’d like to play volleyball internationally, but if that doesn’t work out, I’d like to go into coding,” he said. “I want to go into the computer world.”
Kumar earned five varsity letters during his prep athletic career with the Hawks, including three in basketball and two in volleyball.
Kumar was named Central Valley’s Central California Conference Male Scholar-Athlete Award recipient for the 2021-22 academic year.
Kumar had a cumulative GPA of 3.6 in high school.
“Time management was very difficult,” he said while talking about balancing athletics and academics. “I didn’t get a lot of time to relax. It’s a cycle you get used to but it’s very tiring.”
An outside hitter in volleyball, Kumar garnered first-team all-CCC recognition as a senior and freshman. Central Valley didn’t field teams his junior and sophomore years due to a lack of interest.
Kumar totaled 288 kills, 170 digs, 31 aces, 18 assists and 11 blocks as the Hawks posted a program-best 10-10 overall record and placed sixth in the 2022 CCC standings.
Kumar was selected to the CCC Sportsmanship Team in basketball during the wintertime.
He averaged 7.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game while contributing at point guard for the first time for the Hawks, who finished 8-20 and last in the CCC standings.