With an emphasis on the middle of the pool, the San Jose State University men’s water polo program signed five players with international experience to its program for the 2018 season. Bruce Watson, the Spartans head coach, made the announcement.
Yahav Fire, goalkeeper for the Israeli junior national and national teams; Adam Bado, a driver who played for the Hungarian Szentes club team; two-meter defenders Nils Hofmeijer of The Netherlands and Antonios Giannatsis of Greece; and Utku Binkanat, a 2-meter Turkish junior national player, are joining the San Jose State program this fall.
“We are very excited about our new Spartans for Fall 2018. They are players who will add size and speed. They have a great deal of international experience from high-level clubs and national teams,” says Watson, who is in his fourth season as the team’s head coach.
“Combined with our excellent freshman class and junior college transfers from last year, our skill, athleticism and depth will be the best it has been since the reinstatement of the program. Academically, they will be excellent student-athletes and will be successful in the classroom and the pool.”
The Spartans got considerably bigger in the pool with the 6-foot-8 Binkanat and Hofmeijer, the youngest member of the Dutch Under-20 national team in 2017, and 6-foot-7 Giannatsis, who was a team captain for Nireas Geraka’s Under 19 club team. Even Fire, the Israeli National Team the last four seasons, is 6-foot-4.
San Jose State tied for 11th nationally in the final 2017 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) – its highest ranking since the program was reinstated in 2015.