Keefe Is Volleyball’s Newest High-Rise Development

Times Staff Writer

For those in the know with Orange County prep basketball, the name Adam Keefe is of little mystery.

You know, Adam Keefe, that 6-foot 9-inch, 220-pound wonder from Woodbridge High School.

One of the most dominant players in the county . . . Recruited by 150 colleges . . . Going to attend Stanford . . . A fantastic middle blocker . . .


Middle blocker?

Yes. In Orange County, Adam Keefe reigns not just on one court, but two. Keefe has left his mark--especially in the minds of area coaches--in basketball and volleyball.

“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that there’s no one more valuable in CIF (Southern Section volleyball) than Adam Keefe,” Charlie Brande, Corona del Mar volleyball coach, said.

“If by chance he doesn’t make it in the NBA, I’d say there’ll definitely be a spot for him on the national volleyball team.”

Keefe shies away from such talk and lists his priorities for the near future with Stanford: academics first, basketball second, volleyball third.

“My goal is being able to manage the two sports and my studies,” Keefe said. “After that, well, I just have to wait and see.”

If Keefe does play volleyball and basketball at Stanford, he will be the first to do so, Fred Sturm, Cardinal volleyball coach, said.

Sturm is excited about the possibilities. He says Keefe and Brigham Young University’s 6-10 Michael Smith (from Hacienda Heights Los Altos) are potentially the two best U.S. players he has seen in 10 years.

Coaches who have seen Keefe believe that he not only has the physical talent--strength, leaping ability, quickness--to excel, but the intelligence, court sense and competitiveness.

“Adam’s such a tremendous athlete and competitor that he can get away with things other big guys can’t,” Steve Stratos, Woodbridge coach, said.

Stratos and Brande both recalled an incident at the Orange County Championships in March, in which Keefe dived into the scorers’ table for a loose ball.

“We were playing University in a semifinal match,” Stratos said. “The score was tied at 14, and a ball went off one of our players and toward the stands. Adam goes sailing across the court, dives without looking, gets the dig, and crashes into the scorers’ table.

“With blood flowing from the side of his head, he gets up and gets right back in the match like nothing happened. Now, how many 6-9 guys are even going to think about doing something like that?”

Brande agreed.

“The thing about Adam is, ability-wise, it’s no surprise that he can hit and block, being so big, but he can play back court as well as the little guys.”