Sky's the limit for freshman phenom - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Sky's the limit for freshman phenom

Jonas Umlauft Jonas Umlauft
Ric Cervantes Ric Cervantes
Charlie Wade Charlie Wade

By Mike Cherry - bio | email

(HONOLULU) HawaiiNewsNow - Expectations aren't usually set high for freshman athletes, but that's not the case for Jonas Umlauft who's potential seems to be sky high according to teammates.

"I'll say this right now," says Libero Ric Cervantes, "he's going to be a 4-time All-American.  He's that good.  He's ridiculous.  I've never seen a freshman this good in my life."

Umlauft is quick to play down the praise. "I haven't heard too much about the expectations from all the other people but for me it's more important to support your team as good as you can rather than fulfilling what other people think."

And fulfilling a big need as an outside hitter is exactly what UH hopes the 6'9" German will do.

Umlauft's ability to attack from anywhere on the court gives the 12th ranked Warriors their most gifted attacker in a decade and reminds many of former Bow Yuval Katz.

According to UH Head Coach Charlie Wade, the freshman's vision is "unreal". "The things that surprised us were he can see and hit shots that you watch and, usually you see someone hit a remarkable shot and you say 'oh, good shot'", says Wade. "and then he does it again and again and you say no, he really knows what he's doing."

Umlauft refined those skills while playing at one of the top volleyball schools in Germany and gaining experience on the junior national team.

And while he decided on attending UH for it's volleyball tradition, Umlauft says he will work on getting his Electrical Engineering degree in Manoa.

But for now...

He'll settle on rebuilding a program that finished 10th in the 12-team Mountain Pacific Sports Federation last season.

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