BERKELEY – Fresh off qualifying for theITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships, California received more good news when the Golden Bears claimed the No. 8 ranking on TennisRecruiting.net’s list of the top-25 winter recruiting classes in the nation, the website announced on Monday. Cal head coach Peter Wright signed two of the Golden State’s top players in William “Billy” Griffith and J.T. Nishimura last fall.
“It’s great to be recognized for having a top-10 recruiting class, but we’re even more excited that it’s an all California recruiting class,” Wright said. “Billy and J.T. are two of the top U.S. players, they’re first-class kids and they’re a great fit for the future of our program.”
Griffith, who hails from Fresno, Calif., is one of the best players to come out of the central valley. TennisRecruiting.net ranks the Clovis West High School product as the third-best recruit in the nation and the second-best recruit from California. Last June, the Fresno Bee named Griffith its Boys Tennis Player of the Year after he compiled a 27-1 singles record and 19-1 doubles mark.
In his first International Tennis Federation event last March, Griffith won the singles final of the 2013 Claremont ITF over current UCLA freshman Gage Brymer, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5). In early 2013, he reached the boys’ 18 consolation singles final in the USTA National Winter Championships, and in 2012, Griffith won the boys’ 16 singles consolation bracket at the USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo.
A San Francisco Bay Area native from San Jose, Calif., Nishimura was ranked 44th in the nation and 10th in the state by TennisRecruiting.net in November. Nishimura did not lose a set in winning the singles championship at the USTA Regional Tournament Segment at the Seascape Country Club in Aptos, Calif., after likewise winning every set in his run to the singles title at the USTA Regional Tournament Segment in Stanford, Calif. Additionally, Nishimura reached the doubles final in each tournament.
He currently attends Piedmont Hills High School in the south bay.
Before heading to Houston for the Feb. 14-17 national-indoor tournament, 16th-ranked Cal (3-0) hosts two matches at the Channing Tennis Courts this week. The Bears will play Hawaii (1-0) on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 1:30 p.m. and take on Saint Mary’s (3-0) on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1 p.m.