BERKELEY—La Habra, Calif.’s Sonora High School graduate Raffi Chalian has committed to attend and play basketball for UC Berkeley in the National College Athletics Association’s “Pac 12, Division 1” as a guaranteed walk on.
Chalian, who is 5’10”, culminated an outstanding career at Sonora under its longtime, highly successful Head Coach Mike Murphy.
Chalian was a three-year starter at Sonora. This past year as a senior, he a led Sonora to a 24-6 record and the quarter finals of the CIF before losing to Palm Springs High School.. Chalian was chosen All League 1s team, MVP of the League and 1st Team All CIF.
“Raffi has without question, the highest GPA and SAT scores of any high school athlete I have ever come in touch with over the many years we have been involved helping kids get recruited. Raffi had a 4.8 GPA at Sonora H.S. and a SAT score of 2350 out of 2400. Did not miss a single question, but had 50 points deducted off his essay,” said Bob Gottlieb, Director of Branch West Basketball.
The Ivy League had significant interest in recruiting Chalian, but he had his heart set on either USC or Cal. He already had major academic scholarship offers from USC, whose well-regarded Assistant Coach Bob Cantu loved Chalian on film and invited both he and his parents to visit the campus and meet with Head Coach Kevin O’Neill. The meeting went extremely well, and USC offered him the opportunity to walk on but could not guarantee he would definitely make the team.
Cal, on the other hand, was concerned about its lack of depth at the point guards position, with only two scholarship guards in the program. The entire staff looked at his film package and were impressed enough to offer him a guaranteed spot on the team as a walk on. Chalian jumped at the opportunity to achieve his dream of playing NCAA D1 basketball at one of the top academic schools in the US.
This was an unusual year at Cal in that they took two walk-ons in the same year. Rob Filley 6’3″ wing guard from Foothill High School in Tustin, also an All League player, and also an All CIF Player, was recruited to Cal as a guaranteed walk-on, also through the Branch West Recruiting Assistance Service. The Cal Basketball Team left for a 10 day trip to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and both Chalian and Filley made the trip.
“Raffi never played for Branch West, but not because we did not ask. He is a hell of a player, but chose not to play travel ball. We could not be more pleased for both Rob and Raffi,” added Gottlieb.