January 4, 2014

Gouveia: Enemy of backboards

Kevin McCarthy

The Weather Channel missed it but winter storm Kyle blew into San Andreas on December 24, particularly effecting Calaveras High's Flock Gymnasium. Touchdown was late in the third quarter of a matchup between Sonora High and the host Indians as 6-foot-7, 240 Calaveras senior Kyle Gouveia went skyward, slammed down a dunk and provoked the backboard to surrender.

photo of Kyle Gouveia
photo courtesy of Jeremy D. Malamed

Gouveia was concerned at first. While most would have paraded around the gym in ecstasy, he thought his feat might be a problem. Yes, despite receiving cuts from the flying glass, he was concerned that he had done something wrong.

“I was thinking 'what just happened?'” Gouveia recalled. “I turned to Coach [Calaveras High Coach Kraig Clifton] and said 'sorry coach.'”

That was just two of his 31 points that night, plus he added 14 rebounds.

But maybe Gouveia's most remarkable accomplishment is landing a scholarship from California Collegiate Athletic Association member Cal State Stanislaus for next year. That means being able to play in front of friends and family even in road games at Chico State, Humboldt State, Cal State East Bay and others.

This for a young man who wasn't planning on playing basketball in high school and hadn't really played since elementary school. Gouveia matter-of-factly offered “I wasn't very good” as a freshman and he started with a goal of “start making layups.”

He made varsity just last year.

Clifton, who also teaches physical education at Calaveras High, initially noticed Gouveia shooting around in the gym. What caught his eye first was seeing someone 6-foot-3 as “that's not something you see often around here.”

For Gouveia, it was just what he needed.

He recalled, “Coach really encouraged me to play.”

Still, it wasn't until Gouveia's summer between his junior and senior year that he thought landing a scholarship was a possibility. “It was then when I realized I had a real shot.”

Clifton attributes the rise of his basketball star to a number of factors.

“It's a combination of sticking with it, growing into his body, working extremely hard in the weight room, his listening to everything I have to say and working hard. He is hungry and coachable -- that's what's so refreshing about him -- and that's what allowed him to come so far in a short period of time.”

Gouveia improved both his benchpress and squat by 65 pounds from first effort to the present.

Clifton continued, “Kyle has a great personality, he likes to have fun but can bring the hammer down when it's needed and he is extremely dedicated to his teammates and the game.”

So why the choice of Stanislaus?

“I really liked it when I visited there,” Gouveia recalled. “I liked the coaches and the players and it was close to home”

The Stanislaus program is headed by Coach Larry Reynolds and the Warriors lose 6-foot-9 leading scorer and rebounder Marcus Bell after this season so the opportunity for playing time will be present..

Gouveia is looking to major in kinesiology with the goal of returning home and possibly going into teaching.