Max Wilber will soon make the transition from Eagle to Aggie.
The Los Altos High catcher, who graduated Friday, is headed to UC Davis as a recruited walk-on baseball player.
Wilber said his decision came after he was invited earlier this spring to participate in a prospect camp to showcase his hitting and fielding skills in front of the UC Davis coaching staff. Originally slated to attend and play baseball locally at a community college, Wilber said “things happened quickly” once the Davis coaching staff offered him a recruited walk-on spot with the team.
With his post-high school plans cemented, Wilber said he’s eager to start his college career.
“It’s probably what I’m looking forward to most – starting that next chapter with this amazing opportunity I’m getting,” he said.
Wilber’s mother, Corina, said her oldest son’s decision to attend Davis was important from a family perspective as well. She noted that her son is extremely close to his 4-year-old brother Navy. Corina and her husband were set to become parents for the third time with the induced birth of son Jed last week.
“We were so prepared for Max to go far away,” Corina said. “If that happened, we wanted him to go for it. We’ll always be here and his brothers will always be here. But to get (the Davis opportunity) was just unbelievable.”
Wilber’s decision comes after an up-and-down senior season. The right-handed power hitter suffered a knee injury that relegated him to playing third or first base the early part of the season. Wilber said his season began to turn around, however, once his knee healed and he was able to assume his regular position.
“Things just kind of started to pick back up when I started catching again,” said Wilber, who batted .265 in 13 SCVAL De Anza Division games with two home runs, 10 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .529. “We kind of just had a good feel as a team and we worked out some problems. We started playing together more and it really started becoming a lot more fun. I was starting to feel more comfortable at the plate and out on the field.”
Los Altos head coach Donnie Ecker said Wilber’s skill set made him an attractive option for a college program like Davis.
“He’s a scout or evaluator’s dream. His athletic ceiling is so high that you just want him around. … His ceiling and potential is so high, it’s a win-win for any program to get him in,” he said. “He has a skill set that will give him more opportunities to crack the lineup.”
A former standout baseball player at Long Beach State, Ecker said becoming a college player and student will be an adjustment for Wilber – as it is for most athletes making the transition from high school to college.
“They’re going to ask you to wake up to do weights at 5:30, go to class at 8 and head to practice at 2,” he said. “It’s a grind and you have to manage your time.”
Wilber, who noted that he picked Ecker’s brain about playing in college, said much of the credit for his success goes to his family. That support, he added, will factor into his future success as well.
“I think the support I’ve received from them has probably been one of the most influential factors in getting through the season,” Wilber said. “My family’s helped me so much and they continue to stick with me.”