After missing the first three games of the season for violating the school’s code of conduct, Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk seems to be a brand new person.
No, I’m not talking about the fact that he has long, magnificent hair and appears to have really beefed up from the last time we saw him play (the 2010-2011 season). The redshirt junior from British Columbia is looking like a bonafide stud and a legitimate reason that his Bulldogs squad can really contend this season.
Through his first five games, Olynyk is averaging around 14 points and seven rebounds and has shown a complete skill set, dominating the post on both sides of the ball and even knocking down the occasional three. After spending the first few games of the season getting acclimated to playing with the number-10 team in the country, Olynyk was the hero in Wednesday night’s win, scoring eight of the Zags’ final 11 points in a huge road win over Washington State. Olynyk finished with a career-best 22 points, all of which came in the second half.
“Olynyk couldn’t have made these plays a year ago,” said head coach Mark Few, who was also blown away by the resurgence of his new star. “He’s turning into a strong player.”
Olynyk has clearly gained a lot of weight since arriving to Gonzaga as a highly touted Canadian prep star. He has also emerged as one of the Canadian national team’s best players moving forward. According to The Province, a major daily newspaper in B.C., Olynyk has been one of the team’s best players in their last two international competitions.
He’ll only continue to grow with more experience, but after Wednesday night’s coming out party, Olynyk looks like a brand new player. And being a 7-footer with the ability to shoot, bang bodies and get up and down the floor, he may be one of the more dangerous weapons on a team that was top-15 before he started playing.
Be on the lookout for Olynyk and the Zags.
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