Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge stood in the middle of a tunnel near the Orleans Arena court, waiting for the postgame celebration to conclude following Gonzaga’s win over BYU in the WCC championship Tuesday night.
Ainge, who played at BYU, offered a congratulatory handshake to GU coach Mark Few and senior guard David Stockton. Few quickly asked Ainge, “How’s my guy doing?”
That would be former Zag Kelly Olynyk, who was drafted 13th overall by Dallas and promptly traded to the Celtics. Olynyk is averaging 7.5 points and 5 rebounds in his rookie season, but he’s at 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in his last 10 games.
“He’s been great,” Ainge said. “He’s learning. He’s a smart kid. He’s learning to shoot the ball, getting physically stronger and learning what the NBA game is all about.
“He’s had a terrific rookie year. Every rookie has an adjustment period and he’s had his. The biggest challenge was at the defensive end and learning the defensive schemes.”
A year ago at this time, Olynyk had 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 65-51 championship-game win over Saint Mary’s for the fourth of his five career double-doubles.