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Former Zag Kelly Olynyk picks 2013 team over current team because he was there

Former Gonzaga players Kelly Olynyk and Sam Dower had seats in the front row for the Pacific game, Feb, 18, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Olynyk boasted that their top-ranked 2013 Zags could handle this year’s squad. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Former Gonzaga players Kelly Olynyk and Sam Dower had seats in the front row for the Pacific game, Feb, 18, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Olynyk boasted that their top-ranked 2013 Zags could handle this year’s squad. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Gulledge The Spokesman-Review

Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk said there is no chance this year’s Gonzaga Bulldogs could beat the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs of 2013.

“They couldn’t guard us,” he said.

Olynyk returned to Spokane for a brief visit while NBA players are on a break for the All-Star weekend.

Sam Dower Jr., another member of Gonzaga’s 2013 roster, was in attendance with Olynyk to watch the Zags clinch their 28th victory and remain undefeated.

Dower, who played last season professionally in Poland for MKS Dąbrowa Górnicza, is currently rehabbing from a torn meniscus he suffered toward the end of their season last year.

Despite former teammate Olynyk saying this year’s Zags couldn’t take down the 2013 squad, Dower said it would be close.

“You never know. Our ’13 team was good,” Dower said. “This (2017) team is good as well, it’d be a battle.”

The two former players were glad to be back in the Kennel and reunited with old teammates Przemek Karnowski and Rem Bakamus.

“It’s like a family, it’s always good to see them,” Karnowski said. “It’s like seeing brothers.”

Before the lineups were introduced, some Gonzaga players gathered around Dower and Olynyk who were sitting in the front row behind the basket closest to Gonzaga’s bench. Both Olynyk and Dower were also in the Bulldogs’ locker room following the Zags’ 82-61 win over Pacific.

Head coach Mark Few said one of the best parts of coaching is having former players return to visit and connect with current members of the roster.

“Getting to reconnect with some of the guys that have been here, seeing how they jump right in with the guys they don’t know, and there’s a camaraderie and connection even though they never played together,” Few said. “Definitely heartwarming, kind of what makes this program so special.”

Olynyk and Dower both were complimentary of this year’s Gonzaga team.

“I think the big part is that they are so balanced,” Dower said. “The sky is the limit for them, they are talented.”

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