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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


GU gets another ‘09 commitment

Kelly Olynyk, a versatile 6-foot-10, 205-pound forward from Canada, has verbally committed to the Gonzaga men's basketball team, Olynyk's father, Ken, said Monday.

Olynyk, who plays for South Kamloops Secondary School in Kamloops, B.C., and trains most of the rest of the year at the National Elite Development Academy in Hamilton, Ontario, where his roommate is Mangisto Arop, another member of the GU's 2009 class. Others are Sam Dower, a 6-9 forward from Osseo, Minn., and Elias Harris, a 6-7 wing from Speyer, Germany.

More below, and check back later for additional information on Olynyk.

"The biggest thing I said to Kelly and the thing I wanted to make sure of was that he was real comfortable with his decision and that he was excited about it," said Ken Olynyk, the athletic director at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, who also has 25 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. "When he called coach (Mark) Few (on Sunday night) I could see he was excited about it and he felt he made the right decision, and that's what I wanted, the right decision for him."

Ken said his son visited San Diego and took unofficial visits to Providence and Syracuse. He said Rhode Island had verbally offered him a scholarship and that North Carolina State had told him they were close to offering. He said his son was receiving lots of interest from U.S. and Canadian colleges.

Olynyk is averaging about 35 points and 13 rebounds at South Kamloops Secondary School, which is 20-1 and ranked No. 1 in the B.C. provincial rankings, Ken said.

"He's a great passer, he sees the floor," Ken said. "He also has a very versatile game. He can score inside, mid-range and has range well outside the 3-point line. He shoots the ball effortlessly."

Ken said his son has played anywhere from point guard to post, but he's probably at the '3' or '4' most of the time. "He's definitely more of a perimeter player than a post player," Ken added.

"He's become a much better rebounder than he was in the past," Ken added. "And the other thing I've always appreciated is that I don't remember in a big game, a championship game or a game against an arch rival, that he hasn't come and played well."

Ken said his son needs to work on becoming a tough defender.

"He's smart and he understands defense but he doesn't want to foul so he isn't as tough defensively as I'd like to see him," said Ken, before adding, "but I'm probably his toughest critic."

Ken said his son has to work to keep weight on, but "he's solid. I did some stuff with him in the post the other day and I was quite surprised by how strong he is and how hard it is to move him. That will come. He needs to get to around 220-225."

Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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