Thursday, February 7, 2013
How Olynyk improved
By Matt Giles
By now, over halfway through the season, Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk is a known player even to the most casual fans. The big, who spent last season anchored to the Bulldogs' bench while redshirting, has become a national player of the year candidate, and it would not be surprising if the 7-footer declared for the NBA draft following the season.
Bud Withers of the Seattle Times had an interesting article about how Olynyk spent his redshirt season, and the physical and mental conditioning he underwent, conditioning that has paved the way for a breakout season. Gonzaga's strength and conditioning coach used tennis balls marked with an R (right) or an L (left) and threw them at Olynyk from close range, improving the connection his mind had with his body. Olynyk also relied on medicine balls and banging daily in the post with former Gonzaga big Robert Sacre.
Mark Few and his coaching staff have historically relied on strong backcourts to deliver countless WCC titles and NCAA tournament appearances, but due to Olynyk's maturation, patience, and vastly improved skillset, Few may have the best frontcourt he has ever coached in Spokane.