Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk has declared for the NBA draft, per Jim Meehan of The Spokesman-Review.
Gonzaga junior forward Kelly Olynyk will bypass his senior season and declare for the NBA Draft, The Spokesman-Review has learned.— Jim Meehan (@SRJimm) April 19, 2013
Olynyk, who received All-American as well as WCC Player of the Year honors for his outstanding play this season, will pursue his dream of playing basketball professionally.
"In the end, it's something you've dreamed about since you were a little kid," said Olynyk during his press conference.
Just one year removed from a redshirt season, Olynyk has transformed from a role player off the bench to a likely lottery selection in this year’s NBA draft.
Olynyk had this to say about his decision:
Thanks to everyone for the bday wishes and well wishes on my future endeavors. Gunna miss this place, my team, and the people a lot! #ZagUp!— Kelly Olynyk (@BigKelz13) April 19, 2013
Olynyk’s numbers this season speak to the hard work he put in during his redshirt season. The Canadian big man increased his scoring and rebounding numbers to 17.8 PPG and 7.3 RPG, respectively.
Gonzaga fans will be disappointed to see Olynyk go, but there has been an overwhelming response of support for him from both teammates and fans.
Per @srjimm, Kelly Olynyk is headed to the NBA. Good choice for him - should be a lotto pick. Really excited to see him in the league.— Slipper Still Fits (@slipperstillfit) April 19, 2013
Gonzaga coach Mark Few said, “We are very proud of what Kelly was able to accomplish at Gonzaga both on the court and in the classroom. We wish him all the best in his next challenge."
With the departure of Olynyk as well as senior Elias Harris, the Bulldogs will now look to replace their top-tier frontcourt from a season ago. Redshirt senior Sam Dower and sophomore Przemek Karnowski will look to capitalize in their new roles as starters.
News recently surfaced that Gonzaga will look to add another big man via transfer. Two names that have come to the forefront are Tulane’s Josh Davis as well as UNLV’s Mike Moser.
CBS’s Gary Parrish went as far as saying, “The Zags won't get Davis and Moser. But the Zags will get Davis or Moser. And when they do they'll cement their spot in the Top 25 (and one), become the overwhelming favorite in the WCC and be projected as an NCAA tournament team for the 16th consecutive year."
Gonzaga will wish Olynyk the best of luck moving forward, but do not believe for a second that this will halt the momentum this team has built this past season.