View Full Version : SI's take on college players at FIBA championships

09-09-2010, 07:36 PM
There were only 7 current college players in the world championships and Luke Winn at SI (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/luke_winn/09/09/fiba.college.players/index.html) has an overview of how each player performed. There are some interesting quotes from Coach Few and others.

Gonzaga's Frontline Trio

The Zags are D-I's most prominent international squad, with two players on the Canadian FIBA team and one on the German side. The most impressive Zag in Turkey was somewhat of a surprise:

Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga (Canada, 0-5)
6-11 sophomore forward
8.2 ppg (55.6% shooting), 2.8 rpg

Olynyk, a lanky British Columbian, had a small role for Gonzaga as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in just over 12 minutes per game. But he made huge progress in the offseason. "Kelly had the best spring of all of our guys, as far as individual work, lifting and really changing his body," Zags coach Mark Few said. "And then this summer [for Canada's junior development team], he played so well that they decided to bring him up."

The plan, initially, had just been for the Canadians to use Olynyk for senior team practice and exhibitions, but he earned a roster spot -- and then scored 13 points in 19 minutes when he was subbed into Canada's third game against France. He followed that up with 14 points in 22 minutes against Spain, which had to please Gonzaga coaches, who'd like Olynyk to have more of an offensive presence in '10-11. "He has a great feel for the game," assistant Tommy Lloyd said of Olynyk, "but he was sometimes too unselfish as a freshman. He has to have a scorer's mentality."

The other Zag on the Canadian team had a lesser role:

Robert Sacre, Gonzaga (Canada, 0-5)
7-0 junior center
2.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg

Sacre only saw double-digit minutes in one game, against Spain, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds. He's still the projected starting center for the Zags next season, giving them a rare 7-foot force in the West Coast Conference, but his low-post, camp-under-the-rim game isn't well-suited for international play, and he was stuck in Canada's rotation behind Miami Heat center Joel Anthony.

Gonzaga's likely offensive star in '10-11 was a role player for the Dirk Nowitzki-less Germans:

Elias Harris, Gonzaga (Germany, 2-3)
6-7 sophomore forward
3.4 ppg (53.8% shooting), 2.0 rpg

Harris averaged 17.2 minutes per game for a more veteran German team that upset Serbia but couldn't make it into the knockout round of the FIBA tournament. While the Zags used him mostly at the four position last season, Harris is a "hybrid" forward who's also comfortable on the perimeter, and Few said he would consider playing an oversized front line of Sacre, Olynyk and Harris together next season. "That [lineup] will be predicated on who they guard," Few said. "It's important that Elias expand his game in that regard, so he can step out and defend twos and wings."

The only potential downside to having three Zags in high-profile international competition, Few said, was the burnout factor; players who compete all summer might hit a wall in January or February. He plans to give Harris, Olynyk and Sacre two weeks off this month in hopes of preventing an early crash.

09-09-2010, 07:52 PM
Well, straight from the horse's mouth- Harris will spend time at the power forward and small forward positions this year, depending on match-ups. The board reached a consensus on this, it seems, but it's good to have something definitive on this for those of us who obsess about such things.

09-09-2010, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the link Radbooks, it is great to hear what the staff is thinkling about Kelly especially. The fact that he played "unselfishly" last year and that Few wants him to regain that scorers mentallity bodes well for him being more aggressive in the offensive zone. I really think that the Zags could have at least 6 players averaging double figures this year.

U Zig, I Zag
09-10-2010, 08:38 AM
well, well - Harris at the 3? As quoted by Few? Maybe this one subject that can get some rest. As many have stated, given the right matchups, I think Elias spends alot of time at the 3 :)

09-10-2010, 08:51 AM
great, few is in effect challenging harris to improve his d enough to risk him playing the 3. the payoff is a better frontline for gu and better prep for harris' pro career....we shall see...

meanwhile, its good to see that few is high on ko. last year he was a ko booster in fits and starts......this year he should start. will he?

lets hope rob hasnt flatlined al la zach. if so, he'd b enough of a force for most gu games but certainly no pro prospect.

09-10-2010, 08:53 AM
You should know by now that NOTHING can get a rest around here.