The Gonzaga Bulldogs have decided to redshirt South Kamloops Titans product Kelly Olynyk, meaning he won’t play any games this season for the NCAA men’s basketball team that plays out of Spokane.
The 7-foot-0 Olynyk is one of five big men on Gonzaga’s roster, all of them vying for the playing time that goes to two positions.
Olynyk, a junior this season, didn’t suit up for Friday’s 77-69 victory over the visiting Eastern Washington Eagles.
North Vancouver’s Robert Sacre, another 7-footer, is a redshirt senior who started and played 33 minutes against EWU. Elias Harris, a 6-foot-7 junior from Speyer, Germany, played 31 minutes, and 6-foot-9 Sam Dower, a sophomore from Brooklyn Park, Minn., used up 15 minutes. Freshman Ryan Spangler, who is 6-foot-8 and from Blanchard, Okla., didn’t play.
“That doesn’t leave a lot of minutes,” offered Ken Olynyk, Kelly’s father and the athletic director at TRU, on Sunday.
As a redshirt, Kelly will practise and travel with the team; he just won’t play in any games. The ’Zags play the visiting Washington State Cougars tonight and then meet the Hawaii Warriors at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Saturday.
When this season ends, Olynyk, who also is a member of Canada’s national team, still will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
“It just came down to what they wanted to do and what he wanted to do,” Ken said. “It ended up being the best situation for both Kelly and Gonzaga.”
Kelly couldn’t be reached for comment.
“The positive part . . . when he’s done he’ll have an MBA, plus he’ll have his accounting designation,” Ken stated. “So he’ll be a full-fledged accountant and have his MBA when he’s done, which is a pretty good thing.”
Kelly suffered a concussion during an October practice and missed 10 days. But his father said that didn’t have anything to do with the decision to redshirt him.
“For what his goals are,” Ken said, “he needs to play substantial minutes.”
That is something that wasn’t going to happen this season.