SPOKANE — Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk sought advice from a “plethora of people,” from family to coaches to ex-Zag Adam Morrison to NBA guard and fellow Canadian Steve Nash.
Olynyk made pro-con lists, at his mother’s urging. The 7-foot junior from Kamloops, B.C., ultimately reached information overload.
“Everyone kind of gives you their pitch and spiel,” he said. “It’s funny because every conversation ends with, ‘But it’s your decision, go with your heart and how you feel.’?”
So he did, announcing Friday — on his 22nd birthday — that he will skip his senior season at GU and pursue his life-long dream of playing in the NBA. He informed coach Mark Few and his teammates Thursday night.
Olynyk joins Paul Rogers (1997), Morrison (2006) and Austin Daye (2009) as Bulldogs to leave school early and declare for the NBA Draft.
“I don’t think people knew at all what was going through my mind,” Olynyk said. “It was definitely a seesaw, teeter-totter effect. A week ago I was leaning toward coming back. I really wanted to and thought it was the best thing.
“It’s really hard to gather your thoughts. It seemed like every person I talked to my view would change. I didn’t know whether that was a sign to stop talking to people or do I need to talk to more people. In the end, this was best decision for me.”
Olynyk, a consensus All-American who also earned academic All-America honors, averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who finished 32-3. He was a reserve his first two seasons, but began to blossom during a redshirt season in 2012.
“Nine months ago I don’t think this is what I envisioned today,” Olynyk said. “It came quicker than I expected and I’ve got to capitalize.”
ESPN.com projects Olynyk going 14th to Utah in the June draft. Most mock drafts list Olynyk as a mid first-round pick. The top 14 are considered lottery picks. Under the rookie salary scale, the 14th selection would earn roughly $3.2 million guaranteed in his first two seasons.
Olynyk said he hasn’t chosen an agent and wasn’t sure if he would finish out the semester or immediately begin training.
“We are very proud of what Kelly was able to accomplish at Gonzaga, both on the court and in the classroom,” coach Mark Few, who was on a recruiting trip, said in a GU release. “We wish him all the best in his next challenge.”