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Coming off of a redshirt year it was anyone’s guess what 7-foot center Kelly Olynyk would give the Gonzaga Bulldogs this season.
All Olynyk did was become one of the best players in the country, helping to lead Gonzaga to its first-ever number one ranking in the national polls and a one-seed in the NCAA tournament.
And as first reported by Jim Meehan of the Spokesman-Review Olynyk has played his last game in a Gonzaga uniform, choosing to forego his senior season to enter the 2013 NBA Draft. Olynyk averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season, making a significant jump after sitting out the entire 2011-12 campaign.
Olynyk earned WCC Player of the Year honors and was named an All-American by the NABC, Associated Press and John R. Wooden Award selection committees. He is expected to be a first-round selection in June’s draft with a spot in the lottery considered to be within reach.
“It was tough. When you talk to people no one really tells you to go or not go; everyone says it’s your decision,” said Olynyk in a release from the school. “Everyone tells you why you should go and why you could come back. Everyone kind of leaves you hanging in that sense. They just say go with your heart, go with your gut and that’s what will make the best decision.”
With Olynyk, Elias Harris and Guy Landry Edi departing head coach Mark Few has some major holes to fill in the front court. Sam Dower returns for his senior season, and the departures make this offseason an important one for 7-1 center Przemek Karnowski.
Karnowski averaged 10.7 minutes per game as a freshman, accounting for 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per contest. Gonzaga was in a position where they didn’t have to ask too much of the highly-touted prospect from Poland, but that will change in 2013.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: