Olynyk excited to prove his worth to Celtics

Olynyk excited to prove his worth to Celtics
July 1, 2013, 8:45 pm
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BOSTON — Ken and Arlene Olynyk had no idea what NBA team would draft their son, Kelly.

But they wanted to make sure when the moment arrived, they would have some kind of team gear for him to wear.

They soon discovered their NBA clothing options were limited in Kamloops, British Columbia, to just two NBA teams. They even leaned on family in nearby Vancouver, British Columbia which used to be the home of the then-Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies.

"The only hats we had were Boston hats, and Chicago (Bulls) hats," Ken told CSNNE.com. "It worked out perfect."

Did it ever.

Olynyk, originally drafted by Dallas but traded to Boston moments later on Thursday, was ready for the moment which was one of the many things that made him someone the Celtics were eager to draft.

In mentioning Olynyk's strengths such as passing the ball and having a high basketball I.Q., Danny Ainge also noted his "ability to remain calm under pressure was another thing that is very unique."

Ainge, the C's president of basketball operations, added that he had a chance to see Olynyk play "in some pretty difficult environments. His poise and patience and intelligence in those difficult circumstances, I thought was very impressive as well."

That's why the Celtics, with the No. 16 pick in Thursday's draft, moved up to the No. 13 slot after Oklahoma City took Steven Adams of Pittsburgh with the No. 12 pick. There was some concern that the Bucks would try and scoop up Olynyk with the No. 15 selection.

The Mavericks gave the C's the No. 13 selection in exchange for Boston's No. 16 pick and two future second-round picks.

But as much as folks know Olynyk for his game, it's those long, golden locks of his that draws a decent amount of attention as well.

During his introductory press conference, Ainge made more than a couple of passing references in jest, to the 7-footer's lengthy mane.

"We made (Celtics co-owner) Steve Pagliuca get a haircut, hoping he would set the example for Kelly," quipped Ainge who later added in jest, "like a told you, he's like a hippie from Eugene, Oregon, 1977."

His parents didn't really put up much of a fuss as those golden locks kept getting longer and longer and ...

"My wife had a thing, we're not real excited about piercings," Ken Olynyk said. "What she said is if long hair is the worst thing that can happen, we can live with that. So that's kind of the whole thing; we made the trade off, there's no question about it. And it's kind of become a brand, a trademark for him. So that's alright."

And as the Celtics look to rebuild their roster in the coming years, Olynyk is a great example of how taking a step or two back can provide a jumping-off pad for greater success in the future.

When it was clear that he would have a limited role heading into the 2011-2012 season, Olynyk opted to redshirt that season.

He acknowledges that it was a difficult decision to make, especially considering he had two seasons under his belt in the Bulldogs program and there was no guarantee that he would develop into an impact player once he returned.

But the move paid off handsomely, evident by him winning several individual accolades, earning All-America status and on Thursday, being a lottery pick (top-14).

"It's tough to make that sacrifice," Olynyk said of redshirting. "But when you think about it, you need to make sacrifices in order to make gains in life. So I look at it that way, it was something that needed to be done. Looking back on it, it was a great decision."