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Wiltjer getting the Kelly Olynyk pitch?



Stop me if this is familiar: a long, mildly athletic Canadian with a smooth outside jumper is about to enter his junior year facing a logjam at the forward spot. As a result, he is forced to weigh his options. He can either accept his fate as a key reserve and play out his junior year on schedule, or, he can redshirt– by choice, or as a result of transfer. The first option may be preferable to the team (insert cliche about depth here), but the latter is definitely the most advantageous for the young Canuck. A year off will not only free up some PT in the front court, it will also give him some much-needed time to get his body stronger, and to make his game less one-dimensional.

Oh, you thought I was talking about Wiltjer? Nope. I’m talking about Kelly Olynyk. You know, the incredibly goofy Gonzaga star who used a redshirt year to turn himself into a lottery pick.

A couple of posts down, Tyler evoked Jeff Sheppard’s name while laying out Wiltjer’s options for next year. And, while an apt comparison, it’s not quite as timely or relevant as the Olynyk one.

As mentioned, Olynyk has more in common with Wiltjer than just the maple syrup that runs through their bloodstreams. While obviously not carbon copies, they share a lot of the same strengths on the court (size, scoring ability, etc). More importantly though, Olynyk’s weaknesses at the end of his sophomore year were almost identical to the knocks that exist on Wiltjer right now.

Why does this matter? Because Olynyk took a year away from the court, worked his tail off, and turned himself into an elite college player and NBA prospect. And he did it at Gonzaga under the tutelage of Mark Few. You know, the same school at the top of Kyle Wiltjer’s not-so-top-secret transfer list.

I agree with Tyler that Kyle’s best option is to redshirt. I also agree (obviously) that the best place for him is UK. If he can get bigger, stronger, and faster during a redshirt year, he could be downright lethal if surrounded by the right pieces. If Wiltjer’s willing to work, I have no doubt that Cal will be able to get the most out of him. And at the end of the day, Kentucky is Kentucky, and Gonzaga isn’t.

That said, don’t be surprised if Mark Few is trying to convince him that he can be 2014-2015’s Kelly Olynyk.  The ties between the two poutine-loving big men are too strong to ignore, and given Olynyk’s success on the court this past year, it’s an undeniably good pitch for the Zags to make.

Let’s just hope that the pull of Cal and the BBN is stronger than that of the Pacific Northwest and the opportunity to follow in his Canadian brethren’s footsteps.


Article written by Andrew McCarthy

26 Comments for Wiltjer getting the Kelly Olynyk pitch?

  1. aye!!
    3:10 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink


  2. Eazy E or Eric Wright it's all the same
    3:17 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Had to do a double-take on that pic to see if that was really Kyle Wiltjer’s face. They kinda look alike to me. Excellent crop job my friend.

  3. brain
    3:37 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    You must want him to leave UK.

  4. MadTex
    3:39 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Do you want a dumb slow player on your team who can’t play defense??? I don’t and I’m glad he is leaving UK!!!!

  5. tyson
    3:44 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    LOL I appreciate what you guys are doing on KSR and I love the site, but can you guys promise we won’t have another Kyle Wiltjer related post for at least 24 hours unless it is news that he is staying or going?

    I know it’s the dead period, but with as much going on in Football how about focusing on that. Like our recruits that are actually on campas and working out now. I would love to know more about them.

  6. crazy8s
    3:51 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    I’m glad to hear Kyle is thinking through his options. Even if we haven’t seen what we hoped in his first two years, he seems like a great kid, and he’s only taking up one scholarship. Do you really want to trade him for an unused scholarship? If he redshirts and comes back stronger and faster he’ll see the floor. If not, Cal will get other players to pick up the slack. If Kyle doesn’t earn it, he won’t play. If he does earn it, we’ll want him on our side. That said, I’ll wish him luck even if he goes. I’ll always thank of him as a goofy, white wildcat.

  7. Larry Linebeard
    3:57 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    6- well if he only takes up one scholarship we should really try to keep him, I thought he used up 3

  8. Bojangles
    3:59 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Are we just assuming that Cal will LET him redshirt?

  9. cracka
    3:59 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    why not just use jorts as an example of a big guy with a jumper who wasn’t very athletic and was thought to be pushed out of playing time by cal’s big time recruits … he worked his tail off, changed his body and made it to the league … kyle has more offensive game to begin with

  10. PoutineMeansWhat?
    4:01 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Had to look it up: Poutine – noun,Canadian,
    a dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
    Remember (from Pulp Fiction) in France, McDonald’s serves mayonnaise with fries.

  11. Wedding Planner
    4:07 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    If we can get Exum, I’d rather have Wiltjer transfer

  12. J in Orlando
    4:11 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    9 Jorts was very good close to the basket. Kyle is not. Kyle has to learn how to help the team when the jumper isnt falling. That is his biggest problem at UK…he offers little when his shot isnt falling.

  13. Coach
    4:13 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    His defensive shortcomings were compounded by cal. Polson should have started & played the whole year. I hope he makes you guys eat your racist words.

  14. cracka
    4:21 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    12 – jorts was good close to the basket? really? in his junior year before he got in shape, he avg 4 min, 1.3 pts and 1.2 reb … i don’t know what you saw that year that makes you think that. kyle actually has back to the basket post moves and has backed guys down and scored on them … the problem is his lack of strength requires him 10 seconds to get his shot off after posting up.

  15. J in Orlando
    4:31 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    14 Obviously I am referring to the year he actually got playing time…Jorts and Kyle are not even close to the same type of player

  16. Coach
    4:33 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Willis is a similar player to wiltjer, but a better athlete. We will see if he gets developed or is he just another token? Do you really think Kyle never worked out at uk? Cal doesn’t develope players.

  17. jpizzle
    4:36 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Great Photoshop!

  18. Coach?
    4:39 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Please #16-Change your name.

  19. Coach
    4:45 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    #18 , cry me a river. Jabroni!

  20. bmt22033
    5:01 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    With all due respect to Kelly Olynyk, the 2014 draft is going to be 10x better than this years draft. *I* might have gone in the first round this year. 😉

  21. mudcreekmark
    5:57 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    Here is my two cents. If you want to get stronger and work on your body and change your nutrition and work on your speed and do all these things to get better, who has more resources than UK? If he wants a one on one personal trainer that will watch every calorie that goes into his mouth, who is most likely to provide this? No one is going to be able to give him more of what he is looking for that the school where he is at. So why not suck it up, admit you haven’t been taking advantage of the resources that have been available and stick it out at the best basketball school in the world. Practice and play against and with the best college players in the nation every day. If his dream is to play in the NBA, why would you want to go anywhere else. If Coach Cal cannot get you to the NBA, you are not NBA material. Plain and simple. Who else could have gotten Liggins and Jorts drafted? No one. Who else could have gotten Orton and Goodwin drafted in the first round? No one. So why would you want to go to any other school? Suck it up, swallow your pride and get to work.

  22. UKBlue
    6:08 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    People don’t see it that Kyle is doing Cal a favor by leaving; it frees up a scholarship to go after the guard Cal wants.

  23. Coach
    6:45 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    #20, your opinions are those of an uninformed ding a ling. #22, that’s why cal asked him to leave.

  24. JBCat
    10:37 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink


    Post of the day

  25. Coach
    11:24 pm July 1, 2013 Permalink

    #24, ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  26. UK22
    12:14 am July 2, 2013 Permalink

    Would love to see him stay either way. Just step your game up Kyle, hit the wight room!