NBA Draft Blog Interview with Olek Czyz

There are a lot of roads to the NBA.  Players come from almost everywhere these days, and sometimes the road they take can tell you a lot about them, both as a player and as a person.  Olek Czyz grew up across the street from the biggest basketball school in Poland.  Every day as a kid, he would look at it and want to get in there and play.  However, Czyz was not allowed to play until he reached the 4th grade.  So, he settled for soccer in the meantime, but he kept waiting for that day when he would be let in to the school and play basketball.  Finally, the 4th grade comes, Olek gets to play basketball for the first time, and with his love of the game, another road to the NBA begins  Czyz came to the United States, settling in Reno, Nevada right before he was to start high school.  As he adjusted to life and basketball in the US, he proved to be a natural at the game.  His work and skill led to him earning a scholarship to Duke, but it didn’t prove to be the best place for him to continue to develop, so he headed back to Reno and decided to play locally, for the University of Nevada.  After sitting out a year, Czyz made up for a lot of lost time, eventually putting together 2 very good seasons for the Wolfpack while also showing many new facets to his game.  I had the chance to speak to Czyz, who is participating in the upcoming adidas Eurocamp, about how his game developed, what he can bring to teams, and more:

Olek on his development in college

“In high school, I had played mostly as a post player since I was the tallest guy on the team.  I was playing really physical, trying to dunk every time I got the ball, but there was little finesse to my game.  Also, I was still going through a transition to the US, both culturally and in basketball.  When I got to college, I had the chance to become more versatile.  At Duke, they played me more as a perimeter 4, and then when I got to Nevada, I had the chance to shoot more jumpers and work more to score outside the lane.”


Olek on his strengths as a player: 

“I think my athleticism is my biggest strength, and what I am most known for.  But, I am also a strong, physical player.  Overall, my athleticism and versatility allow me to play in different spots.”


Olek on what parts of his game he still wants to improve:

“I need to keep working on my perimeter game, especially using ball screen more.  I have always been used as the guy setting the screens, so I need to learn to use them more looking to make plays.  I always want to improve every part of my game, what I do well and what I am adding to it.”


Olek on his role at the next level:

“I think I can be a great role player to start.  I can bring intensity on a consistent basis to any team.  I can play physical, or I can stretch the floor.  I think I am versatile enough to be a great compliment to my teammates.  Whatever the team needs from me, I will look to do it.”


Olek on attending the upcoming Eurocamp:

“This is a big chance for me.  A lot of people may still not know who I am and are getting their first look at me.  I am looking forward to showing everyone all the parts of my game I have been working on.  My ultimate goal is the NBA.  It’s been my dream since I was a little kid, so Eurocamp is a big step forward in fulfilling that dream.”

Olek on what he wants teams and fans to know about him:

“This is my thing.  When I play basketball, I am like a fish in water.  I am goal-driven and I am determined to accomplish everything I have my mind set on.  Having the opportunity that I have is an honor and a dream come true.”

I want to thank Olek for his time and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  Playing for the big name school doesn’t always guarantee that a player will be a great player.  Playing for the right school will do a lot more to bring out a player’s potential and Olek is proof of this.  Once Olek got to Nevada, he started to show the makings of someone who will be a very good professional player.  Beyond the physical part, Olek also has a great understanding and love for the game, and he is just starting to scratch the surface of the player he will eventually become.  I know I am really looking forward to see that player, and basketball fans should too.


Check back in the coming weeks for more great interviews and scouting reports as we head towards the 2012 NBA Draft.  Follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog – for updates, leave your comments below, or feel free to email me at [email protected]


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