Kent Olewiler mentioned he is at all times had hassle taking no for a solution.
Particularly on the subject of basketball.
Get minimize from a staff? Exit for it once more. Do not get the chance he needs? Maintain looking for it.
Irrespective of what number of setbacks he faces or locations he has to maneuver.
“I simply preserve my objectives,” he mentioned. “Most youngsters get discouraged when going through this a lot adversity. I’ve taken failure and allowed it to steer me to my objectives. I’ve taken issues as a chance.”
A 2020 York Excessive graduate, Olewiler just lately made the New Mexico State males’s basketball roster as a most popular walk-on and has been coaching with the staff all summer season. The Aggies are one of the crucial profitable mid main Division I applications within the nation with eight NCAA Match appearances and a median document of 25-8 since 2012.
It is a caliber of program few YAIAA gamers attain. However Olewiler by no means even performed varsity basketball within the York-Adams league. He was a JV participant throughout three years at Central York and did not play his senior 12 months at York Excessive as a result of his switch wasn’t authorized.
Going from no varsity expertise to the Division I degree is a uncommon state of affairs ― if not fully unheard. 2016 Dallastown grad Julian Adams made Drexel’s roster as a walk-on after serving as a task participant in highschool, however Olewiler by no means appeared in a single varsity recreation.
Nonetheless, those that coached Olewiler are usually not shocked he is discovered his present alternative. Standing near 6-foot-4, he has the mix of top, size and capturing capacity that faculties search for in capturing guards.
“I am not stunned,” former Central York coach Kevin Schieler mentioned. “He has a ardour for the sport and at all times wished to work on his craft. Faculty coaches see that. Size is an enormous factor with coaches and after they see 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-5 wingspan, they get excited.”
“I believed Kent was a (smaller faculty) scholarship child,” York Excessive coach Clovis Gallon mentioned. “New Mexico State is a nice shock, however I wish to imagine if all of our children work laborious sufficient they will get a chance like that.
“Kent was at all times tremendous assured in his skillset. I’d say an above common degree of confidence.”
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That confidence and dedication ― together with maybe some stubbornness ― has helped Olewiler get to the place he’s now. Having performed AAU basketball all through highschool, he was recruited by a lot of NCAA Division III colleges and performed one season at Japanese College exterior Philadelphia. He averaged 4.7 factors in 12 minutes per recreation as a freshman however wished to go to a better degree and transferred to Division II Newman in Wichita.
When a concussion led to a medical redshirt, he saved reaching out to school coaches on social media till a reference to New Mexico State coach Greg Heiar led to a walk-on supply.
Why was he so decided to maintain climbing the collegiate ladder as an alternative of creating himself at smaller faculty?
“Why not?” Olewiler responded. “That was my total mentality about this. I do know I can do that, it simply relies upon if I wish to put the work in.”
Olewiler’s journey has included loads of laborious work and resourcefulness. But it surely’s additionally required bettering the issues that held him again in highschool whereas nonetheless honing his strengths.
He is realized to take the positives from irritating conditions whereas understanding that he nonetheless has a lot to study.
“I am right here, proper?,” he mentioned about his path to the Division I degree. “I would not be on this place if it wasn’t for the highschool journey I had. It exhibits I am keen to develop.”
A ‘flashy’ child
Rising up, Olewiler was extra of a baseball participant and did not begin organized basketball till seventh grade.
He at all times believed the pure expertise he confirmed in pickup video games would carry him in any state of affairs.
He now is aware of there’s extra to it than that.
“There is a distinction between park basketball and arranged basketball,” he mentioned. “My highschool days had been after I could not discover a change between the 2.
“I used to be form of the flashy child that coaches did not like.”
His highschool coaches would not phrase it fairly like that, however they know the place he is coming from.
Olewiler grew up within the York Suburban College District however his household moved to Central York earlier than his freshman 12 months. He made the JV basketball staff as a freshman however was minimize his sophomore 12 months. He made the staff as a junior however remained on JV.
Underneath Schieler, the Panthers had been constantly among the best applications within the YAIAA and well-known for his or her depth, protection and balanced offense. For instance, their 2020 squad went 24-5 and received the league title however did not have any participant common greater than 10.5 factors per recreation.
That system did not match Olewiler’s model of play. He preferred to have the ball in his arms and search for his shot.
He mentioned he thought he may have gotten a chance on the varsity degree, however acknowledged he wanted to enhance his protection and his willingness to assimilate to a team-first strategy.
“That was a part of the deal at Central,” Olewiler mentioned. “Different youngsters had been within the system for therefore a few years, and I used to be the brand new child who did not get the spiel of how Central basketball labored. I used to be form of flashy, and it took me some time to comprehend that is not what coaches need. It’s important to play a task. I’ve realized that however after I was youthful I did not perceive that.”
“We had a protection that wasn’t simple to choose up, and he struggled with that,” Schieler added. “He was an excellent shooter however wanted to adapt on the defensive finish. In one other program with a special system he would’ve performed an even bigger half.”
Earlier than his senior season, Olewiler thought of transferring to a prep faculty however determined to stay at Central. Main as much as the season, Olewiler mentioned it was obvious he wasn’t in line to get a lot taking part in time for the Panthers. He determined to switch to York Excessive “proper earlier than” the beginning of basketball season.
Central York didn’t log off on the paperwork to make Olewiler eligible to play, citing it was made for athletic causes and never a reliable transfer. Olewiler mentioned his dad had moved to the Metropolis of York College District a couple of months prior, however acknowledged he transferred as a result of it was “a chance to go play since I knew I wasn’t going to play at Central.”
Gallon and Schieler declined to touch upon the state of affairs. Even when Olewiler was authorized to play, he would not have been eligible to play within the postseason as a result of PIAA’s switch rule.
Nonetheless, Olewiler practiced and attended video games with York Excessive all through the season. Gallon known as him a “breath of recent air within the locker room” and mentioned he scored 17 factors in a single quarter throughout a preseason scrimmage. The Bearcats completed the season 20-8 and made the state playoffs.
“We had been a very good staff, and he would’ve been a high three scorer for us,” Gallon mentioned. “He needed to work on his offensive consciousness and competing on the defensive finish. However he may rating the basketball.”
Olewiler mentioned he would not have any animosity towards Central York and mentioned he is grown as an individual from his time there.
“I am not pointing any fingers. I am grateful for what occurred,” he mentioned. “I perceive the sport a lot otherwise now and have a special perspective. It is a staff sport, and the one factor that issues is getting that W.”
Adapting to a ‘completely different’ degree
Olewiler speaks with a real confidence about himself and his talents on the basketball court docket. He mentioned he realized from his mother and father at a younger age that he may “do something you need should you put your thoughts to it.”
However when requested about training with a Division I staff this summer season, he acquired candid in a short time.
“Oh, it is completely different,” he mentioned. “Positively the dimensions but in addition simply the pace of every thing. Everyone seems to be so good it is form of ridiculous. There is no room to mess up or something.”
Olewiler first reached out to New Mexico State coach Greg Heiar two years in the past when he was an assistant at East Tennessee State. Their communication ramped up this previous 12 months when Heiar was teaching at Northwest Florida State Faculty ―the highest junior school program within the nation.
Heiar was named New Mexico State’s head coach in March and prolonged Olewiler a most popular walk-on spot in Might.
“I watched some video and did some background on him and he appeared like an incredible younger man,” Heiar mentioned. “He could make photographs, has good athleticism and is a tough employee. He is very inquisitive with a ardour for basketball and appears to have a bit little bit of a chip on his shoulder. All of these are optimistic issues that may make practices higher and others round him higher.”
It is not simple for non-scholarship gamers to make the rotation, and Olewiler is aware of he should serve a selected function for the Aggies. He joked that capturing 3-pointers is “all he is allowed to do.”
Together with one different factor …
“My capacity to play protection is what is going on to get me on the court docket,” Olewiler mentioned. “Straight out of highschool, I did not know what protection was, and it held me again. That and understanding the psychological aspect of the sport are some issues which have grown loads.”
Olewiler has three years of eligibility remaining and is decided to turn out to be a standout participant for the Aggies. He hopes to finally play abroad however can also be majoring in enterprise with the aim of working within the sports activities trade.
Whereas he stays assured in chasing these objectives, he is additionally not taking his present alternative without any consideration.
“I am so grateful simply to even be right here. I am unable to even clarify it,” he mentioned. “I’ve solely been getting higher. Simply being round these guys is making me stronger and sooner. I am studying loads.”
Matt Allibone is a sports activities reporter for GameTimePA. He could be reached at 717-881-8221, [email protected] or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.
This text initially appeared on York Every day Document: York County’s Kent Olewiler makes New Mexico State basketball roster