Olek Czyz transferred from Duke in December to play for his hometown Nevada Wolfpack, and, from the looks of it, he’s out of sight, out of mind for the Blue Devils. On Saturday, at Jon Scheyer’s May Madness: Gaming to Give — a video-game-based charity event, with all proceeds benefiting the Jimmy V Foundation and the Emily K Center — visitors could stick their head in the team’s annual poster. This year, it had a “GoodFellas” theme, which, of course, you remember. Even young fans got involved.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the hole was right where Czyz’s head used to be. Ouch! Double whammy for Czyz –not only did he miss out on a title by transferring, but now he has 5-year olds posing where his head used to be.
Carrick Felix, a 6-foot-6 wing player from the College of Southern Idaho, announced via his facebook page Tuesday that he intended to accept Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s scholarship offer and join the Blue Devils.
Felix is described as an extremely athletic player (a scouting report from Rivals.com described him as possessing “NBA Athleticism”) who is a tough-nosed defender on the perimeter and a hard, dedicated worker with upside on the offensive end as well. Felix averaged 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds this season for the Golden Eagles while leading his team in blocks with 37.
“He’s an extreme athlete, a real high flier,” CSI coach Steve Gosar told Scout.com’s Dave Telep. “He’s got great conditioning and runs the court really well.
“He’s a great kid, he plays hard. He’s 6-feet-6, 195 pounds and a great kid. He’s all about winning. He’s got a big upside with three years to play. He’ll be all about the program. He’s got an unbelievable mom who has raised him to be a really good person.”
The signing of a junior college transfer is an unprecedented step for Krzyzewski, who has accepted only three transfer players during his entire tenure at the helm of the Blue Devils, all of whom came from four-year institutions—Roshown McLeod from St. John’s in 1995, Dahntay Jones from Rutgers in 2000 and Seth Curry from Liberty in 2009.
Due to NCAA transfer rules for players leaving junior colleges, Felix will not be required to sit out a season, as Curry has done this season. Felix will have three years of eligibility with the Blue Devils after he arrives on campus.
The signing of Felix was made possible when sophomore Olek Czyz opted to transfer to Nevada, opening up an additional scholarship available for the 2010-2011 season.
Felix’s athletic ability is on display in the following Youtube clips, which show him competing in his team’s preseason dunk contest. What do you think about the Felix signing and Coach K breaking with precedent by signing a JUCO player? Excited by the signing?
Czyz visited both Nevada and Arizona State recently, but his decision may have come down to playing time. ESPN analyzed his decision: “Arizona State has a bevy of talented and athletic forwards as well as incoming 7-foot-2 big Jordan Bachynski which could equal a crowded frontcourt with little minutes for Czyz.” Czyz’s primary concern at Duke was playing time, so it is no surprise that he chose the Wolfpack, where minutes are much more likely.
While at Duke, the sophomore guard averaged just 1.2 points per game. Czyz began this year as a starter, playing in the place of the suspended Nolan Smith. After playing 24 minute against UNC-Greensboro, Czyz didn’t play more than 15 minutes in any other game this season. In his final five games before transferring, Czyz played just three total minutes.
Duke’s 2009 recruiting class was hailed for yielding two skilled big men to bolster a front-court that most national prognosticators had deemed the Blue Devils’ weakness for much of the post-Shelden Williams era. But while Mason Plumlee has stolen most of the spotlight (at least before a wrist injury contributed to him losing his projected starting job), many may have forgotten that it was in fact Ryan Kelly who was the higher-rated prospect of the two, at least according to both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Freshman Ryan Kelly (center) might have finally broken out Saturday against Gonzaga, scoring five points and blocking an impressive four Bulldog shots in 10 minutes of action.
Kelly did take advantage of the extra minutes provided by Plumlee’s injury early on in the season against the traditional “tune-up” opponents, averaging 16 minutes per game in Duke’s first four contests, including scoring eight points in the season opener against UNC Greensboro and nine against Radford.
But when Duke entered the meat of their non-conference schedule, Kelly seemed to disappear. The freshman played only a combined 12 minutes against Arizona State and Connecticut, failing to score in either game. Kelly didn’t see the floor at all in Duke’s loss at Wisconsin, and then scored only two points in six minutes against St. John’s.
The common denominator amongst these higher-caliber opponents was their stronger front-courts, which made Kelly, who head coach Mike Krzyzewski said before the season would serve mostly as a perimeter player due to an illness over the summer that impeded his development, a less appealing option in the post. Still, it might have seemed mildly alarming that the player that many considered the gem of Duke’s 2009 recruiting class was failing to produce on the biggest stages.
Saturday against Gonzaga, however, Kelly might have taken his first steps in putting those fears to rest. Continue reading →
The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Nevada is actively recruiting Duke forward Olek Czyz, who announced this week that he will transfer. The Wolf Pack has received permission from the Blue Devils’ program to contact with the sophomore. Czyz still has two and a half years of eligibility but must sit out the remainder of the 2009-2010 season.
The Wolf Pack basketball program has received permission from Duke University to recruit Olek Czyz, the former Reno High star who will transfer out of the Blue Devils’ program between semesters.
Nevada received the written release paper and can now contact Czyz, who is able to take up to five official campus visits before signing with a team.
Before committing to Duke, Czyz won two state championships with the Reno Huskies. He was recruited by a number of schools with storied basketball programs, including Arizona State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Nevada. Two players currently on Nevada’s roster—Keith Olson and Luke Babbitt—played with Czyz on his former AAU team, the Las Vegas Prospects.
After visiting Duke in September of 2007, Czyz committed just 11 days later to become a Blue Devil. Since his arrival to Durham, however, Czyz has received little playing time. In six games this season, the sophomore averaged just over 10 minutes per game and has scored 2.5 points per contest. Czyz is a fan favorite, however, and is known for his high-flying, acrobatic dunks. The Duke program says it will miss his presence.
“Olek has a bright future ahead of him and we wish him the best of luck,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “He has been a valued member of the Duke Basketball family and we will support him through his impending transfer.”
UPDATE | 10:30 a.m.: Sophomore forward Olek Czyz will transfer from Duke, the program announced in a statement this morning. A native of Poland who went to high school in Reno, Czyz is expected to matriculate to another Division-I school.
“Olek has a bright future ahead of him and we wish him the best of luck,” Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “He has been a valued member of the Duke Basketball family and we will support him through his impending transfer.”
With Czyz’s departure, Miles Plumlee remains as the only Class of 2008 recruit. Czyz is the fifth Duke transfer in five years, joining Elliot Williams, Taylor King, Jamal Boykin and Eric Boateng as players who have left the Blue Devils to join another programs.
11:30 p.m.: TheHoopsReport.com is reporting that Duke forward Olek Czyz has been released from his scholarship and will seek to transfer before the second semester begins. If Czyz is able to find a new school before the start of the semester, NCAA rules will allow him to begin playing midway through next season, instead of forcing him to wait until the 2011-2012 campaign.
Sophomore forward Olek Czyz started Duke's first two contests this season and has averaged 2.5 points per game this year.
If Czyz completes his transfer, it would leave Miles Plumlee as the lone remaining member of Duke’s 2008 recruiting class. Guard Elliot Williams transferred to Memphis over the summer in order to be closer to his ill mother.
Despite being rated a four star prospect by Scout.com and a key member of the 2008 recruiting class, Czyz’s potential and athletic ability never materialized into tangible results on the floor. Czyz averaged 0.6 points in only 3.9 minutes of playing time per game last year, and despite playing solidly while starting early this season in the place of a suspended Nolan Smith, Czyz’s production waned when Smith returned to the starting lineup. Czyz has improved noticeably this season; however, the sophomore has still averaged just over 10 minutes of playing time and 2.5 points per game.
Czyz’s departure is yet to be confirmed by the Duke athletic department, and Sports Information Director Matt Plizga declined comment to The Chronicle earlier today. The Chronicle will continue to follow this developing story and any response from Duke Basketball.