Despite being a 21 year old entering his senior year, Olek Czyz
hasn't logged very many minutes at the collegiate level. Entering Duke as a prized recruit out of Reno, Nevada, the native of Poland played sparse minutes during a little over a year at Durham before transferring back to Reno, this time as a member of the Nevada Wolf Pack.
The transfer away from Duke cost Czyz all but 6 games of his sophomore year and required him to sit out the first semester of his junior year at Nevada. This has left the incoming senior not having played a full season of college basketball yet and with much to prove, much like his underachieving Nevada team.
Czyz stands 6'7 and is a very good run and jump athlete, playing primarily as a face-up power forward at Nevada, which has allowed him to become an extremely efficient inside-outside threat at the collegiate level. Not being an especially prolific shooter in high school, Czyz's form and consistency has improved immensely, to the point where his 1.294 points per possession on jump shots was among the top 3 percent in college basketball last year according to Synergy Sports Technology. While not getting tremendous elevation in his release, Czyz shows a consistent, repeatable release with good balance and follow through. Czyz converted an astounding 48.9% of his catch and shoot opportunities last year, a skill set that would translate well to the next level as his role changes.
While not a high volume post player, Czyz does offer some ability down there when the matchup is advantageous. He primarily operates over his right shoulder, with a combination of left handed hooks and drives that may catch some defenders off, as Czyz is right handed. His footwork in the post also appears to be improving, as he's showing some spins, up and under, and counter moves that have expanded his post repertoire.
To effectively make the conversion to the small forward position, Czyz would benefit from improving his ball-handling ability. He's capable of getting to the hoop on straight line lives, and is a good leaper, but doesn't offer much in the way of advanced ball handling moves on the perimeter, and can be turnover prone when asked to do too much. He's once again left handed dominant, preferring to drive and finish with his left hand. His touch around the hoop isn't stellar, but he has good leaping ability and doesn't shy away from contact, getting to the line a respectable 5.5 times per 40 minutes pace adjusted.
Off the ball, Czyz moves well, and his previously mentioned catch and shoot ability is a skill that should translate fairly well. He moves well on cuts, and has solid hands and gets off the ground quickly, allowing him to be effective despite not having great touch around the hoop. He also has a strong second jump, so while not a prolific offensive rebounder he does a good job of converting these opportunities when he gets them.
Czyz can appear to be out of control at times offensively, forcing shots with a higher degree of difficulty than he needs to. While he displays a consistently high effort level, he will need to reign that in and play smart offensive basketball to successfully convert to a role player at the next level.
He's also a surprisingly poor free throw shooter considering his 3-point prowess, making just 60% of his attempts from the charity stripe last year.
How Czyz will translate on the defensive side of the ball is cause for concern. He doesn't have the size, lower body strength or length to play the power forward for extending periods of time at the next level, and his poor defensive rebounding (5.4 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes, pace adjusted) would be towards the bottom of our database for a power forward prospect. On the perimeter, his lateral foot speed is an issue, and he can at times get lost off the ball and seems to lack focus. What position he can defend, if any, may be the most important question he can answer when battling for a NBA roster spot.
After starting the season 2-7 while Czyz sat out, the Wolf Pack went a more respectable 11-12 down the stretch with him in the lineup. Returning 4 double digit scorers, Nevada should be in position to be better than they were last year, which could help Czyz gain some much-needed exposure. Czyz's spot-up shooting ability and run and jump athleticism potentially allows him to fit in the right offensive scheme as a role player, but he will have to show that he can play more under control and, more importantly, show that he can competently defend a position at the next level.