Thomas Olsen is leaving the Orcas’ pod for a wolf pack.
The Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, to be precise.
The Elgin Park Secondary Grade 12 basketball star – who has captained his high-school teams since Grade 8 – signed to play with the Kamloops university on Feb. 18, TRU men’s basketball coach Scott Clark confirmed to Peace Arch News Monday.
In addition to playing for the Elgin Park Orcas – which, like other high-school sports teams across the province, saw its 2020-’21 season wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Olsen, a six-foot-three point guard, has also played club basketball with Drive Basketball and Surrey-based AthElite Basketball Academy.
Though he was unable to see him play in person because the hoops season was cancelled, Clark said he was impressed by what he saw of Olsen on video, and was equally impressed by the teen during a meeting at the Kamloops campus last year.
“You’d like to get out and see kids play, normally, but that’s just an impossibility this year… but I think it’s a good fit. He’s a good student and from his tape, you can see that he’s got good size and is a good athlete,” said Clark.
“He can do everything, which is kind of what we look for in a basketball player. He can dribble it, he can shoot it, he can pass. He’s probably got to get better at all those things, but he’s got a lot you can build on.
“I think he can develop into a guy who can defend and rebound his position. And if someone can rebound and defend his position, then that’s a good place to start – and if he can defend multiple positions, that’s even better and I think he might even have the ability to do that.”
In a note announcing his commitment to TRU, Olson thanked the many coaches who’ve helped him through the years – starting with his dad, Mark; his YMCA youth coach Greg Levy, his club coaches and his Elgin Park coach, Kirk Homenick.
Clark said he’s known Homenick – a former player at the University of Southern California – for years, and it was the Elgin coach who first reccomended Olsen to him.
“We’re really happy that we were able to attract a guy like Thomas to Thompson Rivers University,” Clark said.