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WolfPack lock up Ondrik
For The Morning Star
KAMLOOPS – The Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack men’s basketball team has added another piece in their rebuilding program for next season by signing 18-year-old guard/forward Will Ondrik of Vernon.
Ondrik played this past season with the B.C. AAA High School White Rock Christian Academy Warriors, where he averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He played his senior year at WRCA after transferring from Vernon Secondary.
“He is a 6-foot-7 kid who is very skilled,” said WolfPack head coach Scott Clark. “He can play facing the basket and do lots of things. He can shoot, he can bounce it, pass it and is a guy who has a big upside. I think he can get some minutes early in his career. ”
Both Ondrik and Clark agree on what he should work on: getting stronger.
“I have to get into the weight room for sure,” said Ondrik.
Added Clark: “He has a decent frame and body right now but he can add to that. If he does that, he can really add to our basketball program.”
Clark says the winning tradition of White Rock Christian can only rub off on Ondrik.
“Their coach, John Dykstra, has done a great job with the high school program. That is one of the factors we are looking for: guys who come from winning programs who have a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. Ondrik is one of those players.”
Dykstra has high praise for Ondrik. “Will was our go to guy this season depending on the team we were playing and our preferred matchups. Will played all five positions at different times throughout the season for us.
“He is very skilled at beating his defender from the perimeter in one- on-one isolation situations, so we, of course looked for these opportunities as much as possible. This season, Will also worked on developing the ability to post up in the paint. Taking advantage of his size, jumping ability and touch around the rim.”
“If this were the NBA draft, we would have gotten a sleeper,” added Clark, who first noticed Ondrik at the B.C. Under 17 tryouts last season.
“He might have been 6-4 or 6-5 at the time. Then I saw him late this year and was impressed with his size.”
Dykstra believes he will have a fairly easy transition to CIS.
“Will has been competing with CIS players in scrimmage settings the last two years. With all the WRCA alumni in the CIS or NCAA, the open gym runs are always packed with talent. I believe Will has the potential to one day be a CIS all-star calibre player. One on one, he’s as good a player you’ll find in the CIS. I anticipate Will being a CIS Rookie of the Year candidate next season.”
Dykstra knows talent too, playing NCAA Division I basketball at Tennessee Tech University and Division II University of Alaska-Anchorage.
Ondrik played junior high basketball against current WolfPack players Brett Rouault and Travis Beck, both Fulton Maroons grads.
“They were very excited to find out that Will committed to our program,” said Clark. “It is great for us to get a local product to stay home. That is one of our mandates – to have the talented local kids not go somewhere else to play.”
Clark doesn’t like to compare new players to current ones, but he is going out on a limb with Ondrik.
“He could be a lot like Chas (Kok, fourth year, Lynden, Wa.). Chas is a guy who can do a little bit of everything. Sometimes he brings the ball up the court, sometimes he is the guy we are running the offence through or getting other kids open. Will is that type of a guy. He has a lot of flexibility to play forward or guard but is not a firm definition of both. Will is simply a basketball player.”
Ondrik was considering UBCO, UBC, Trinity Western, University of Fraser Valley and Grant McEwen but decided to take Natural Resource Science at TRU instead.
“It’s close to home, it has great facilities and a great coach.”
Ondrik is the fourth new hoop face at TRU. The other three are from Las Vegas and the Lower Mainland.