In the months leading up to the 2015-16 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Alex Olah of the Northwestern Wildcats, who came in at #13 in the rankings. While Northwestern basketball may be most well known for never making it to the NCAA Tournament, Olah will look to change that in his senior season.
‘BTP 25'- #13 Alex Olah
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 96 games, 2,602 minutes, 864 points, 518 rebounds, 136 assists
- 2014-15 Averages: 29.4 min, 11.7 pts, 6.9 rbs, 1.5 asts, 1.8 blks, 0.6 stls
- Positional Role: Center
After moving from Romania to the United States for high school, Olah was not highly recruited. In fact, the Wildcats were the lone scholarship offer for the 7-footer. With just a 2-star grade from ESPN, Olah came in to Northwestern with very low expectations. He has since exceeded what pretty much anyone thought he could be and turned in to one of the best big men in the Big Ten.
Olah has been very consistent for the Wildcats over his career, missing just one game in his three seasons on campus. In his three years combined, he has averaged 9 points and 5.4 rebounds. The Romanian center uses his length well on the defensive end, contesting a lot of shots at the rim averaging nearly 2 blocks per game last season. Offensively, Olah finishes around the basket when he has to and was Chris Collins' 2nd leading scorer in his junior season averaging 11.7 points per game. He's improved his short hook shot and strength throughout his career and seems to have a bigger role in the Wildcats offense each season. The big man has shot the ball well from the free throw line throughout his career, improving every season including a 75% mark from the stripe last season.
Areas for Improvement
After playing a lot of minutes in three years at Northwestern, Olah doesn't have a ton of holes in his game as he is a very solid player. One aspect of his game that would challenge opposing defenses a lot more is if Olah could consistently step out and hit a jump shot. Two years ago, he shot 33 3-pointers and connected on 10 of them, but last year he attempted 38 3-pointers and made just 9. This was a disappointing output in an area of Olah's game that most thought he might work on most in the offseason. Chris Collins' team would be a lot more dangerous if his 7-foot center could stretch floor with some consistency. Olah also needs to continue to get stronger around the rim and use his size over smaller defenders to draw double teams that will open the floor for Northwestern's shooters.
I expect Alex Olah to be one of the best bigs in the Big Ten. He should continue to expand his game offensively and average more than 13 points per game. If he worked on his touch from the outside in the offseason, Olah could spark the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament birth. Not only can Olah improve his numbers by expanding his game offensively, but the whole Wildcats' offense could see improved numbers if the 7-footer can command attention from the defense inside and out.
- Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Kendrick Nunn (Illinois)
- #24 - Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern)
- #22 (tie) Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland)
- #22 (tie) - Thomas Bryant (Indiana)
- #21 - Rapheal Davis (Purdue)
- #20 - Derrick Walton Jr. (Michigan)
- #19 - Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
- #18 - Shavon Shields (Nebraska)
- #17 - Eron Harris (Michigan State)
- #16 - Zak Irvin (Michigan)
- #15 - Jae'Sean Tate (Ohio State)
- #14 - Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin)
- #13 - Alex Olah (Northwestern)
- #12 - To be continued ...