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Can Former Northwestern Center Alex Olah Find A Spot In The NBA?

Alex Olah was once a new kid in America who came from Romania to play basketball. Fast forward four years and he just finished playing his final season of Division I basketball in the Big Ten. Does he have a future in the NBA?

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Olah arrived in the United States just under six years ago with a dream.  He wanted to have a shot at playing college basketball.  In Romania, the opportunity to play college basketball was different.  Leaving Romania for America meant he would have the opportunity to train with high school coaches in America and have the chance to be looked at by college coaches.  After two successful high school seasons at Traders Point Academy in Zionsville, Indiana, two state championships, and two years with his host family, he accepted a scholarship offer to play with Bill Carmody at Northwestern.  He had achieved his dream.

Fast forward to the end of his first season in 2013 and he hears the news that Bill Carmody had been fired from his head coaching position at Northwestern.  Duke assistant coach, Chris Collins, would be taking over the program.

Under Chris Collins, Alex Olah grew on and off the court.  On the court, he developed more confidence in himself as a player.  Off the court, he developed more confidence in himself as a person.  His growth as a player on the court earned him Big Ten Honorable Mention in his junior year.  At the end of his junior year in 2015, he ranked second in the Big Ten in blocked shots and rebounds per game. He put himself on track to become one of the best centers in the Big Ten in his senior year.  It started out that way, anyway.

But then everything changed. After the Wildcats non-conference game against Sacred Heart, he felt something in his foot. A few days later he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. He missed six straight games from the end of the non- conference schedule in late December to the early games of conference play on January 12th.  The injury set him back as a player.  He struggled in his first game back against Penn State on January 16th, going only 1 of 4 from the paint.  However, as he regained his rhythm as a player, he was able to return to the player he was before the injury.  In his last game as a Wildcat, he made a jumper against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament with .1 second left on the shot clock that sent the game in to overtime. He finished his Northwestern career as the all-time leading shot-blocker.

So, Can Alex Olah Be An NBA Center?

Let's break it down.

The Good:

Alex Olah is a big guy and his size is advantageous to him.  He can block shots and finish at the rim. He can rebound and defend in the post. He's a threat on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.  When hes in the post, opposing teams have to have a defender on him because he can make moves around the rim.  Alex Olah's size allows him to make moves in the paint without fouling often.  He averaged less than 4 fouls per game at Northwestern.  He only fouled out once in the 2015-2016 season in a non-conference overtime game against Columbia.  He played 35 minutes in that game, the most he played in a game all season.

The Bad:

Because of his injury in his senior year, his junior year stats and his senior year stats look similar.  Although teams will factor in the he missed time his senior year, he still missed important minutes against big teams in the Big Ten.  He missed playing against some of the most competitive centers in the Big Ten.  This will affect his chances of making an NBA roster.

Olah may not get drafted, but he has a chance to be picked up as a free agent.  With his talent and size, his phone should ring when the draft ends.  If not, he will definitely make a team in Europe.