April 1, 2015

Olin is trey magnifique

Kevin McCarthy

It happens in the spring and summer tournament games when coaches don't know their individual opponents very well. The term “shooter” is called out to alert defenders whenever a certain player who has the talent for putting the ball in the basket receives a pass. That description applies to Stevenson's Parker Olin as well as his father and, yes, his grandfather too. Call it genealogical, hereditary or a family bond, the Olins possess an inter-generational trait-shooting the rock.

photo of Parker Olin

Parker Olin is a 6-foot-2 sophomore at Stevenson School who averaged 14.0 points a game for the 19-9 overall, 14-4 Pirates in the Mission Trail Athletic League (MTAL). This season, he buried 89 treys as well as nabbing a second-on-the-team 44 steals. Parker took the No. 2 all-time spot in three-pointers made in MTAL play with 55, narrowly edging out Frankie Vasquez who has held the spot since 2007 with 54. Ricardo Esparza-Ponce is the Mission Trail record holder for the most 3 pointers with 66 set in 2011.

His 6-foot-8 father, Matt Olin, is a Stevenson alum and played on the great Pirate team that made it all the way to the 1990 Nor Cal Final Four. A University of the Pacific graduate (1990-95), he played on a full athletic scholarship as a center/forward for now retired Coach Bob Thomason. In his Tiger tenure, Matt shot 46% from beyond the arc (best outside-shooting big man in the country) 62% on his two-point attempts and 92% at the foul line.

The family patriarch, John Olin, is a ‘mere’ 6-foot-4 and played at Illinois Tech. In 66 games over a four-year career, he averaged 19.3 points a contest, finishing with a total of 1,290 points. He owns the Illinois Tech single-game scoring record of 41 points. At age 75 today, he still regularly gets out with his son and grandsons for shooting contests, many of which he still wins.

“Basketball is a cultural thing in my family,” Matt Olin explained. “We've always played. Growing up, my Mom and Dad had a half court in the back yard and a three point line - college and NBA distance. My wife Carri and I did the same - we have a half court, glass backboard in our back yard with all the lines. We are out there at all hours nearly every day shooting and playing ball. We use it so much we even added lights. I guess the takeaway is you have to love the game and do it all the time to be really good.”

Parker Olin acknowledges his talent to connect ball and net but believes another element in his repertoire is a strength. “I can shoot the ball pretty well but my best basketball skill is my unselfishness -- knowing when to shoot and when to make the extra pass.”

He didn't play varsity as a freshman, or more correctly, wasn't allowed to do so -- a decision he didn't concur with at the time.

“I was angry that my parents wouldn't let me play up as a freshman. But last year was a confidence builder. I had some bad games, but mostly took over and had a lot of fun going undefeated with my teammates.” Teammate Ben Stork, a natural shooter in his own right, also made the jump from freshman to varsity with Parker this year.

Parker is quick to credit a mentorship of sorts for his successful transition to the varsity level. He thanks the support of his advisor, Justin Clymo, also a Pirate alum and great ball player, for helping him balance academics and athletics as a scholar athlete. “Mr. Clymo has helped my mental game as well as supported me in strength training. Hanging out with [senior] Matt Chodosh and [senior] Jack Burgess has helped with my playing good this season. I learned from them.” Parker also notes that Stevenson Coach Matt Arruda and he have a special bond and the Pirates offense is designed for success beyond the perimeter.

Parker says Point Guard College, a program that teaches on and off the court basketball skills, was a regular activity during the off season. “50% of shooting is athletic ability and practice, practice, practice -- the other 50% is the distance between your ears.”

Asked for some of his highlight moments to date, Parker offered three. “Last year as a freshman, I missed a dunk in a game but I liked the fact that a 5-foot-10 kid could attempt a dunk in a game and just shock everyone. The two other top memories are: my first home varsity game against North Salinas. I scored 26 points and it was cool because the kids at school didn't know I was that good, and lastly beating Carmel at home meant a lot to me because I live next to Carmel High and have a lot of good friends there. I had 27 points, seven threes. I remember every play of that game. It was so loud.”

With the focus of becoming a better defender, Parker looks forward to playing with the Seaside's Finest team. As he described it about spring and summer, “It's all about getting better and improving your game.”

Here's Seaside's Finest Coach Jason Heib on Parker: “Parker Olin is a high IQ basketball player who understands the game very well for a sophomore. He understands defenses and is able to find ways to get his shot .If he's able to set his feet he's a deadly shooter. He's very coachable and has a bright future. Parker also led his team to the CCS DV title game and into NorCals this year.”

Do not, repeat, do not engage the Olin family in a game of H-O-R-S-E. You have been warned. And watch out as Parker has two talented younger brothers who are on their way.