Feature photo courtesy of Brad Cantor.
Braden Olsen started playing basketball the same way most kids do, with a miniature hoop hanging on his bedroom door. When he was 5, he would watch his father Bill Olsen play. He would play a lot, Braden said, so he would get to watch a lot of basketball as a kid. This made him want to play, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Olsen, a 6-foot, 155-pound point guard from West Linn High School in Oregon, has been playing and starting on varsity since he was a freshman.
He attributes this achievement to his competitiveness on the court. That is his favorite part of the game.
“I just love competing, I never miss a game,” Olsen said. “Basketball has always been my favorite sport and the competitiveness is my favorite part.”
He may get this competitive energy from the practices the team had. Former West Linn head coach Eric Viuhkola tried to make the practices as competitive as possible to be prepared for any situation, Olsen said. Viuhkola stepped down at the end of last season after leading West Linn to its fourth-consecutive state championship.
Olsen didn’t just stick to basketball during his childhood, though, he played everything. Right now he also plays football for West Linn, and he played baseball up until high school.
This do-anything attitude translates to Olsen’s play on the basketball court. Olsen called himself a smart, tough player who can do whatever his team needs him to do.
“I will always make whatever the right play is,” Olsen said. “I’m not a scorer, but I can score when my team needs it.”
About a year ago, new West Linn head coach Tyler Toney thought Olsen could use some extra work to improve his game. That’s where Jamielle Parish came in. He and Olsen have been working out together to improve aspects of Olsen’s game, like ball handling and his ability to get to his spots on the floor to make plays.
“Tyler [Toney] introduced me to Braden,” Parish said. “Ever since there has been a brotherly bond. It is more than just training now.”
One thing Parish said Olsen needs to improve on before getting to the next level is his defense.
“He needs to work on taking more pride in his defense,” Parish said. “He needs to be more vocal and take on more of a leadership role.”
Olsen doesn’t hold any offers, but he has brought in some interest from San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and Portland.
“I’m looking for the best fit for my education and location wise,” Olsen said. “I’d like to stay on the west coast if possible, but I’ll go anywhere to play, though.”
Off the court, Olsen is a good, kind-hearted kid to be around, Parish said. He is goofy and energetic and just loves to have fun.
No matter where he chooses to play, Olsen will be bringing a competitive attitude and the skills of a complete point guard for the next four years.
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