Komarniski is the son of former WolfPack assistant coach and Cariboo College player Del Komarniski
Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack have had a few student-athletes who have followed in their footsteps in recent years but none in the sport of men’s basketball. But that has now changed.
Head coach Scott Clark and the WolfPack are pleased to announce that 6’0” guard Jordan “Jordy” Komarniski of South Kamloops Secondary in Kamloops, BC has agreed to join the Canada West silver medalists effective September 1st.
Komarniski is the son of former WolfPack assistant coach and Cariboo College player Del Komarniski. The older Komarniski is a long time coach and teacher at South Kamloops Secondary school.
“Coming to TRU was an easy choice,” Jordy said. “I have grown up around the program. I have worked with coach Clark since grade six. The hard choice was whether or not I was going to play. I have been ill since October and it really effected by ability to play basketball. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to play but this is too good an opportunity to give up.”
Komarniski has had a series of back to back bouts of pneumonia which curtailed his play at South Kamloops. Still, he was able to lead the Titans to the Okanagan “AAA” playoffs where he was named an all-star.
“I am going to try and play this year and not red shirt,” he says. “I am feeling a lot better now. Pneumonia is not a quick recovery if you have had it before but I should be ready.”
“My first year here Jordy was a sixth or seventh grader,” says Clark who remembers Komarniski as one of the first youngsters to take part in his “Junior Wolves” program. “He has grown both physically and mentally every step of the way. That is what you hope for with a young person.”
One of Komarniski’s coaches at South Kamloops was WolfPack Athletics and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk. “Jordy was around when Kelly (Olynyk, Ken’s son and current member of the NBA Boston Celtics) was at South Kam and I was helping Del coach. It has been great to see Jordy come from an elementary school player to the point where he is now as a student/athlete. He has constantly gotten better. He has worked very hard at being a better basketball player. It is a credit to him and a credit to his father and the standard that they set. He has lived up to that standard.”
Olynk thinks that coming from a ‘basketball’ family has given Jordy insight into what is expected of a university student/athlete. “ He has been around the university and university players. Del was an assistant here for a few years and has been very involved in our program. Jordy has an understanding of what it takes to be a player at this level. Because of that he will become a very good player in CIS. He will be able to contribute to us in the future. He has a great drive and outstanding abilities. He shoots the ball really well. He will come and give everything he has to be a good basketball player for TRU.”
“I think he has an idea of what’s expected,” Clark stated. “I don’t think any freshman truly knows what to expect until he experiences it first-hand. I can say that with a certain degree of certainly because my own son experienced that playing for me (Brett Parker, TRU Alumna 2010-15). There will be an adaptation phase but that is to be expected.”
In assessing Komarniski, Clark says: “He has played the point guard position and run teams in the past. He has an understanding of what is required from that. At the same time, I think he shoots well from the perimeter and can lead a team. That is what we are looking for.”
And Komarniski will add to an already large group of young guards. “What is emerging is a very competitive situation for the players,’ Clark explains. “ If you are any type of competitor, that is what you are hoping for. That each and every day you go to practice and not take a session off. You will be pushed. That is what the ‘real’ players want. They want to be in a situation where they are tested and battle every day. Really good players talk about enjoying the ‘grind’. That is coming every day and pounding away and trying to get better.”
He will be taking courses aimed at earning a Bachelor of Science Degree at Thompson Rivers.
Komarniski is looking forward to the continued upward evolution of the men’s basketball program at TRU. “It was great that the guys made it to CIS nationals this past season. Hopefully we can continue that in the future. There are a lot of freshmen this year but we will definitely be a powerhouse in the coming years if we all work hard.”
He adds that while he was privy to what it takes to be successful at this level through his father and Kelly Olynyk, it was he himself, who has the desire to be as good as he can be at this sport.
He looking forward to being involved in TRU’s community activities as well. “One person I have looked up to for years is Josh Wolfram (who graduated this year after being a Canada West and CIS all-star). I have known Josh since my dad coached him in high school. Seeing how he developed as a player, person and community citizen was inspiring. Having the chance to follow in his footsteps is something I am hoping to achieve.
The addition of Komarniski gives Clark a large pool of local players. “I think high school basketball has always been very good in Kamloops. You can go back to the 70’s, 80’s….every decade there has been great players and great teams. I think is what we are seeing is a continuation of that. What is pleasing is that local players are looking at TRU as a viable option for kids to stay and play and develop their craft as a basketball player as well as getting a degree and making a name for themselves in a city where they probably plan to call home. That is something I find gratifying. It is not only a reflection on the basketball program but also the Athletic department and the institution itself. Everything has grown over the last 10 years. Initially, student athletes locally looked at us and didn’t know what to expect because it was a new institution. At that time they didn’t view it as a viable option. But we have grown to the extent that you are seeing the better athletes in our city staying at home. That is a credit to everyone at TRU.”
Added Olynyk: “I think we have very good coaching within the community now at all the high school levels. We have ex-TRU or UCC players who have gone out into the education field and are coaching or aren’t teaching but still want to give back to the sport. We have some great people that give a lot of time to develop kids. Even with the ‘Olynyk Klynyk’, Kelly gives the local players something that they don’t get at any other camp across Canada. When local kids get that opportunity they take advantage of it. Add to that the work that both of our coaches (Scott Clark and women’s coach Scott Reeves) have done reaching into the community to develop young players. We are starting to see that come to fruition. That connection between the community and the university is paying off not only in basketball with all our other sports as well.”
Other WolfPack recruits for the 2016-17 campaign are : Ryan Miller (6’6” forward, Kamloops, BC-Valleyview Secondary), Trent Monkman (6’2”, guard, Smithers, BC-Smithers Secondary/Northwest Jr. Timberwolves), Noah Kaefer (6’4”, forward, Courtenay, BC-Mark R. Isefeld Secondary), Madhu McConnell (6’0” guard, Victoria, BC-Oak Bay Secondary) and Jass Singh (6’0” guard, Abbotsford, BC-WJ Mouat Secondary-Team BC).