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Published February 11 2010

All-over Grover: Oak Grove’s Olson simply does everything he’s asked

It’s been said a million times in sports arenas around the world that Player X and Player Y will do anything a coach asks of them.

But Fargo Oak Grove senior Sam Olson rises above the cliché.

A few examples:

Grovers coach Kyle Card said he took Olson – a 6-foot-4 forward with a solid jump shot, a quick first step to the basket and dangerous low-post moves – aside before a recent game to ask for more rebounding.

Olson responded with 12 rebounds.

Oak Grove needs a big shot? Olson delivers.

A key steal? Olson leads the Grovers in steals.

Olson has even filled in at point guard this season when the team was hurting due to injuries and foul trouble.

So, we can say it here for the 1,000,001st time and mean it: Sam Olson really does everything his coach tells him to do.

“He really brings a lot of leadership to the court,” Oak Grove teammate Drew Zaeske said. “We really miss him when he’s not in the game. He’s a true leader out there. He’s in most of the game for that reason.”

Olson has helped the Grovers to a 14-0 record and the No. 3 ranking in the latest North Dakota Class B poll.

He’s averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds a game on a deep and talented team looking for its first state title since 2000.

Olson’s biggest asset is his ability to play any position.

He’s got the size and strength to get his shot off in the paint, and a soft shot that can surprise some opponents on the perimeter.

Olson is hitting 60 percent of his shots from beyond the

3-point arc.

“He’s definitely a guy who we look to if we need a basket because he can do it in many different ways,” Card said. “He causes some matchup problems because of his size.”

Olson is so unique that Card doesn’t like to throw a position label on him.

Olson is listed as a forward in the program. However, Card prefers “player.”

The Grovers are focused on finishing the regular season on a high note before heading to the District 2 playoffs on Feb. 26. Oak Grove has three games remaining.

“We’re trying not to look ahead,” Olson said. “We still have three regular season games left. We can’t look past any of those. But that was our goal before the season – to make it to state.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562