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Sports

August 24, 2013

Newest Celtic feels passion already

SALEM, N.H. – Kelly Olynyk was doing his first official appearance as a Boston Celtic at Canobie Lake Park yesterday, taking 26 needy boys and girls to have some fun.

While handing out the ride tickets to each of the children before heading into the park, one boy asked him, “Where’s Rondo?”

Olynyk shrugged his shoulders and smiled, “I don’t know ... He’s not here.”

Welcome to Boston, rookie!

Olynyk had no idea of his new teammate’s whereabouts. Heck, this was only his second visit to Boston since being drafted 13th overall by the Dallas Mavericks and then traded to the Celtics a short time later.

But it was a primer of things to come as fans crowded around him outside and later inside the amusement park.

“These people love their basketball,” said Olynyk, who was born and raised in Toronto, following the Raptors for much of his childhood. “I haven’t been here too long, but everybody seems crazy about the Celtics.”

Olynyk arrives with a little more fanfare than other recent Celtics draft picks. The fact that many “average” basketball fans saw him as a force in college at Gonzaga University, probably helps.

He also was one of the best players who participated in the Rookie League in Orlando in July, showing off his impressive dexterity for a seven-footer, not to mention his jump shot.

With the Celtics losing a large chunk of their offense with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry all dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, there are expectations that Olynyk’s role will be much larger than most incoming rookies not drafted in the first 10 picks.

“I don’t know what to expect in terms of my role,” said Olynyk. “I just love playing the game. There’s a new coaching staff and some different guys coming in. ... I think there are a lot of questions to be answered in camp.”

Olynyk said he has had some conversations with new coach Brad Stevens.

“I’m looking forward to playing for him,” said Olynyk. “I’m forward to playing for the Celtics. This is a great opportunity.”

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