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The Rise of a 5-Star Recruit: Olivia Olson's Dr. Dish Journey

Dec 4, 2023 2:22:51 PM

Olivia Olson’s decorated high school career at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and her rise to a 5-star recruit (ESPN) was not by accident. The University of Michigan commit worked tirelessly to become the best; spending countless hours getting up shots, doing early morning workouts, and competing with the most premiere players in the nation. Olivia’s motto of “keep working” is what sets her apart from the competition, both physically and mentally, as she pursues her second straight Minnesota 3A State Championship.

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For Olivia, the love of the game began with her father. She spent her summers as a child waking up and shooting on their hoop attached to the garage. It was only nine feet, but allowed her to begin training.

Learning how to work hard was a skill she attributed to her father. He let her know what it would take to reach the next level and be a complete player. Olivia was always tall, but her dad never wanted her to fit the stereotype of being just a big. Being an all-around player was necessary for success.

“I would say I fell in love with basketball training with my dad when I was young… he kind of got me into basketball”

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Molding a Division 1 Athlete

With help from her dad and coaches, Olivia has worked tirelessly to become a prolific scorer at all three levels. Citing inspiration from players like LeBron James and Napheesa Collier; she's wanted to model her game off players who are able to be versatile in all aspects.

With collegiate and pro leagues transitioning towards being more positionless rather than traditional 1-5 roles, Olivia’s game can translate to every spot on the floor.

“I can do whatever the coach needs me to do, whether it’s being a playmaker or getting it in the post, I can do a little bit of everything.”

Training Like a Pro

To become a complete player, a strict training regiment and tremendous amounts of discipline are required. Olivia makes sure she is always doing what is necessary to keep herself in basketball shape year round. Whether it’s summer break or during school, she wakes up extremely early to get a lift in before her actual basketball workout starts later in the day.

From there, skill work at Legacy Hoops is a must to develop her game outside of practice, and afterwards she attends team activities. 

The amount of time and effort Olivia puts in is how she got where she is, and how she can achieve her future goals:

“I want to become a McDonald's All-American, that’s what I've been working hard on all summer and that starts with being consistent [with training].”

It was at Legacy Hoops where Olivia encountered her first Dr. Dish shooting machine. The amount of shots she was able to get up propelled her to become a three-level scorer from anywhere on the court. She was looking for more consistency in her shot, and found that getting in substantial hours on the machines helped her gain more range.

She points to the shot tracking feature to hold her accountable in her workouts. Olivia can see  exactly where she struggled in the session, and stay after to hit those spots with extra work.

“Dr. Dish has helped me a lot.  There are certain days when I just focus on shooting to see how many reps I can get up.  It’s helped so much compared to when I was ten or eleven and my dad was rebounding for me . . .  No offense to him, but he’s a little slower than the machine. It’s helped me increase my range and gives me a chance to put up a lot of shots, which is really important to me!”

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Competing At the Highest Level

The phrase “iron sharpens iron” may come off as cliche, but playing the best competition in her state is something Olivia attributes a large part of her success to. Minnesota is renowned for its men’s and women’s basketball programs, so every night is a game against a top player.

“That just makes me better by competing against the best, I like to measure myself and our team against them for a state championship run.”

Competing in the Under Armour AAU Circuit elevated Olivia’s game to another level. She was then able to receive invites to the Curry Camp and Elite 24 for her performance. According to Olivia, “Being able to play with other top players in the nation and have exposure to a lot of coaches was really helpful for me.”

What the Future Holds

Coming off a season where Olivia averaged over 25 points and led her team to a 3A state championship victory, she committed to the University of Michigan as a 5-star recruit (ESPN); the highest-ranked recruit to commit to Michigan Basketball, man or woman, in nearly 30 years. And while that may seem like it comes with enormous amounts of expectation and pressure, Olivia is cool as can be with the help of her mom. When asked how she handles all of the spotlight:

“[I’m] big into mental training and meditating, my mom’s really helped with that part, doing visualization and seeing success before it happens.”

Olivia not only wants to make a huge impact on the court in her first season at UM, but also wants to have a huge impact off the court as well. She has plans of helping give back to the community which raised her. “My goal is to do a shoe drive for local kids… 500 pairs for families who can’t afford them.”

With Olivia’s humble demeanor and mentality of always wanting to better herself, it’s no surprise she’s gotten this far. All of us at Dr. Dish are excited that she is a part of the team, and for what the future holds!

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