(WPRI) — He had no shortage of options when decided to enter the transfer portal but a phone call from new Marquette head coach Shaka Smart on a very special day helped make Tyler Kolek a warrior.
“He actually called me on my birthday and we built a great relationship from there,” Kolek said. “I never spoke to him before that I was almost shocked when he called me, i mean, he’s big time he took VCU to the final four…it was just a surreal experience and I choose him”
Kolek had developed that kind of relationship with George Mason head coach Dave Paulsen,
When the school fired him after the season, Tyler’s decision was made.
“That was the reason I went to that school, so when I heard the news I was devastated,” Kolek said. “I definitely wouldn’t have thought about transferring before that.”
Kolek knows the honor he earned as a freshman, won’t have an impact on the competition in the Big East.
“Rookie of the year doesn’t matter at this point,” Kolek said. “I’m in a whole new conference, playing with all new guys, coaching staff, it’s definitely a clean slate.”
Kolek will get to see the campus for the first time in may, when he heads to Milwaukee for summer school and team workouts and he’ll get his first chance to play at the Dunkin Donuts center when the Warriors play Providence next winter.