Center of Attention: Morenci’s Olmsted A Unique Talent

It isn’t hard to miss John Olmsted when he takes the floor with his Morenci High teammates or even when he’s walking the streets of his tiny copper mining town in eastern Arizona. Standing 6-feet-10, Olmsted is starting to pop up on college radars since joining his Powerhouse Hoops Tucson club team two years ago.

“It’s been fun because I get to play with better coaches, better players,” Olmsted said to “To play at that high level…being from a small school I don’t always get that competition. Being able to go out and play better teams it’s a lot better.”

Olmsted, who is entering his senior season, has seen an uptick in his all-around game the past few months after averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and nearly three assists per game as a junior for the 19-11 Wildcats.

“Being able to step out and shoot,” he said of his improved skill set. “All of that has really changed this summer.” 

The towering figure, who patterns his game after Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetakounmpo and recent Denver Nuggets first-round pick Michael Porter, also played baseball growing up before focusing his attention on hoops after his game and height sprouted. The former first baseman became basketball-exclusive after his sophomore year at Morenci.

The decision has proven to be a wise one. Although Olmsted is waiting for his first college offer, schools from coast-to-coast including Cornell, Yale, Montana, Montana State, Cal-State Fullerton, GCU and others have shown interest in the rising prospect.

Through it all, he hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from.

“We only have about 2,000 to 3,000 people in our whole town and 400 kids in our school,” Olmsted explained. “To be able to show what I can do on the court being from [Morenci], it’s pretty cool.”

A big future awaits the big man from a small town.

Meet John Olmsted: the pride of Morenci, Arizona.