Returned Missionary Credits Basketball Success to His Mission in 'SLAM' Feature

Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Bachynski’s access to basketball in the heart of hockey country was limited.

“It was hard to get a lot of exposure when it came to basketball so SLAM was my go-to for basketball news, all-things basketball. I read it as much as I could,” Bachynski says.

Yet somehow, when he was 12 years old, Bachynski told his father he would hoop at Arizona State one day. “I just liked the sound of it,” he recalls. That specific prediction was certainly random, but the idea he would play Division I ball in the States was far from outlandish. Bachynski shot up to 7-1 and, despite being skinnier than string bean, he averaged 18.5 points, 13.1 boards and 8.7 blocks in his senior year at Centennial H.S in 2006-07.

To transition seamlessly into the American game and gear up for the NCAA, the big man planned on playing a year at Findlay Prep. But before that season ever began, Bachynski severely rolled his ankle during a summer tournament. Instead of proceeding with caution, he continued to play on the bum wheel, progressively damaging it more and more until MRIs revealed he was in desperate need of surgery.

Bachynski took the rest of 2007 to rest his ankle and ultimately determined accomplishing his goals on the hardwood needed to wait, venturing down to Miami for a two-year LDS Mission.
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