IOWA CITY — Gabe Olaseni toured the University of Iowa one month ago, and Iowa’s coaches and players left him with a good impression.
Tuesday, Olaseni made his intentions known that Iowa was the place for him and he became the Hawkeyes’ fourth commit for the 2011 basketball class.
“It was great people, great vibe, great friends, great teammates,” Olaseni said. “I think had they had the full package. That’s what impressed me.
“I’m a Christian, and I thought Easter Sunday was a great day, so I decided Sunday. I just felt it was a good day to commit to the Hawkeyes and help the the program.”
Olaseni, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound center, is a native of London, England. He came to the United States last summer to play high school basketball for Sunrise Christian Academy, located in Bel Aire, Kan. He averaged 10.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.2 blocks and 1.2 assists a game. He also shot 72 percent from the floor.
“We’re really excited to have Gabe become part of our program,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said in a statement. “He is a talented athlete, who’s 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-2 wing span. He has great length, is able to run the floor and can block shots. Gabe’s someone who will really impact our style of play. As good as he is, he has tremendous upside. Gabe’s a young man with great character and we’re looking forward to having him in a Hawkeye uniform.”
Olaseni joined 6-foot-9 forward Eric Katenda as part of a Sunrise basketball duo this season. Iowa also offerred Katenda a scholarship, but Katenda ultimately chose Notre Dame over Iowa and Wake Forest on Tuesday. The tandem tried to avoid conversations on recruiting, Olaseni said.
“We discussed it sometimes, like what it would be like if we had to play against each other,” Olaseni said. “How we will compete against each other. I think we both made the right decision for us.”
Iowa assistant coach Andrew Francis and head coach Fran McCaffery spent considerable time recruiting at Sunrise. Olaseni said Iowa coaches attended two games and several practices during the season. Olaseni did look at other schools but Iowa was his favorite.
“Pretty much I just wanted make right decision,” he said. “This is my first year in America, so I wasn’t used to the process. I was just trying to figure out what would be the best place for me.
“I think I would be the perfect fit for the for the Hawkeyes and the system they run. I watched three or four of their games this year and the system that they run is up and down the court, their defensive schemes, they’ve got long and athletic players. … I just think I fit well into their system.”
Olaseni plans to come to Iowa City in June to begin summer workouts. He said he wants to add bulk and work on offense during the summer.
“I think my defense is pretty good,” he said. “If I get stronger, I’ll be a lot better. I’m going to work on those two things (strength and offense).”
Olaseni joins fellow incoming freshmen Josh Oglesby (guard, Cedar Rapids Washington) and Aaron White (forward, Strongsville, Ohio) and junior-college transfer Anthony Hubbard (guard, Frederick [Md.] Community College) as 2011 recruits. Iowa has one scholarship available for the upcoming season.
McCaffery said in a teleconference that Olaseni will complement Iowa’s other post players Andrew Brommer and Devon Archie.
“I think the first thing that you see is his incredible length and his athleticism,” McCaffery said. “He’s also got a pretty solid skill set. I think he will get better. He will get stronger. We are really excited about him joining the program, I think he can definitely impact our team and he fits in perfectly with his style of play.”