Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery began his vacation a few minutes later than expected Monday, and Mike Gesell was the culprit.
Gesell, an incoming senior guard at South Sioux City, Neb., called McCaffery around 1 p.m. Monday and gave his oral commitment to the Iowa men’s basketball team.
“He was headed out on vacation to see his brother,” Gesell said. “He was just very excited about it.”
Gesell is listed as the No. 17 point guard and No. 89 player overall by Rivals for 2012. He joins 6-foot-10 post Kyle Meyer as Iowa’s second commitment for that class. Iowa has four more scholarships available for that year.
Gesell, who stands about 6-foot-1, said McCaffery won him over after sharing his plan for how he’d use him in the backcourt.
“I definitely believe in his vision for the team and for me individually,” Gesell said. “He wants me to come in and play the point, and he likes the up-tempo style of game. That definitely fits my style of play, and I’m just really excited for it.”
South Sioux City (Neb.) basketball coach Terry Comstock said McCaffery’s involvement helped Iowa land Gesell.
“We’ve heard from a couple of assistants but most of the time whenever we heard from somebody it’s Coach McCaffery,” Comstock said.
Gesell, who stands 6-foot-1, has led South Sioux City to two consecutive state championships. He was the Nebraska player of the year last year as a junior. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game as a sophomore. He scored 29 points in the Class B state championship game.
Gesell has taken visits to Creighton, Nebraska, Stanford, Virginia and Iowa. He received his first offer in the eighth grade. He was undecided for most of the summer before recently deciding on Iowa.
“(Recruiting) was fun at the beginning, but it gets overwhelming at times,” Gesell said. “But I didn’t have a timeline. I felt like I could make a decision when the timing was right. I felt like it was the right time to make it and I knew what I wanted to do, I just decided to make the decision.”
Gesell also plays with Martin Brothers’ All-Iowa Attack, one of nation’s top AAU basketball teams. Among his teammates include Linn-Mar’s Marcus Paige, Sioux City East post Adam Woodbury and West Des Moines Valley forward Kale Abrahamson.
“I definitely talked with Adam quite a bit,” Gesell said. ” They’re very good players. I’d be crazy to not to try to recruit them to Iowa. But at the same time they’re going to make their decision because I know it could be overwhelming, so I’m not going to force them to do anything but I’ll definitely let them know I want to play with them.”
Comstock touted Gesell’s leadership skills and his intangibles.
“He’s been a phenomenal leader,” Comstock said. “Secondly, his work ethic it’s been an example for the whole program. He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached mentally and physically. He’s been a joy to coach. He’s our point guard and our leader.”
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