IOWA CITY — Gabe Olaseni might be the only person who follows the Iowa men’s basketball program who doesn’t pay attention to his numbers.
Olaseni, a junior center from London, has scored at least 12 points in four of Iowa’s six most recent games. He was instrumental in wins against Illinois, Northwestern and Minnesota, but his lack of minutes and production — especially in the second half — were obvious in losses to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan.
“I don’t know what my stats are; that’s really irrelevant,” he said. “Just being out there on the floor with my teammates. I think the best thing was after the (Illinois) game when Aaron White said he was proud of me. Josh Oglesby saying the same thing a little bit more aggressively. I won’t repeat what he said but the guys like that, that makes it worth it.”
In the the above wins, Olaseni averaged 13.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 19.6 minutes a game. In those three losses, Olaseni puts up 6 points, 4 rebounds and 14 minutes.
In the second half of games is where the disparity lies. In Iowa’s three wins, Olaseni averaged 11.6 minutes, 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in second half duty. In Iowa’s three losses, he averages 6 minutes, 2.6 points and 1 rebound. Iowa is 17-6 overall and 6-4 in the Big Ten.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said it’s “a function of a lot of different things” as to why Olaseni plays fewer minutes in the second half. It’s also simplistic to use only the statistics to determine Olaseni’s impact on a game.
“I don’t think you can just break it down that way,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “What kind of game is it? Who we’re playing against? What kind of lineup do they have on the floor? What’s the score? He’s played extremely well and, little-by-little, he’ll get more minutes.”
Olaseni has played in all 23 Iowa games and averages 6.9 points and 5.4 rebounds (18th in the Big Ten) and leads the team with 32 blocked shots (ninth in the Big Ten). He ranks fourth in the league with 2.6 offensive rebounds a game.
“I just try to focus on four things: running the floor every time, rebounding, playing good defense and just finishing around the rim effectively. If I do those four things, I think I played a pretty good game.”