December 2, 2010

Hawks eye 2011 duo

With two scholarships to hand out this spring, Coach Fran McCaffery and his staff are on the hunt for front court prospects that could bring help to the Hawkeyes early on next year. Their search has led them down to Kansas, where one prospect who is very familiar to them has found a home. While the Iowa coaches were there, they discovered another prospect they have now offered.

The familiar name is Eric Katenda, a 6-foot-9 face-up four man that Coach McCaffery has been recruiting for several years. The emerging prospect is Gabe Olaseni, a 6-foot-10 post player.

After a tough summer that included Katenda having an appendectomy, the talented forward who is originally from France, has found a new home at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. His coach at Sunrise, Kyle Lindsted, feels very fortunate to have him on his roster this season.

"Bigs are hard to find and we are fortunate to have two of the better ones that are available," Lindsted said. "Eric is a kid that can face the basket and really step out and shoot the basketball. He is long and lanky and has a ton of tools. He can put the ball on the floor and he is a very good passer."

Katenda was part of the Albany City Rocks AAU program, which practiced at Siena, who Coach McCaffery knows quite a bit about his abilities and had offered early on and has stayed with him.

"He's had quite a few of the top programs in the country wanting to get involved, but we wanted to simplify the process for him. His top four schools that he will be considering are Iowa, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest," Lindsted said.

Katenda missed the summer AAU circuit and after leaving Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, he is working on getting qualified with official visits likely to happen sometime in late March or early April.

"He is coming back to the form that most of the coaches and recruiting services remember him being at," Lindsted said. "We want to wait until after the season and make sure his academics are in order and he has his test score before making any visits."

The other prospect who has turned heads in open gyms this year is Gabe Olaseni, who is originally from England. With his size, Olaseni has the ability to be a back to the basket player at the collegiate level.

"He is a different type of post player," he said. "Not back to the basket banger yet and will have to get stronger, but he can run the floor very well. He can take two steps at the foul line and finish with his head above the rim."

Olaseni was somewhat of an unknown, but after arriving at Sunrise, the interest level has certainly picked up.

"Iowa has offered and they are in there strong," Lindsted said. "Clemson is in the mix along with Wichita State, Missouri State, Auburn, and Utah State."

Like Katenda, his teammate will be taking his time in the recruiting process and will likely take official visits sometime after the season.

Could the Sunrise duo eventually become a package deal?

"They play very well together and they really like each other. I wouldn't say they are a package deal or anything like that and they haven't even talked about it. I don't think it has to happen, but it is possible," Lindsted said.

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