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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gabe Olaseni picks Iowa hoops

The Iowa men's basketball team picked up its second recruit in a week when center Gabe Olaseni committed on Tuesday.
Olaseni, a 6-10, 220-pound native of London, averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last year as he helped lead Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) to a National Association of Christian Athletes national title. The Rivals.com three-star recruit used his 7-2 wingspan to swat 4.2 shots per game and was named an All-American by the association.
"The first thing you see is his incredible length and athleticism," Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in a teleconference. "He's also got a pretty solid skill set — I think he'll get better, [and] he'll get stronger. We're really excited about him … he can definitely affect our team and fits perfectly with our style of play."
Olaseni chose Iowa over Oklahoma, and McCaffery said he wasn't 100 percent sure Olaseni would wear Black and Gold until this past weekend.
Olaseni's presence gives McCaffery some much-needed size and depth in the paint. Longtime center Jarryd Cole graduated, and prior to Olaseni's commitment, the frontcourt was either small or inexperienced — or both. Olaseni becomes the tallest player on the Iowa roster, and McCaffery said he's looking forward to the options he now has in the post.
"We look at this from a lot of different ways," he said. "We have Melsahn Basabe, who will be much better next year [after] being spectacular last year. We've got Andrew Brommer and Devon Archie as seniors, both 6-9 and 240 [pounds]. We've got Aaron White and Zach McCabe, both with different skill sets that are two big guys.
"Now we add Gabe Olaseni, who's a 6-10 lower-block shot-blocker with a 7-2 wingspan. We've got a lot of flexibility as far as how we're going to go and replace Jarryd Cole."
ESPN.com's scouting report said Olaseni can contribute immediately on defense.
"His athletic ability, length, and rebounding along with him being a shot blocking presence is something special," ESPN.com said. "It is safe to say that his defense is ahead of his offense at this stage, but he can finish with angles and clear paths to the rim."
Olaseni joins White (Strongsville [Ohio] High), Josh Oglesby (Cedar Rapids Washington), and Anthony Hubbard (Frederick Community College [Maryland]) as McCaffery's 2011 recruiting class.
The coach, who recently completed his first year in charge of the Hawkeyes, still has one scholarship available.

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