Players on both ends of the spectrum — big and small — are among recruits Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery will welcome to campus this weekend.
Eric Katenda, a 6-foot-9 forward who McCaffery has been watching since he was coaching at Siena, is scheduled for an official visit to Iowa, beginning today, while 6-1 point guard Wes Washpun of Cedar Rapids Washington made an unofficial visit to Iowa City on Thursday.
Katenda is a Connecticut native who spent the past season competing for the Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., where he was a teammate of another Hawkeyes recruit, 6-10 Gabe Olaseni.
“I think they are intrigued by the idea of playing together in college, but I know they will also will make their own decisions,” Sunrise coach Kyle Lindsted said. “At the end of the day, I think they’ll come to a conclusion that is best for each of them.”
Olaseni visited Iowa two weeks ago but has yet to make his college choice.
Lindsted said familiarity with McCaffery and Hawkeyes assistant Andrew Francis helped Iowa get a visit from Katenda, who made a visit to Wake Forest and is expected to visit Notre Dame before choosing a college.
“They have watched him play a lot of basketball over the years, going back to their time at Siena, and they have developed a relationship through that,” Lindsted said. “They’ve been loyal to Eric, and in return he has remained loyal to them.”
While Katenda has had a scholarship offer from McCaffery and Iowa since last summer, Washpun received his offer during a call from the Hawkeyes coach earlier this week after Cully Payne announced his intentions to transfer.
Washpun is a teammate of Josh Oglesby, a wing who signed with Iowa in November. He averaged 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists on a 17-9 team that reached the quarterfinals of the Iowa Class 4A state tournament this season.
He attended a number of Iowa games this past season and likes the team’s style of play.
“I can see myself fitting in well there. I like the way they get up and down the court,” Washpun said. “I grew up an Iowa fan, so I was pretty excited when coach called. I’m going in ready to listen to what he has to say.”
Washpun planned to wait until the start of the spring signing period next Wednesday to make a decision, and those plans were unchanged as he headed into Thursday’s meeting with McCaffery.
He also has an offer from Missouri State, and has been in contact with the former Missouri State coach who offered him that scholarship, Cuonzo Martin, about openings in his new program at Tennessee.
“Things are sort of in a state of flux, but everything will work out,” he said. “I’m confident about that.”
Iowa has three scholarships available for the spring signing period. The Hawkeyes signed two players in November, 6-8 forward Aaron White of Strongsville, Ohio, and the 6-5 Oglesby.