Sunrise Duo Going Slow

Eric Katenda and Gabe Olaseni are teaming up to make Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas a force on the prep school circuit. They're attracting college coaches and scholarship offers. Find out the latest on the dynamic duo in this recruiting update.

College coaches are visiting Sunrise Christian Academy on a regular basis. They're not getting a whole lot to sink their teeth into yet at the Kansas school, however.

"We're just trying to be really relaxed through (the recruiting process)," Sunrise Coach Kyle Linsted said. "We know we have some time. And they're still being recruited. It's not like we're not talking to coaches.

"Coaches are coming out to practices. (Notre Dame's) Mike Brey was here for a practice last week. Georgia Tech has been in. All of these schools have been in."

Sunrise features two coveted players from the 2011 Class who will sign in the late period in April - Eric Katenda and Gabe Olaseni.

"As far as just statistics go, Gabe has had a lot of blocks, a lot of rebounds," Linsted said. "He's right around averaging double digits (in points) and every now and then he has a big game. Eric is either our second leading scorer or our top scorer. It just depends on the night.

"Eric does a lot of other things, too. He passes the ball well and handles it well. We played Hogan Prep, a highly ranked team, on Friday. We beat them 92-58."

The two Sunrise stars are at different stages in the recruiting process. Schools are more familiar with Katenda, who prepped in Connecticut last year and played AAU out East. Coaches are familiarizing themselves with Olaseni, who is just getting exposed to American scouts. Katenda is from France and Olaseni hails from London.

"Gabe is kind of more or less trying to figure out who is serious and where he wants to visit," Linsted said. "Eric has it narrowed down. Eric's been in the process a lot longer. He pretty much knows where is major interest is."

Iowa and Drexel have offered Olaseni. Katenda, for now, has narrowed his list to Iowa, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Notre Dame.

"He's real comfortable with just having the four schools recruit him," Linsted said of Katenda. "He's working on his academics and his game. He just doesn't want to deal with a whole bunch of recruitment right now.

"He's got it down to the four for right now. I don't know if something will change with that in the spring or not. But as of right now, those are the four that we're letting recruit him. That doesn't mean that others aren't trying. They're still out there trying."

Iowa is the only school to have offered both Sunrise players scholarships.

"We played Friday night and Coach Fran (McCaffery) was here with one of his assistants," Linsted said. "They watched us play. Erik had 29. He looked real good."

Olaseni is hearing from Clemson, TCU and Auburn, among others.

"In March, we'll start getting serious about visits," Linsted said. "We're done the first week in March."

Linsted was unsure how many visits his players will use.

"I'm not sure they'll use five, but I get a feeling that they'll use a couple at least," Linsted said. "I don't think we're in a situation right now where either of these guys is just locked into one place. Matter of fact, I know they're not.

"They have some places they like, of course. They have some coaches they like and some staffs they like. I don't think either one has a favorite in the back of his mind. I don't think they'd waste a visit. They really want to visit these schools and see where they would fit at."

Iowa is off to a slow start in the first season under McCaffery. The Hawkeyes face off against No. 1 Ohio State on Wednesday with a 7-10 overall record and an 0-5 mark in the Big ten.

"I really think there are a lot of things they like about Iowa," Linsted said. "First of all, Iowa is at the beginning of a building process under Coach Fran. Eric has been in a relationship with that staff for a while. It's a better stage for Eric than it would have been playing for Coach Fran (at Siena).

"It's an opportunity for them to go in there and make waves immediately and build something special. I think that opportunity is a good one. It has a lot to offer.

"They are being recruited by ACC schools, though. An ACC environment can be attractive for a kid, too. But Coach Fran is in the Big Ten now. Iowa is a place that has some tradition and some history. They're upgrading facilities. All of those things makes that a good situation."

Linsted said that academics shouldn't be an issue with either player in regards to college eligibility.

"We fell like they're going to qualify," the coach said. "It's not like they're not going to qualify. It's just that right now, during this part of the season, we're concentrating on the ACTs and SATs.

"Our academics here at Sunrise are difficult. We just feel like it's better if we play basketball and get after it academically. We have enough things going on without burning the candle at both ends and taking visits and all that."


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