Unlike many of his European mates, Gabe Olaseni wasn't much for soccer. He searched for another sport to catch his fancy.
"I was walking past the concrete in London and I saw these guys running and dunking," Olaseni said. "I knew then that I wanted to give it a try."
College coaches in the United States are glad he did.
"I really didn't start taking it seriously until I was 14," the 6-foot-10, 223-pound Class of 2011 big man. "I've definitely improved this year, especially my strength and speed. I think I have a long way to go before I reach my potential."
Olaseni used the first of his five official visits allowed by NCAA rules to see Iowa this weekend. He arrived on Friday and left on Sunday.
"I had a great time," the Sunrise Christian product (Bel Aire, KS) said. "They're really good people. I think they want another big man. They're improving. They lost a lot of close games last year."
Olaseni sees a chance to play early in Iowa City.
"That's not going to be the deciding factor for me," he said. "If I see a school that I like and they want to ease me in, that's OK. But I also like the idea of playing straight away."
Olaseni said his defensive game is ahead of his offensive skills.
"I feel like my best offense right now is running in transition," he said. "I'm working on a better repertoire. I'm working on post moves. my jump shot and ball handling."
Olaseni still is adjusting to a growth spurt that saw him go from 6-4 to 6-7 between the ages of 16-17 and then sprout another three inches.
"The Iowa staff feels like I can add another 10 pounds before my freshman year and still be able to run the floor like I do now," Olaseni said. "I think I can add more weight after that and keep my athleticism."
Olaseni said he's unlikely to use all five of his official visits.
"I'm just not sure I can take all that time," he said. "If I don't feel like I'm ready to commit after a few more visits, though, I'll keep going."
Olaseni said he's going to visit Mississippi in two weeks. He's interested in seeing Auburn after that. He reports an offer from the previous Oklahoma staff but is unsure what will happen when a new coach is hired.
"All the schools are pretty much even," Olaseni said. "I really don't see the point of having a favorite. It's best to go in impartial and with an open mind. You see all the schools and then you decide."
"We don't really talk about recruiting very much," Olaseni said. "If we happened to end up at the same place, that's fine. We're still going to be friends no matter what happens."
The Hawkeyes set the bar for Olaseni's other visits .
"They're just great people," he said. "I get along great with Andrew Francis and Coach (Fran) McCaffery. They're cool guys. They joke around with the team. I liked the guys on the team as well. It's a good place. It's my first visit, though. I have nothing to compare it with."