"He really likes the coaching staff at Iowa," said Kyle Lindsted, Katenda's coach at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. "That was his first comment to me when he got back from there. He's had a long relationship with them and to me that's what stood out about his visit."
Katenda, one of the top uncommitted prospects left in the 2011 Class, has officially visited Iowa and Wake Forest. He has planned a trip to Notre Dame for next weekend. He was expected to choose between those three schools, Lindsted said.
The 6-foot-7 Katenda arrived in Iowa City on Thursday and left on Sunday morning. He remembered Hawkeye Head Coach Fran McCaffery and Assistant Andrew Francis from their time at Siena, where Katenda used to practice with his AAU team, the Albany City Rocks. Katenda played ball at Cheshire Academy on Connecticut at that time.
"I think the city was more than he expected," Lindsted said of Katenda's impression of Iowa City. "I think he was impressed with how many people were very passionate about the team."
Lindsted feels like the Hawkeyes are a legitimate contender for Katenda's services.
"I haven't asked him specifically if Iowa is in or out, we mostly just talked about the visit," the coach said. "But I would say they have a shot. I don't know him well enough to guess if Iowa is in or out, but they have a shot, for sure."
Lindsted has maintained through the recruiting process that the Iowa coaches have worked as hard as any of their colleagues in their pursuit of Katenda and his teammate, Gabe Olaseni, who has a Hawkeye offer and visited the school two weeks ago.
"They haven't dropped the ball at all," Lindsted said. "They came to practices. They came to games. Coach Fran and Coach Francis came in second to no one.
"As far as Eric's situation, everyone knows Iowa is rebuilding. But Wake is in the same situation."
Notre Dame seems to be the most attractive option for Katenda if you were basing it solely on the current state of the programs. The Irish was a No. 2 seed in the recent NCAA tournament.
"A lot can happen in four years, though," Lindsted said. "We're not stupid enough to think that because Iowa and Wake are down that they're not going to be back at some point. The question is when that will be.
"The player has to have a lot of faith in the coaching staff that they'll turn it around. I think he does have faith in the (Iowa) coaches."
Katenda is worn down from the recruiting process. He's basically avoided interviews regarding it whenever he can. Lindsted has handled media requests and coaches' calls.
"I think he's had his phone off for months," the coach said. "He uses it for outgoing calls. The coaches call and get worried sometimes because they can't get ahold of him.
"I think he's grateful he doesn't have to talk."