Katenda on Recruiting

Eric Katenda hasn't said a whole lot during the recruiting process. However, the Sunrise Christian Forward got in touch with Hawkeye Insider on Wednesday to share his thoughts on schools of interest, when a possible decision might come and more.

Eric Katenda was cruising along as a highly-ranked recruit at this time last year. Big East powers like Georgetown and Connecticut were on his trail.

Then, the attention went away.

The talented forward suffered through a serious bout of appendicitis and was rushed to the emergency room. He suffered complications and had surgery. He lost 28 pounds and missed most of the AAU season.

He transferred from Chesire (Conn.) Academy to Sunrise Christian in Kansas for his final prep season.

"It was hard," he said. "I had to meet all new friends and get used to my new teammates. And I was still working my way back."

Fast forward to almost a year after surgery and the self-reported 6-foot-9, 215-pound combo forward feels great about life and basketball once again.

"Before the surgery, I had a goal to be one of the Top 25 players in the country," the native of France said. "I learned a lot during the road back. I really appreciate everything a lot more right now."

One of the main things Katenda appreciated during his tough stretch was the way certain schools stayed with him. That's why he's officially visited Wake Forest and Iowa and has scheduled one to Notre Dame this weekend.

"Those schools were there," he said. "They called the hospital. They sent cards. Everybody else just sort of went away."

Katenda said he turned away schools like Kansas when they came to see him during the season. Recent advances by Oklahoma and others have not opened up his recruitment.

"There's a chance I could look for another visit after Notre Dame," Katenda said. "I'm not sure, though. I'll probably stick with these three."

Katenda said he doesn't favor any school right now, but he clearly enjoyed one of his official visits over the other.

"Wake definitely stood out a little more to me," he said. "I just felt more comfortable there with the campus and the players on the team.

"I'm not saying I won't end up picking Iowa. More goes into it than just the official visit. I'm going to sit down after Notre Dame and weigh everything."

Katenda said that he will make his decision within a week and a half of completing his Notre Dame trip.

Katenda built a relationship with Iowa coaches Fran McCaffery and Andrew Francis when they were at Siena and he played for the Albany City Rocks AAU team. He enjoyed getting to see his old friends on his official to Iowa last weekend.

"I've known them for a long time and it was the best part of the trip," Katenda said. "They came down to watch me play this year, but it was nice to get to sit with them and see what they had planned for me. They said I'd be a combo, 3-4. They'd used me as a playmaker from those positions."

Wake also offered a plan to Katenda.

"Coach (Jeff) Bzdelik said he'd use me at all five positions," Katenda said. "He wants to give me the freedom to create from all over the floor."

Katenda's teammate at Sunrise, Center Gabe Olaseni, also has visited Iowa and will be at Oklahoma this weekend.


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