Michigan Courting Conneticut Swingman

Michigan coaches John Beilein and John Mahoney recently made it to Conneticut to watch Cheshire (CT) Academy PF/SF Eric Katenda and the interest is definitely mutual. GoBlueWolverine caught up with the class of 2011 prospect to discuss his game, his recruitment, his decision timeline, and more.

Sam Webb:  How long has Michigan been recruiting you?

Eric Katenda:  "I would say about a month."

Sam Webb:  Do you know what coaches or which coaches came out to your game?

Eric Katenda:  "That assistant coach.  Coach Mahoney."

Sam Webb:  Have you had an opportunity to talk to him yet?

Eric Katenda:  "Yeah.  I talk to him every day by email, not every day.  He sends me an email and I answer it once in a while.  The last game of the season was a week ago."

Sam Webb:  What is he saying to you about Michigan's interest and how you might fit into the puzzle for them?

Eric Katenda:  "He just said I had a lot of potential, and I could be a great player and they would love to have me in their program and stuff.  I could help Michigan win a championship and they could help me school wise and stuff.  Make me a better basketball player because they have the staff and stuff."

Sam Webb:  Talk about your game a little bit.  What are your strengths and what do you well on the basketball court?

Eric Katenda:  "Well I'm 6'9", so I got an advantage of shorter people.  When I play against shorter people I post them up and stuff because it is easier for me to score on shorter people, because they usually quicker than me.  I'm a pretty skilled 6'9" player.  When I play guys around my size 6'5" and stuff, I'm usually quicker than them, because there are not that many 6'9" players that can move like I do and stuff.  I can do everything on the court.  It just depends on who I'm facing.  When I'm facing a tall guy, I like to play him on the wing, get my dribble on and stuff.  When I'm playing shorter players, I like to post them up."

Sam Webb:  You're versatile.  Do you have three point range?

Eric Katenda:  "Yeah.  I get two to three 3s a game.  It just depends on who we're facing."

Sam Webb:  So you say you put it on the floor pretty well too?

Eric Katenda:  "Yeah."

Sam Webb:  Is there a player in college or pros that maybe you are sort of similar to or maybe you emulate when you play?

Eric Katenda:  "When I play people say I look like Kevin Durant because I'm tall and lanky.  I'm 6'9" and I got long arms and I'm pretty skinny.  People call me Kevin Durant, but Carmelo Anthony is my favorite player."

Sam Webb:  What other schools besides Michigan are you hearing from?

Eric Katenda:  "I'm hearing from Notre Dame, UCONN, West Virginia, like all the schools in the Big East.  I got a letter from Oregon State lately."

Sam Webb:  Have any of these schools offered you scholarships yet?

Eric Katenda:  "I got a scholarship from Stetson, which is down in Florida.  I have a scholarship from Notre Dame, Siena and I got one from Colgate too."

Sam Webb:  It sounds like you are a pretty good student as well?

Eric Katenda:  "Yeah.  I had a 3.0 my sophomore year and this year I got a little lazy, but I'm bringing up my grades up now."

Sam Webb:  After this semester you got a whole senior year left right?

Eric Katenda:  "Yeah, I'm not worried about that.  I'm not really worried about college yet, because I still got an AAU season coming up with City Rocks."

Sam Webb:  Have you made it out to visit any of these schools? Are you going to do that this summer?

Eric Katenda:  "No.  I'm going to go up to Notre Dame after break.  I'm going to Notre Dame in three weeks.  Then Michigan wants me to go in a month or so (to the spring football game).  That's pretty much it for now."

Sam Webb:  I know you said you aren't even concerned with colleges right now, but have you thought about a when you will start thinking about making a decision?

Eric Katenda:  "It all depends on how good I get my senior year.  I do not want to go to a college because it is a big time school and stuff.  I want to go to a college where I know I'm going to play my freshman year.  So I'm trying to work hard right now and see how good I can get before I get to the college level.  I'm just going to try and find a good fit.  Try to find a school where I like the coaches, players.  I do not need to start my freshman year but know I'm going to get some playing time.  I do not want to go to a big time school like Texas and not play my freshman or my sophomore year."

Sam Webb:  I got you.  At this point if you had to predict it would you say that you are going to wait until after your senior season is over to sign, or you going to try and do it in November of your senior year?

Eric Katenda:  "It all depends what I what I do this summer in AAU and next summer and the basketball season.  For now, I think I'm going to wait a little longer.  I do not think I'm going to sign in November."

Sam Webb:  Your name is foreign; are you originally from the States or are you from overseas?

Eric Katenda:  "I'm from France actually."

Sam Webb:  When did you come to the United States?

Eric Katenda:  "My sophomore year, last year."

Sam Webb:  Was it a basketball thing? What led you to over here?

Eric Katenda:  "When I was younger I always wanted to come to the US because I knew the basketball level was a lot better in the US, so I always wanted to come to US and stuff.  Playing in the NBA is my dream."

Sam Webb:  You ever get homesick?

Eric Katenda:  "Yeah.  I miss my mother and brother and my friends and stuff.  I miss them a lot.  You got to sacrifice if you want to get to the level that I want to get."

Sam Webb:  I hear that.  That is absolutely commendable that you're willing to make that kind of sacrifice.  Do you get to make it home very much?

Eric Katenda:  "I go home like once a year, once or twice a year.  I usually go home for Christmas like a week or so.  Usually for like two weeks in August.  I can't really go in July because of AAU stuff."

Sam Webb:  What do you know about Michigan at this point?  Do you know anything about the University of Michigan?

Eric Katenda:  "I get letters every day and stuff that tells me a lot about their players and their program.  How much they are willing to help the players.  I do not know much about the school itself though.  I know a lot about the basketball program."

Sam Webb:  How do you think you would fit into that offense at Michigan?

Eric Katenda:  "I think I would be pretty good and their best player, this year was his junior.  By the time I graduate, he is going to be gone.  So I think I could the new option.  That's the sort of school I'm looking at right now."

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