CEDAR RAPIDS — Seven months ago, Josh Oglesby — who had grown up dreaming of being a Hawkeye — had started to make other plans for his basketball future.
On Wednesday, the Cedar Rapids Washington senior announced to a packed room that he had committed to the University of Iowa.
“It feels really good,” Oglesby said. “I knew that I wanted to be a Hawkeye; that’s where my heart was. When Coach McCaffery got the coaching job, I knew that was the place I wanted to go.”
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard is the first member of the 2011 recruiting class for first-year Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery. He had not been recruited by former Hawkeye coach Todd Lickliter and his staff, who were fired in March after three straight losing seasons.
“I honestly wasn’t getting recruited by Coach Lickliter and his staff,” Oglesby said. “That made my decision even harder because at the beginning I knew that Iowa wasn’t going to offer me, and I had to look at other schools.”
“I think it was about the difference in philosophies,” recruiting analyst Van Coleman said. “One played a controlled, structured offense, and one wants to get out and get up and down the floor.
“They want guys with length and athleticism that can do that, and (Oglesby) can do that.”
Oglesby said he visited with McCaffery during his first week on the job after being hired away from Siena in early April.
“When Coach McCaffery took the job at Iowa, I knew there was going to be a change,” Oglesby said. “I was hoping he’d give me a scholarship. I talked to him the first week; he said he was going to watch me the rest of the summer.”
Oglesby finally got an offer in July when he was at the Adidas Super 64 event in Las Vegas.
“He was ecstatic,” Washington coach Brad Metzger. “He was almost in tears when he finally got the offer. He had to process that.”
Oglesby had developed relationships with other schools when Iowa wasn’t in the picture. He took visits to Minnesota and Arizona State, and had one planned for Illinois. In total, he had 14 Division I offers.
But he kept coming back to his childhood favorite.
“Coach McCaffery was a man of his word,” Metzger said. “He inherited a difficult situation, and he’s been outstanding. He brought Josh in April and brought him back in early June. He said he had to watch (Oglesby).
“He has a job to make that program better and I don’t think he should give a scholarship to anybody he hasn’t seen with own eyes on the court. That’s why when (Oglesby) got that offer, he believed that Coach McCaffery thought he could be a Hawkeye.”
Ranked as the 118th best recruit in the country by Rivals.com, Oglesby is also the No. 35 shooting guard in the country. Coleman said the Washington senior has made himself a better player over the years and isn’t done yet.
“He’s gone out and done the work.” Coleman said. “Every step of the way he’s made the effort to become a better player. He’s gone from potential Division I, to mid-major, to high major. Those were all jumps he made over a 12- to 14-month period.
“He’s a tremendous shooter and excellent passer. And he’s not all there yet. He’s got a lot of body to go.”
Metzger said Oglesby has spent time in the weight room to become a better player.
“He’s always training,” Metzger said. “Weight lifting can be a slow process for someone with a thin frame. You have to constantly stay with it.”
Oglesby talked about filling Carver-Hawkeye Arena back up with fans again, and was confident that McCaffery was going to get things turned around.
To that end, Oglesby hoped he could be someone to help McCaffery bring more in-state players to the Hawkeyes in the 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes.
“I want to get this thing started,” Oglesby said. “I want to get Carver back to where it was before.”
Iowa coaches can’t talk about a recruit until they sign their national letter of intent. The early signing period starts Nov. 10 and the formal signing period begins April 13, 2011.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball