“I’ve always known about him, just from being from the same area,” Gesell said.
The two became good friends. They live just 5 minutes apart, with a unique twist: Woodbury is from Iowa, Gesell from Nebraska.
“Just across the (Missouri) river,” said Gesell, a point guard who led South Sioux City to a pair of state titles as a sophomore and junior and settled for a runner-up finish as a senior.
Woodbury is a center from Sioux City, helping East to a runner-up finish at state in 2012. This fall, the two will become college teammates at Iowa.
Having a friend to lean on will help the transition for both. And Gesell sees another benefit to being in the same Hawkeye uniform as Woodbury.
“We’ll be able to hold each other accountable,” Gesell said. “We’ve known each other for so long that when one of us isn’t working as hard as we think we should be, we’ll let each other know. It’s almost like a brother relationship, where you really get on each other and really push each other to be the best.”
Woodbury and Gesell played together in the All-American Game earlier this month in New Orleans, La. Woodbury had a double-double. Gesell struggled from the field, but his ballhandling and determined style of play caught notice. Gesell said his fearless play is born out of great self-confidence.
“I have tremendous confidence in myself,” said Gesell, the Gatorade player of the year in Nebraska the past two seasons. “I work very hard on my game. You have to be confident on the floor. Otherwise you’re never going to be good. I believe if you work as hard as anyone, if not harder, it transfers into confidence. And you’re not scared of anybody on the floor. You just want to go at them and compete.”
Gesell said he gained self-confidence from watching his brother and sister play before him.
“And then just always working hard with my coaches and then getting out on the AAU circuit, playing against some of the best players in the country and just realizing that I can hang with those guys and that I can really be a great player if I keep working at it,” Gesell said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball