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Woodbury, Olaseni provide glimpse of Hawkeyes' future

[ 0 ] July 3, 2012 |

NORTH LIBERTY, Ia. – As a kid growing up in Sioux City, two of Adam Woodbury’s favorite Iowa basketball players were Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner.

“I loved watching those guys play,” said Woodbury, Iowa’s heralded 7-foot recruit.

Iowa incoming freshman Adam Woodbury snags a rebound during PTL action on Sunday afternoon, June 24, 2012. (Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Brunner, a forward from Charles City who now plays professionally in Italy after a 1,000-point Hawkeye career, expects big things from Woodbury.

“I think he’s going to be one of the best players to come through Iowa,” Brunner said.

The former Hawkeye also preached patience when talking about the future Hawkeye.

“When you’re a 7-footer coming into the Big Ten, it’s a challenge right away,” Brunner said. “Every freshman has ups and downs. I hope the fans stick with him.”

On Sunday at the Prime Time League, Woodbury made just four-of-16 shots from the field and scored eight points.

“Everyone wants we to put up 25 and 15 every game,” said Woodbury, who also had 14 rebounds. “It’s not going to happen right away.”

What made Sunday’s game intriguing is that Woodbury was facing Gabe Olasen

i, who will be a Hawkeye sophomore this season. Those two will be rivals in practice, fighting for playing time at a post position where Iowa played undersized last season.

“Gabe and I are close,” Woodbury said. “We don’t hate each other. It will be a fun battle. We’ll see what happens.”

The 6-foot-10 Olaseni who is from London, England, is short on organized basketball .

“The coaching staff didn’t give me a set criteria to work on,” Olaseni said. “Just the obvious things – strength, conditioning, post moves. But they want me to pick up the nuances of the game. They want me playing more pickup ball, just trying to understand the game. Last year I was catching the ball and thinking of what move to do. Now I can see plays ahead of time.”

Olaseni showed flashes of the spectacular last season, running the floor and recording a few spectacular dunks and blocks.

“You can’t work on the spectacular,” said Olaseni, who had 20 points and seven rebounds against Woodbury Sunday . “You just have to let them come naturally. But fundamentally, I’m trying to get better at understanding the game as well.”

Olaseni said he’s been impressed with Woodbury’s humble approach.

“I think he’s a Top 50 player, but he came in with his head down and started working,” Olaseni said. “You couldn’t tell the difference between him and a walk-on. He’s always in the gym. His ability to pass the ball and score down low is going to help us this year.”

Olaseni said the competition with Woodbury will pay off for both down the road.

“If I make him miss a shot, or he makes me miss a shot, it’s only going to make us better,” Olaseni said.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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