Iowa Hawkeyes Player Previews: Gabe Olaseni

Matthew Holst

The most improved player from 2013? It just may be Mr. London Ballin' himself.

Gabriel Olaseni

Bio: Junior, 6'10", 225 (London, England)
2012-13 stats: 10.7 minutes per game, 2.7 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game, 1.0 blocks per game

What we saw last season

Olaseni continued his march toward being a major contributor last year, showing competency on several fronts: his rebound rates on both sides of the ball were better than Aaron White's, his foul rates were better than Adam Woodbury's, and his eFG% was the best on the team. Of course, that's in limited minutes and with scant attention from the opposition, but still: the efficiency was there.

What we need to see this season

The talk from Fran himself was that Olaseni was Iowa's most improved player in the off-season, and that's good because Olaseni could use it. It's one thing to score on putbacks here and there. It's another to become an integral part of the offense, and we'd like to see at least a flash of that capability from Olaseni, especially since Adam Woodbury's still struggling early.

Best-case scenario

Olaseni's early-season ability to draw fouls near the bucket continues against real competition, and his value in putting opposing big men in foul trouble makes him a 20-plus-minute option, eventually carving out time as the team's crunch-time big man. His production rises accordingly and he begins morphing into a 7-point, 7-board, 2-block stat line kind of guy.

Most likely scenario

Olaeni's lack of offensive polish—especially when it comes to shot selection—continues to hamper his overall value, even though it's improving slowly. His work on the glass and ability to spell Woodbury for long stretches means 15 minutes a game. It'll be fair to wonder at times whether Olaseni's actually the best 5 on the team, and though he and Woodbury bring different strengths to the team, the gap between them continues to diminish.

One request

The nastiest, dirtiest dunk of the season for Iowa—the sort of thing that gets on SportsCenter's Top 10. We've seen the hops. We know he can do it. Now it's time to actually embarrass someone in the process.

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