- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
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Point guard Mike Gesell, No. 80 overall in the ESPNU 100, committed to Iowa over in-state Nebraska, Stanford and Creighton on Monday afternoon.
"Ever since I visited Iowa it kind of felt right," said the South Sioux City, Neb., prospect. "The difference for me was the plan and vision coach Fran McCaffery has for his program. He wants me to come and play the point and help run the team. He is going to work with me throughout my college career. He's going to work his hardest to maximize my potential."
McCaffery took over the program a year ago and has made great strides in a short amount of time.
He has a successful history as a coach, guiding three different programs -- Sienna, Lehigh and UNC Greensboro -- to NCAA tournaments, and Iowa fans are hoping he can make them his fourth program to reach that level. The best way to begin that quest is through recruiting quality players like Gesell who want to change the culture of the program and are committing to winning.
The moment Gesell steps on Iowa's campus he will be handed the ball and expected to run the show. He is a scoring point guard who is equally effective off the ball. In fact, he plays off the ball with his AAU team All Iowa Attack mainly because he runs with UNC commit Marcus Paige (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar). Gesell possesses a high basketball IQ, a great work ethic and understands how to make others around him better by finding them in a scoring position.
"I see Mike having success at Iowa," said All Iowa Attack coach Hank Huddleson. "He is a great kid who is going to play at a great program."
Gesell is tough, competes and cares about winning. He is a back-to-back state champion for his South Sioux City High School, while averaging 25.2 points, 8.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game as a junior and was named the 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year in Nebraska. He can knock down timely open 3s as well as hit midrange jumpers off the catch or dribble. Plus, when he makes his way into the paint he shows an excellent floater in the lane that he shoots with touch and body control. He also doesn't mind rebounding on the defensive end and pushing the ball, where he puts immediate pressure on the opponent's transition defense.
Landing Gesell is significant both on the court and in the recruiting circles, as he is working on fellow All Iowa Attack teammates Adam Woodbury (Sioux City, Iowa/East) and Kale Abrahamson (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley). If Iowa can land those two guys to go along with Gesell, McCaffery will truly be building something special.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter. Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
Mike Gesell commits to Iowa over in-state Nebraska, Stanford and Creighton, writes Paul Biancardi.