Oglesby ready to shine for Hawkeye hoops

BY KYLE HUGHES | JULY 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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Josh Oglesby has long wanted to play for the Hawkeyes.

This season, the incoming freshman guard will finally get his chance.

The 6-5 Cedar Rapids native said he idolized the Hawkeye basketball players he saw at the Iowa games his dad took him to as a kid.

“That was back in the day when I thought Iowa City was still the longest drive possible,” Oglesby said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”

Oglesby was the first member of a recruiting class that has generated plenty of buzz and excitement for the upcoming basketball season, and fellow recruit Anthony Hubbard spoke highly of his new teammate.

“A lot of people look at Josh and say he’s just a shooter,” Hubbard said. “I see a lot more potential in Josh than just shooting the basketball. He rebounds well for a guard, he’s efficient, [and] he’s smarter than the average person his age.”

That praise was echoed by Randy Larson, Oglesby’s Prime Time League coach. Larson said he believes Oglesby is even better than advertised.

“He’s a smart player,” Larson said. “I think he’s much further along defensively than I would have guessed … I’ve been putting him on the other team’s best player frequently.”

Oglesby said his time playing AAU is a big reason his skills and basketball IQ are so advanced for his age, but he admitted he’s still adjusting to college-level competition.

“They know the game so much better,” Oglesby said. “They make the extra pass, they move without the ball better, [and] they set screens when they need to.”

Through his first two games in the Prime Time League, it looked like Oglesby was going to take a while to adapt. He scored only 17 points in those two games and shot only 20 percent from 3-point range.

Since then, though, Oglesby has averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game.

“I started to get in the flow of things, and I started to get better,” he said. “The last couple games, I haven’t been hitting my shots, but I’m just trying to get my teammates involved and work on other things.”

With a combination of good passing, shooting, and defense, Larson said he thinks Oglesby could be a three-year starter for the Hawkeyes after Matt Gatens graduates.

“He wants to make the unselfish play, but he’s a gifted shooter,” Larson said. “I think he’s going to have a fine career.”

Hubbard said all the incoming recruits are learning from each other and motivating each other to get better.

“He can shoot the ball better than I can, so it makes me want to get in the gym,” Hubbard said. “I probably do some things better than he does that he wants to do. Its kind of a push-pull thing. He helps me, I help him.”

Oglesby said he believes now is a great time to be a Hawkeye, especially considering the job coach Fran McCaffery did in his first year with the program last season. Now, when Oglesby takes the drive from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City that used to seem like it took forever, he can imagine achieving his goal of raising a championship banner in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I want to win a Big Ten championship, and I want to make the NCAA Tournament,” Oglesby said. “Everyone is working hard to pursue big dreams, and I think we’re going to be able to do it.”

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