Olaseni's family to watch him play

BY DANNY PAYNE | MARCH 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Gabe Olaseni’s family has never seen him play in person in Carver-Hawkeye Arena or anywhere in the United States, for that matter. That will change Saturday.

Olaseni’s mother, Yvette, his older sister, Folasade, and his younger brother, Bamidele, arrived in Iowa City on Thursday night, and they will attend Iowa’s matchup with Northwestern, the team’s Senior Day.

“Just try to keep it together,” Olaseni said. “Obviously, I’ll be emotional after the game, but I try to treat it like any other game. Just try to stay focused; this is one we have to get.

“You can’t become too emotional, but after, I feel like I will be emotional.”

Keeping those emotions in before and after the game may be tough. Olaseni’s family has only seen him play a few times, when the Hawkeyes played a few games in Europe before last season. Aaron White, Olaseni’s roommate, said the London native talked about his family coming during his sophomore and junior seasons, but those plans never panned out.

And of course, there was the passing of Olaseni’s father, Benson, early this season.

The last time the senior went home was roughly three months ago for his father’s funeral service. He saw his family for a few days, but obviously, the circumstances were difficult.

Since that time, Olaseni has turned in a strong senior year, and he is coming off one of his best games as a Hawkeye. In Tuesday night’s win over Indiana, he scored 13 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and tallied a block, while bringing the energy Iowa will miss next season.

Heading into Iowa’s final game before the Big Ten Tournament next week, the 6-10 center averages 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He sits at fifth on Iowa’s all-time blocks list, and he is 17 behind Melsahn Basabe for fourth.

On Saturday, he hopes to keep that performance going with his family sitting in the stands.

“He’s thrilled, as you can imagine, especially in light of what happened this year with the passing of his dad,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “… His family is absolutely delightful, and they watch every game. Even though they haven’t been here physically, they know everything that’s going on.

“To have them here physically and kind of see everything that they’ve been watching on television is going to be — it’s going to be a great day for all of us.”

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.

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