- National Teams
Gabe Olaseni’s Iowa Hawkeyes will be coming to London in August to face the BBL’s London Lions at the Copper Box.
The game will take place on the evening of Wednesday 14th August, pitting London’s newest BBL franchise against a high-major NCAA Division 1 programme. It will be one of the Lions’ first games at the Copper Box as they make the move to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for next season as part of the London 2012 Olympic Legacy, having played at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre last year.
For Iowa, the foreign trip will be one the NCAA allows teams to make every four years, giving teams an opportunity to play exhibition games and conduct 10 full team practices. This is Coach Fran McCaffery’s first with the Iowa program, one he has decided to split between Paris and London, in large part because of Olaseni.
“We are going to bring Gabe home and give him and our team an opportunity to see his family and friends,” said McCaffery. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for all of us.”
“(Coach McCaffery) just said it in passing like it really didn’t mean anything,” Olaseni said to The Gazette. “One day I was over at his house and his wife actually mentioned it to me that he wanted to go to London. I was like, ‘OK.’ I didn’t brush it off, but it was in the back of my mind.
“He told me the exact date, and it became real.”
The 6’10” Olaseni, originally from London, is heading into his Junior year with the Hawkeyes, yet his family amd siblings are yet to have a chance to see him play.
“It’s pretty cool,” he continued. “The coaches didn’t have to do that. They could have went anywhere in the world, and they decided to come to London. That’s pretty cool. They knew my parents hadn’t been over for a game yet.”
“The coaching staff told me from day one that it’s not a one-year process of me becoming a complete player,” Olaseni told the Des Moines Register. “I’m seeing the progression now. Last year, I made a little bit of a jump. This year, I’m really trying to blow up.
“I showed glimpses last year of scoring in the post,” he added. “I want to be a consistent threat in the four or five position next year.”
The London Lions confirmed they will be facing Iowa, with an announcement and information about ticket sales to be released in the coming days.
Image Credit: Iowa Hawkeyes