Iowa basketball commit Josh Ogundele talks Luka Garza, Coronavirus and life away from family

Photo courtesy of Josh Ogundele.

By Tyler Devine

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Like much of America, 2020 Iowa basketball commit Josh Ogundele was not familiar with Luka Garza before last season began.

That quickly changed as Garza became a force of nature on his way to becoming Big Ten Player of the Year and earning consensus All-American honors.

“I’ll be honest, when I went to Iowa, I didn’t know who he was at first,” Ogundele said. “But then I started watching games, against Michigan I think he had 44 points. He’s a big body and he’s strong. And I like the way he can stretch the floor and shoot which makes him a threat not just underneath the basket but outside, too.”

Ogundele said he sees a lot of similarities between he and Garza beyond their nearly identical height and weight measurements.

Ogundele and Garza both are listed at 6-foot-11 and weigh in at 255 and 260 pounds, respectively.

“I believe that I’m not just a back to the basket big,” Ogundele said. “I believe I can stretch the floor, I can drive, I can shoot. If I just work on my conditioning and put more muscle on, I think we’ll have very similar games, even more than now, because I’ll be able to do more.”

Working on conditioning and putting muscle on have become difficult tasks amid the Coronavirus pandemic which has caused widespread cancellations and closures, but Ogundele is trying to make things work with what resources he has available.

Ogundele’s plans to play for the British national team this summer have also been derailed.

“I don’t have access to a court, unfortunately, because our court is not available where I am right now,” Ogundele said. “I’m at my teammates house so we can just go to the park and stuff like that. We can’t really do too much.”

Basketball isn’t the only thing affected by the global pandemic for Ogundele, his family has been hit by it as well after an uncle in New York recently tested positive for the virus.

Ogundele said he has family all over the world including in his home country England, as well as Nigeria and Zambia.

The distance from family is something that Ogundele, who currently lives in Worcester, Mass., has become accustomed to after having spent many years away from home.

“At the beginning it was kind of tough, but I’m used to it now,” Ogundele said. “Especially before, I was a mommy’s boy and I was clingy. But she sent me to boarding school when I was 11. So, ever since then I don’t get homesick.”