I recently sat down with Eric Katenda, a 2011 6-9 wing recruit our of Connecticut. Eric was unable to play this season after coming down with appendicitis and complications resulting from that, so he’s kind of flying under the radar for right now. Here’s what he had to say about his illness, where his recruitment stands, and more.
Describe your game. I’m a 6-9 combo guard. I can pretty much play anywhere on the court. I know how to post up, I know how to get to the rim from the perimeter, so I’m a pretty complete player.
What schools have shown interest in you? Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Siena, Stetson…I really can’t list them all off the top of my head.
Who has offered you? I have offers from all the schools I just mentioned. I don’t have an offer from Michigan but they said they would offer me as soon as I go for a visit. I haven’t heard from them in a while so I don’t really know what’s going on right now.
Where does Michigan rank among those schools? I’m considering them, but I don’t really know yet. I haven’t done anything about college yet, so I don’t really have a ranking. I’m looking at them, but nothing’s sure yet.
You had appendicitis most of the AAU season, right? Yeah I didn’t play AAU because I got my appendix taken out and had some trouble with infections in my stomach and stuff and I was in the hospital for a month. When I got out, I tried to come back too soon and I started to get tendinitis because I had lost 28 pounds and my knees just couldn’t take it and I was trying to play like I’d played before the surgery. So, I didn’t play AAU this summer.
Do you feel like you’re kind of flying under the radar as a result of that? Yeah, I haven’t heard from a lot of schools after that. I don’t really know what’s going on with recruiting right now. I didn’t see anyone this summer, I didn’t get to talk to anyone because my phone was broken and I was in the hospital for a while. Right now, I’m kind of lost, recruiting-wise.
Are you able to play right now? Yeah, I’m in D.C. with my guardian in the U.S. I just here working out with him, working on my knee and trying to get my weight back up and all that.
I know you said you were a little lost, but is there a timeframe for commitment? Probably, like, the beginning of the basketball season, around November or so. I don’t know I’m just going to see who starts calling me around October and probably take some visits in September and October and just go from there.
Have you ever visited Michigan? No, never.
Do you plan on visiting? Last year during last basketball season I thought I was going to go for a visit before AAU started, but then I got this whole appendicitis thing and now I don’t know.
Have you spoken with any Michigan coaches? Yeah, coach Bacari and the head coach (Beilein).
What did you think of those guys? I liked talking to them because they see the game as I see it. I heard they like to play big guys on the perimeter, and that’s where I like to play, out on the wing. I heard a lot of good things about Michigan, my coaches told me it would be a good fit for me, but that was, like, four months ago.
You said they see the game the way you see it. What do you mean? Their style of play, their plays and all that.
What do you like about Michigan? The fact that they like to play their big guys on the perimeter. They’re building a new gym, they sent me some pictures, I like the coaches and I’ve been talking to them for a while.
How do you think you would fit into Michigan’s offense? Since Manny Harris is gone, I think I’d be a great fit. I like to lead on my team, and since their biggest leader left, that gives me a chance to do what I like to do. Still a year away, so I don’t know.
Anything specifically you’re focusing on improving about your game right now? I lost a lot in the hospital. I’m working on getting my weight back, my footwork, my jumpshot, I’m doing a lot of dribbling drills, I’m doing a lot of stuff. Spending a lot of time in the gym.
How do you feel, health-wise? I feel good. I’m not as explosive as I was, I can’t jump as high or run as fast, but hopefully that stuff is going to come back before September.
What ultimately goes into your decision? First of all, I have to get along with the coaches. I have to feel comfortable talking to the coaches. I don’t want to go to a school where the coach is known but I don’t like him. Second, I don’t want to go to a school where the coaches think I’m a four, because that’s not what I am. I still have to look at a lot of things. I’m not trying to rush right now.