April 26, 2011

Irish pick up Katenda

The Notre Dame basketball program has landed the commitment of a big man for the second time in as many days.

Senior forward Eric Katenda committed to the Irish on Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after former Michigan State center Garrick Sherman did the same. Katenda announced his decision during a press conference at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan.

"I really like the way they run the offense," Katenda told Irish Illustrated after taking his official visit to Notre Dame during the Blue-Gold Game weekend. "They run the five out and sometimes they run the four out with one in. That's what I like to do. People think to put me in the post because I'm 6-9. I like the fact that they play the five out because that gives me a chance to be outside a bit and show my skills. I could play the way I'm used to playing."

The 6-foot-9 prospect chose Notre Dame over finalists Wake Forest and Iowa. He took visits to all three programs over the course of a few weeks this spring.

Notre Dame was the first major program to offer Katenda a scholarship. The Irish did so at the beginning of his junior year and stuck with him through medical setbacks and a transfer of prep schools.

Head coach Mike Brey and assistant Martin Ingelsby first scouted Katenda while he was enrolled at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut.

Katenda went from an unknown to No. 108 in the Rivals150 last spring before complications following appendix surgery and some other health issues caused him to miss the critical July evaluation period.

Follow that, and his transfer from Cheshire Academy to Sunrise Christian Academy, many programs backed off their recruitment. The Irish did not, continuing their pursuit into the spring.

"The relationship has been building with me for so long," Katenda said before taking his official visit, "that I kind of like respect them more than other programs if you see what I mean."

Katenda will sign his letter-of-intent and enroll at Notre Dame in time to join the Class of 2011, which also includes Danvers (Mass.) St. John's Prep shooting guard Patrick Connaughton.

Landing commitments from Katenda and Sherman bolsters the Irish frontline over the next two years. Katenda will likely contribute immediately while Sherman will sit out a year, per NCAA transfer rules, before joining the Class of 2012.

Notre Dame now has one scholarship available in the Class of 2012.





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