Gus and Fredrika Yalden were amazed by the sight of Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday. The son and mother thought there might be a close encounter while visiting the Iowa Basketball venue.
"My goodness grascious. My mother and I called it the mothership at first because it was so huge. It was like you could have just gotten pulled out of the ground by aliens," Gus told HN.
The Class of 2023 forward from Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy by way of Appleton, Wis., stopped at Iowa on Saturday a day after checking out Nebraska. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound, four-star prospect was also scheduled to stop at Iowa State, Wisconsin, Marquette and Butler this summer.
The Hawkeyes offered a scholarship more than a year ago. Even with the limited amount of recruiting contact permitted for his grade to this point, he felt good enough about the relationship to check out campus on his dime.
"We really enjoyed it and had a great time. It was super fun. We really like the coaches. My personal favorite part was meeting all the players I had gotten to see on TV. That was super cool," Gus said.
Nicknamed "Gus Bus" and "Baby Jokic", Yalden reports 19 total scholarship offers only halfway through his high school career. The aforementioned programs, along with Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rutgers and Stanford, are among the schools with opportunities out for the skilled, face-up four claims.
"I think I'll have found the right place when it feels like home. It will be when my mom and I can both sit down and agree that this is the place we want to be and this is home," he said.
While he's taking his time with the decision, Iowa appears well positioned. Saturday's stop certainly strengthens its cause.
"It's a community for sure," Gus said of the vibe from the Iowa players with whom he spent time. "I got to meet six of the guys and they were all super nice, super cool kids, who all had great things to say about each other. They made fun of each other a little bit, which was funny.
"It was great to be there with some great, great kids. I'm super grateful for them taking the time to talk to me."
The coaches watched film with him and shared their vision for how he'd be utilized in the system.
"I feel like I'd fit in as a four-man, who can bring the ball up, get a rebound, take threes, kind of do a little bit of everything like Luka Garza was doing," he said.
Yalden connected with head coach Fran McCaffery.
"He's had a lot of success. He is a great coach with a great system. I trust him," Yalden said.
Rivals views Yalden as a four-star prospect and the No. 21 player overall in the Class of '23. 247Sports also has him as a four-star and the No. 49 prospect regardless of position in that cycle.
Here's a look at Yalden's sophomore highlights at IMG Academy: