When Fran McCaffery took over the Iowa coaching reigns in the spring of 2010, he had some catching up to do on the recruiting front. He focused in the Sioux City area.
Class of 2012 Nebraska Point Guard represented a top target. McCaffery told the four-star prospect that he would give him the keys to the Hawkeye car as a true freshman.
"To be honest, growing up, I never really wasn't a Hawkeye fan being from Nebraska," the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder said. "When Coach McCaffery got the job, he came up and saw me and built a relationship. He really grew on me as a person. I think he's a very honest guy. He's a very hard-working guy. I'm just excited for him to be my coach."
Gesell visited Iowa several times, including a trip in April. It gave the Hawkeyes momentum with the talented backcourt player.
"On my visit to Iowa, it just felt like the right fit," Gesell said. "I sat down and talked to Coach McCaffery a lot and have had many great phone calls with him. His vision for the team and for me as an individual, it makes me very excited.
"I think the team is on the upward direction. Even this year, he's going to get things turned around before I get there. And then when I get there, I think I'll be able to contribute to the team. There are exciting things going on there. Everywhere I go around my area I have people telling me that they'd like to see me at Iowa. The fan base is exciting."
Scout.com ranks Gesell as the 17th best point guard nationally in his class. The South Sioux City High product runs with the Martin Brothers All-Iowa Attack team that finished fifth at the AAU Nationals in Orlando last month. Two of his teammates, Adam Woodbury and Kale Abrahamson, also hold Iowa offers.
"I've already started to talk to Adam a little bit," Gesell said. "I don't know what they're going to do. With me committing already, it's something I've got to do. It would be a lot of fun to play with them. They're very good players and very good friends.
"It's almost a no-brainer that I have to get them to come with. At the same time, I'm not going to pressure them. It's their decision. I respect that. I know how grueling the process can be at times. I'll definitely keep working on them, but it;s their decision."
Gesell played more off-guard with his AAU team as North Carolina commitment Marcus Paige ran the lead. However, Gesell has played point guard in high school and is very comfortable at the position.
"(McCaffery) wants me to come in and play point," he said. "He definitely wants me to be a big part of the team. He expects me to be a leader for the team."
Gesell said it wasn't until recently that he decided on Iowa. Stanford was tough to turn down. He also held scholarship offers from Creighton, Drake, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Utah and Virginia.
"I feel like I got a lot of information on my unofficial visits," Gesell said. "I research it. I did my homework on all the schools. I just felt like I wanted to be a part of what's going on at Carver-Hawkeye (Arena)."
A lot of speculation has circulated about Gesell on the Hawkeyeinsider.com message boards and elsewhere on the internet. Some people thought his mother wanted him at Stanford.
"They always say this is one of the biggest decisions you'll make and I'm definitely very pleased with my decision," he said. "I don't have any regrets because I did my homework. I know for sure that this is what I want."
Gesell helped South Sioux City to the last two Nebraska Class B State Championships. He became the second known verbal commitment in Iowa's '12 class, joining Georgia big man Kyle Meyer.
Iowa coaches are prohibited from talking about recruits until they sign a national letter of intent. The early signing period begins on November 9 and lasts a week.