May 20, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Many teenagers take for granted the time spent at home growing up. For Melsahn Basabe, a senior on the University of Iowa men's basketball team, a couple months at home this summer will go a long way considering he spent half his teenage years away from his home on Long Island.
"I haven't been around my family and friends, like a lot of others, since I was 14," said the Glen Cove, N.Y., native. "I was at my prep school and then came out here for school. I don't get to see my family that much during the season.
"It means a lot to me that I'll get to go home and spend some time with my family at this stage in my life, because after this, I'll be an adult supporting myself. This really will be the last time that I'll get to go home for a length of time."
Basabe says UI head coach Fran McCaffery gave him the green light to go home this summer to spend time with family and friends, and also get a job.
"I'm extremely grateful and appreciative that coach trusts me with the responsibility to go home and work," Basabe said. "This is an important step in my growth and development as a person."
Basabe will be living at home with his mother and sister and commuting to a nearby pharmacy, where the 6-foot-7, 211-pound power forward will be a general worker.
"I'll be observing and learning how the operation works," said Basabe, who is sociology major.
Basabe, who averages 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds on the basketball court his first three seasons, said he has never had a real job before this summer.
"This experience will broaden me as a man," said Basabe. "Basketball isn't going to be forever, so I want to do something to expand my horizons. Some of the things I have set up for this summer are going to force me to accept things about the real world and be mentally ready for when I return to Iowa City."
Just because Basabe will be going into the "real world," doesn't mean his training and work regime will diminish. Quite the opposite, said the soon-to-be 21-year-old, whose birthday is next Wednesday.
"I have a gym setup for me to train Monday through Saturday, while also competing in different summer leagues," he said. "Conditioning will be my main focus. I never have really run long distances, but I'm going to start doing that to improve my stamina and endurance. I'm going to embrace and attack that aggressively. I'll be in constant communication with coach McCaffery and staff throughout the summer."
Basabe will return to Iowa City in late July in time for the team's full workouts to prepare for its August foreign tour. He says few in his family have traveled to Europe, and he is blessed for this opportunity.
"I haven't done any vacations, so our basketball trips have been my way to see different parts of the country," said Basabe. "Now, to be able now to see another part of the world and experience another culture is going to be incredible."
Basabe is about to embark on his final 12 months as a collegiate student-athlete, which will help prepare him for the rest of his life.
"I'm living my dream right now," said Basabe. "I truly appreciate the opportunity to play basketball in the Big Ten and earn a quality education at a big-time university every day."