Aug 29, 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 -- Having the opportunity to travel overseas for 10 days, as a team, was beneficial in a number of ways for the University of Iowa men's basketball team.
The Hawkeyes played six exhibition games, finishing 5-1 against professional squads, during their visit to London, Paris, Marseille, Nice, and Monaco. UI head coach Fran McCaffery used different starting lineups and player combinations throughout the trip and was pleased with what he saw.
"The competition was good; we had to fight and compete and came together as a group," said McCaffery. "Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff were tremendous. I'm thrilled with the development of Peter; he has a chance to be special.
"Adam Woodbury, Melsahn Basabe, Roy Devyn Marble, and Aaron White all had great trips. Gabriel Olaseni, being able to play in front of his family and play the way he played, was so much fun to watch. I'm also really happy for Josh Oglesby. He's playing at a new level, which we knew he would."
The Hawkeyes were tested in a number of the exhibitions, especially the final minutes of its final two games. Woodbury said going through situations like that in August will benefit the team come November.
"You can't really simulate end-of-game pressure and situations in practice that we faced on this trip," Woodbury said. "We all gained valuable in-game experience in August when most teams didn't have that chance. That will be a big step in our success this year."
Basabe was extremely thankful for having the opportunity to travel overseas with his teammates and get back into playing shape after spending the summer back home in New York -- something he says is invaluable.
"I don't think you can really put a price on how much this means to me," said Basabe. "The entire trip was a blessing. I couldn't wait for this trip because I didn't play much basketball this summer, and to be able to get some live games in was what me and our team needed.
"We didn't know anybody, we didn't have a scouting report, we played in different environments and gyms that we weren't familiar with and with different rules... it was an overall great experience."
Away from the court, Basabe marveled at the places he and his teammates were able to visit, and viewed the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"Being able to see more of the world, take pictures and show my family and tell my friends makes me want to travel more now," he said. "The whole experience was amazing; you can't put a value on how much you see that's different. I can see why coaches like taking these trips."
Uthoff, who redshirted the last two seasons, finally got a taste of real live game action with his teammates against an opposing team.
"This trip was a fantastic opportunity for me, and all my teammates and coaches," said Uthoff. "It was a chance to get out and play some games against professional teams and an opportunity to tour some really neat cities in Europe."
Another Hawkeye who saw game action for the first time was redshirt freshman Kyle Meyer.
"It was good to get experience," said Meyer. "I got a few minutes in a couple games, played hard when I was out there. It was good to get my feet wet."
The forward from Alpharetta, Ga., said the trip was one that produced lifelong memories.
"This was a memorable experience for me," Meyer said. "This is something you won't forget and talk about with your teammates at reunions. This is a trip everyone will reflect on."