Aug. 30, 2011
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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 — One of Iowa’s most beloved basketball players, Jarryd Cole, is ready to start the next chapter in his life. The former Hawkeye is heading to Iceland to continue his playing career overseas.
Cole will travel to Keflavik, a small Iceland town with a population of 14,000 where he will join his new teammates this weekend and start the season, Sept. 5. The regular season runs through March with the playoffs starting in April.
The 6-foot-7, 250-pound forward is eager to begin this new challenge.
“I’m very excited and believe I’m ready for this opportunity,” said Cole. “I’ve been training since our season concluded last March.”
Cole, who averaged eight points and 6.3 rebounds during his senior season, said he did a number of different workouts over the summer to keep him in shape and prepare him for the long season ahead.
“I lifted, did a lot of court and agility work and worked on my shot,” said Cole. “I wanted to improve my shooting for the European game as their big men like to face the basket. I wanted to adapt and get used to the system. I also mixed in some pilates and yoga to take care of my body.”
Once Cole signed with Keflavik, he began researching Iceland about what to expect.
“There is about 20-22 hours of sunlight during the summer months, very similar to Alaska,” said Cole. “But at the other end of that spectrum, there is only like four hours of sunlight in the winter.”
The Kansas City, Mo., native joked about the lack of sunlight he is expecting to see this winter.
“Hopefully, I don’t sleep in when its 11 a.m. and the sun isn’t up yet,” Cole said.
Cole, who has only been overseas once before (Iowa’s trip to Greece the summer of 2009), said he isn’t worried about living in a new culture and can’t wait for this new challenge.
“When I went to Greece, I played some of the best basketball I have ever played,” said Cole. “If I can play at that level, I can be successful. I’m not worried about the isolation factor. I’ll be living with an American roommate, and the country speaks a lot of English.”
Cole joins an elite group of former Hawkeyes to continue their careers professionally. Cole is honored to carry on the Hawkeye legacy of playing professional basketball.
“Knowing the caliber of Iowa players that have played professionally, it makes me feel good to be amongst that group,” he said. “I have a relationship with some of those guys. Hearing their stories and experiences about playing overseas gives me that much more heart to go out and work. Professional basketball isn’t for everybody so I’m definitely blessed to have this opportunity.”
Before leaving the U.S., Cole had a message for his former teammates and basketball program.
“I think we (the Hawkeyes) will be successful this year,” Cole said. “The team brought in height and skill and that is what you need to do to be a successful basketball program. You need to have the right kind of guys and coach McCaffery is definitely on the right track with that.
“The guys that were here last year have matured and are ready to make an impact. They have the talent and experience to be successful.”