April 7, 2016
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Nicholas Baer wanted to prove himself on the Division I stage. After University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery gave him that chance as a walk-on in the fall of 2014, Baer embraced the opportunity to help the Hawkeyes and one day earn a scholarship.
On Thursday, McCaffery announced that Baer will be put on scholarship for his remaining three seasons of eligibility.
“I am so thankful that coach McCaffery gave me the opportunity to walk-on; he gave me a jersey, gave me a chance to prove myself,” said Baer. “It has always been a goal of mine to achieve a scholarship and I’m thankful that I have achieved that goal, but more so I’m thankful for all of my teammates who have pushed me to make me a better player and the support I’ve had from Hawkeye fans.”
The native of Bettendorf, Iowa, used his redshirt year to work on his basketball skills. This past year, Baer showcased his versatility and skills on the court in playing an important role off the bench in all 33 games.
“Nicholas was a terrific player for us in a lot of different ways,” said McCaffery. “He impacts the game with his energy, instincts, shooting, rebounding, defense, and he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s everything you want on the floor, especially with the way we play.”
Baer averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in 2015-16, and ranked second on the team in blocked shots with 19. He scored in double figures five times, including 15 points in Iowa’s NCAA Tournament contest against national champion Villanova. Baer credits his teammates for helping mold him into the person he is on and off the court.
“Playing against pros like Jarrod (Uthoff) and Aaron (White) these past two years showed me what it takes to play at a high level,” Baer said. “Also, guys like Gabe (Olaseni) and Okey (Ukah) taught me how to be a professional and handle myself off the court. I’m thankful for the great role models that I’ve had so far.”
Baer, who is 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, expects to spend more time in the weight room this spring and summer to get into the best possible shape for his sophomore season.
“I have a good skillset, which I can always improve, but I believe I need more time in the weight room to better myself and get a few extra pounds on me to get that strength. I have confidence that (strength and conditioning coach) Bill Maxwell will get me where I want to be.”
And when Baer goes to gym, he is eager to continue working on his basketball skills.
“I want to better my ball handling and you can never be too good of a shooter,” said Baer. “But most importantly, I want to keep working on what I’ve been doing.”
McCaffery is excited about Baer’s development and the future.
“When we invited Nicholas to walk-on two years ago, I had a strong suspicion that this day would come,” said McCaffery. “I didn’t give him a scholarship, he earned one, and that’s the greatest compliment that you can give to him.”