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. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
Hello! I am Nicholas Baer and I am writing to you from Verona, Italy, where I am currently staying on my trip to Italy with the USA East Coast All-Star team. Yes, somehow a Bettendorf, Iowa, native found a way on an East Coast All-Star team, and I could not be happier.
So far, we have visited both Venice and Verona. I had the chance to walk in San Marco Square in Venice, and I also visited the Arena di Verona with the rest of the team as well. I am enjoying experimenting with the delicious food that Italy has to offer. I have had the best lasagna I have ever tasted in my life. However, I have had a few slices of pizza, and I have yet to taste anything that rivals Pagliai’s.
I have had a great time experiencing this trip with my teammates. I have enjoyed getting to know two players from each Notre Dame and Seton Hall, teams that we have on our schedule this winter.
The most powerful part of this trip has been hearing the Star Spangled Banner being played before our games. I have heard the national anthem before every competitive game I have played, but hearing our national anthem in another country was special. I may not be in Rio de Janeiro, but I have “USA” on my chest and I wear it with great pride.
Most importantly, the competition is helping prepare me for this upcoming season, and seasons to come. We have played two games and have won both, the first game by 25 and the last game by two. I am learning the differences between how basketball is played in Europe, and how that differs from basketball in the United States. I am learning what areas of my game I still need to improve, and which areas of my game I need to continue to strengthen.
I am relishing the opportunity to travel across the world and become immersed in a different culture. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent myself, The United States of America, and the Iowa Hawkeyes here in Italy. Thank-you to everyone who has helped make this trip possible. I am excited to bring what I have learned from this trip to the hardwood this winter in the newly renovated Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
We travel to Milan tomorrow morning and will play two games in the next two days. I will write again following my last game to update you and wrap up the entire trip.
Nicholas Baer posted six points, nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal in a 93-68 win over Altavilla B on Monday. Baer contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, and three steals in a 75-73 triumph over Altavilla A on Tuesday.