IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior Ryan Kriener is over in Athens, Greece, this past week representing the University of Iowa men’s basketball team on the USA East Coast All-Star Team. The squad played three games overseas, winning all three contests.
Kriener averaged 4.7 points, six rebounds, and 2.3 blocked shots per game. The team won its first game over Greece Amyntas (83-61), they won game two over Greek Athens Select (77-61), and edging the Greek U19 National Team (63-61).
The team will be enjoy a day of sightseeing the next couple days before heading back to the United States.
For a more detailed look into what Kriener experienced while over in Greece, check out his blog below.
Thursday, June 13
We had an off day today and had the opportunity to go to a beautiful beach just south of Athens; the views were amazing. Crystal clear water, long natural beaches, with mountains and islands in the background.
Yesterday we played our first game against a local team from Athens, the game went well for us. We won by 22 points.
Before the game we went to the Parthenon and toured the Acropolis along with it. We had a great tour guide, and went early in the morning before it was hot and the large groups of tourists. The tour guide told us there used to be a 30-meter statue of 24k gold and pure ivory of Athena atop the Acropolis. That seems pretty massive and amazed me at how the people of Greece were able to build everything on the top of a mountain.
Tomorrow we will have another game. But until then I will be catching up on sleep from the jet lag.
Saturday, June 15
Yesterday we played a select team of A1 and A2 players in Greece. We won by about 16, but it was close throughout the entire game. Today we played the Greek youth National team primarily made up of all A1 level players making €50,000 to €200,000. They were a very good team and the game came down to the wire where we won on a defensive last stand, 63-61. I thought this was quite poetic ending due to all of the improvement we had to do on the defensive end last year.
The A1 league is the highest professional level in Greece and the A2 is the second division. Also yesterday we attended the A1 championship game courtesy of the head coach of the winning team, that coach was Rick Pitino. The USA East Coast head coach had a good relationship with Pitino and was able to lineup some pretty sweet seats.
The crowd and the atmosphere was amazing. Fans never sat and screamed, yelled, and sang the entire game. There were even flares, cannons, and fireworks from the stands while the game was going on. It was incredible.
We will be heading back to the United States in a few days. I am truly blessed and thankful for this opportunity.