CEDAR FALLS — The Northern Iowa men’s basketball team is headed overseas for the first time in six years and will do so without the help of one of its scholarship freshmen.
Cole Henry — who averaged 19.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game as a senior for 2018 Class 3A state champion Oskaloosa — will travel with the Panthers to Italy but not play as a result of a knee injury suffered this spring during a workout.
Ben Jacobson told The Gazette this week that Henry will redshirt during the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
“His rehab is going well,” Jacobson said. “It sounds like September sometime that he’ll be back on the court and pretty active. He’ll redshirt, unless something crazy happens on his end or on our team’s end. That was a lot of the plan in the recruiting (process) that he was going to redshirt.”
Walk-on freshman Evan Gauger will also be unavailable for the Panthers in Italy as he rehabs a thumb injury.
NCAA rules allow for teams to take an overseas trip every four years. Whenever a team commits to an overseas trip it’s permitted 10 additional practices on top of the eight hours of contact it’s regularly allowed, something that’s undoubtedly of benefit to a UNI team that features seven newcomers.
The Panthers’ 10-day trip will not only include basketball, but opportunities for the team and coaches to experience different cultures and see sights in Milan, Venice and Rome. They’ll play club teams in Rome, Verona and Vinenza and Jacobson says he has no idea of the caliber of competition his team will face.
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“When we went to Australia we played three games against their top division and got beat in those three games. We played three games against their second division and we won those three games and it was great,” Jacobson said. “Our hope is that it’s good competition all three games.”