May 2014

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79 S uccessful life involves maintaining excellence. SLIME for short. e term slime started as a nickname for Melsahn Basbabe, a forward on the University of Iowa men's basketball team. Aer four years as a Hawk- eye, Basabe uses the acronym as motivation and a reminder of how to live. "at's about being excellent in life in whatever you're doing, even if you're a janitor, or a doctor, a basketball player," Basabe said at a UI athletic department all-staff meeting April 16 in the Feller Club Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "What- ever you're doing in life, do it to the fullest. at is the message I learned from Iowa: perfection is not something you can achieve, but you can have an attitude of excellence." A native of Glen Cove, N.Y., Basabe committed to attend Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., but when Fran McCaffery was hired by the UI on March 28, 2010, Basabe followed. He was McCaf- fery's first Iowa recruit. "e reason I came here is pretty simple: because of coach McCaffery and (assistant) coach (An- drew) Francis. ey are like family to me," Basabe said. "When (McCaffery) came to Iowa, he told me he wanted me to come out here with him and I didn't think twice about it. It seemed like a great opportunity, I trusted him." Basabe exploded on the Big Ten Conference scene as a freshman, starting all 31 games and averaging career-highs in points (11 per game), rebounds (6.8 per game), field goal percentage (57.2) and free throw percentage (71.4). He was named all- conference honorable mention and to the league's all-freshman team. By the time he le, Basabe had scored 1,119 points and grabbed 752 rebounds. Twice the Hawkeyes played in the National Invitation Tournament and in 2013-14 they advanced to the NCAA Tourna- ment for the first time since 2006. ere is no denying that Basabe grew as an athlete from 2010-14, but more importantly, his leap of faith following McCaffery to Iowa allowed him to grow as a person. "Being a student-athlete taught me accountabil- ity, getting up every day, being productive; stuff I needed to know as a man," Basabe said. "I have seen a lot in my life and been through a lot of struggles, so it was important for me to come to a place where I could see how to be successful. My mom taught me that, but it was time for me to venture out and step out further." When he first relocated to the Midwest, Basabe felt like he was in a foreign land. He quickly became a fan favorite in his new home. "What I appreciate most about Iowa is the genu- ine love and how people treated me," Basabe said. "ere is always love walking to class or in the hallways. I had a summer internship in New York, and I was just another person in a big city. No one cares about Melsahn. To be back here is a dream come true because everybody around here really loves me." Basabe, who turns 22 on May 29, is on pace to graduate with a degree in sociology. He is also in- terested in continuing his basketball career profes- sionally. "My plan is to continue to be a great Hawkeye," Basabe said. "I want to carry all the time and ef- fort invested in me and be a successful man and a responsible and great father. Whatever I'm doing, I'm going to make sure I do it the right way be- cause I learned the right way from being around here." By DARREN MILLER Basabe Maintains Excellence in Life

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