November 2019

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Page 166 of 166

167 H is fandom, along with his basketball skill, took University of Iowa senior Ryan Kriener from Spirit Lake, Iowa, to Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. On Oct. 16, Kriener was out of uniform and four floors above his home basketball court when he delivered a message at a University of Iowa Athletics Department All-Staff meeting. "I was excited to come play at the University of Iowa," said the 6-foot, 10-inch Kriener. "I was a lifelong Hawk fan who couldn't wait to play here. My fandom is what brought me here, but slowly this place became home." As a senior in high school, Kriener was named first-team all-state aer averaging 22.4 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. He led Spirit Lake into the Class 3A state tournament with a record of 21-4. In three seasons with the Hawkeyes, Kriener has averaged 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 90 games. As a junior in 2018-19, he played a career- high 35 games (with two starts), averaging 5.7 points and 3.0 rebounds a game. "I hear this a lot with our team, what does it mean to be a Hawkeye?" Kriener said. "To me, it is helping others, doing the right thing with heart and passion, and taking pride in what you do. at is exemplified, not just in myself and things I try to do, but also our coaching staff. ey have a lot of pride in what they do, they care about us as individuals -- not just results on the scoreboard, but how we do it in our daily efforts and growth, day-by-day." For Kriener, it is truly a case of, "Once a Hawkeye fan, always a Hawkeye fan." e main difference between his high school years and now is that he no longer idolizes Iowa's student-athletes, rather he sees them as family. "I still cheer for all the sports, but it isn't idolizing them as my heroes anymore," Kriener said. "It is more as brothers and sisters on the same journey, people I can go to when I need help with something. People can come to me when they need something." Kriener enters his final season as a student-athlete having scored in double figures 11 times; he led the team in blocked shots 11 times and in steals eight times. "is place is home and home is where your heart is," Kriener said. "It doesn't get much better than that. I can't wait for the moment a few years from now when my playing career is done, being able to come back for a game and see familiar faces." If you would have asked a younger Kriener to describe the University of Iowa, he would answer that it is the best place in the world. Four years later, his response hasn't wavered. "I still think it is the best place in the world," he said. "ere is no place I would rather be because this place is home to me. I always look forward to being able to come into Carver-Hawkeye Arena." Kriener and the Hawkeyes open the season Nov. 4 with an exhibition against Lindsey Wilson College. e first regular season game is Nov. 8 against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. To read more about Ryan Kriener on hawkeyesports.com, click HERE.

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