EAST HARTFORD – Niels Giffey is back on campus, his adventure in the European Championships, EuroBasket 2013, is over. I caught up with him after the Huskies autograph session outside Rentchler Field wrapped up on Saturday evening. …
“Overall, it was just a great summer for me,” Giffey said. “It was a great experience, playing against pro guys, against the bets Eurpoean players, NBA guys – almost every team had an NBA guy.”
Germany was eliminated in the first round, finishing 2-3 in Group A. Giffey averaged 9.2 points per game, and made 7 of 10 from three-point range. In Germany’s upset win over France, Giffey was assigned to post up Tony Parker.
“Those are experiences you can’t get in college basketball,” he said.
Giffey, 22, was the youngest player on his team and he was tempted to stay in Europe and try for a pro contract. The way he played in the tournament, the opportunity would probably have been there. But he is on schedule to graduate from UConn with a degree in economics, kept up with his classes on line once the fall semester began, and will put a pro career on hold.
“There’s always the temptation to go back home because you’re so far away from your family,” Giffey said. “But on the other hand, I feel I took this journey over here, I’ve been here for three years now and I just feel like I need to finish it. Even though some people told me I should stay over there and try to go pro, I made the decision to come back which is absolutely the right decision for me.”
Giffey, who returned home Thursday, is sporting a beard at Rentschler Field, which is growing in surprisingly thick. Maybe it’s symbolic symbol of how much he matured as a basketball player in EuroBasket 2013, which should make him an even more versatile and valuable member of the Huskies this coming season..
“I feel like I got way more confidence in my game,” he said. “I really worked hard on my overall game. I did a lot of post-up stuff with my back to the basket, postting up smaller guys. … It was just good for me to take on a different role. To be one of the main scoring guys.”