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Former Hawkeye Matt Gatens seeing Ukraine uprising firsthand

[ 0 ] March 1, 2014 |
As political unrest continues in Ukraine, former Iowa basketball player Matt Gatens is living the country while playing professional basketball for Khimik Yuzhne. (Press-Citizen file photo)

As political unrest continues in Ukraine, former Iowa basketball player Matt Gatens is living the country while playing professional basketball for Khimik Yuzhne. (Press-Citizen file photo)

Former Iowa basketball player and Iowa City native Matt Gatens had more than a casual interest in Saturday’s news that Russia’s upper house of Parliament approved sending military forces into Ukraine in an attempt to quell political unrest in the Crimea region.

Gatens currently is playing professional basketball in the Ukraine. He plays for Khimik Yuzhne. Yuzhne is a port city in southwestern Ukraine.

“It’s amazing to be living here while this is going on,” Gatens said Saturday via messages on Twitter. “The uncertainty scares me a little bit.”

Gatens, a senior at Iowa in 2011-12, is in his first season with Khimik. He played in Spain last season. Gatens starts and averages 10.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists for a team that is still alive in the EuroCup.

Khimik Yuzhne’s next EuroCup game is scheduled for Tuesday against a team from Turkey. After a second game against the same team on March 11, the team with the best point differential will advance to the round of eight.

“Our city is safe for now,” Gatens said. “They tell us not to worry. I’m not sure if our league (Ukrainian Basketball Super League) is going to finish. We are still alive in the EuroCup, so we are for sure still playing that.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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