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    USD MBB: Former Yotes Hooptser Cain Signs in Italy

    VERMILLION, S.D.— Former South Dakota basketball player Tyler Cain has signed a contract to play his eighth season professionally as he moves back to Italy and suits up for the Pallacanestro Varese. Cain has previous experience in Italy playing in its second league in 2013-14. Now, the 2010 USD graduate returns to play in the country’s top league.

    After completing the 2016-17 season with Chalons-Reims, a squad in France’s top league, Cain returned home to Rochester, Minnesota, where he trains each year following competition.

    “I spend time with my friends and family,” Cain said. “I spend a lot of time in the weight room and work on skill. It is more about maintaining now.”

    Over his career, Cain has played for six teams, a lifestyle that is common for an Americans in European basketball. The experience is something he relays back to friends and former Coyotes as they look to play overseas.

    “Everyone’s situation is different,” Cain added. “You want to have an opportunity to play and I tell people to talk to the locals, enjoy where you are at. The language (barrier) is always difficult, but they try to make it easier for Americans as long as you try. If you make an effort to learn basic sayings, they help make it easier to learn.”

    Part of the learning process that Cain described was the difference of competing in college and then going to the professional level.

    “There aren’t classes to attend and coaches aren’t checking in on you,” Cain said. “You wake up and have two practices a day. You get your own work in, in-between the practices, so it is six to seven hours a day of basketball.

    “It is part of the learning process of becoming a professional, if you want to make a career of it, you have to do the right things. When it becomes your job, you do the right things.”

    Throughout his career, Cain has won a pair of championships with VEF Riga of the Latvian league. While in Latvia, he was a three-time All-Star and was named the Latvian Rebounder of the Year. He garnered first team all-league honors while competing with Libertas Forli during his first stint in Italy where he was named the center of the year and finished second in league MVP voting. With Libertas, Cain averaged a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds per game.

    After his 2013-14 season in Italy, Cain moved to France where he was twice honorable mention in Pro A, the top French league.

    He moved to Pallacanestro Varese after completing 21 games of 20 points or more over his career with a career-best 30 points during the 2013-14 season. He also has 60 games of double-digit rebounds with a career-best 18 this past season for Chalons-Reims.

    “We welcome Tyler, a player who understands the concept of team basketball well,” Pallacanestro head coach Attilio Caja said in a press release announcing Cain’s signing. “In addition to creating for himself by exploiting the great technique he has, he is able to put his teammates into the best situation to do well thanks to his extraordinary ability to read the game.”

    No stranger to points and rebounds, Cain is one of two players in South Dakota history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. He tallied USD’s 12th-most points with 1,390 and ranks second with 1,087 rebounds over his career that saw the Coyotes capture a North Central Conference and Great West Conference Championship.

    Although times don’t always match up, Cain watches as many South Dakota games as he can and loved watching games this past season with the new arena.

    “I keep up with the team and enjoy watching them,” Cain added. “I’ll also swing up in the summertime to say hello to anyone that is around.”

    For now, Cain continues to work out in Rochester before departing for Italy to begin his season.

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