Matt Gatens believes the benefits the Iowa basketball team will reap from its recent trip to Italy and Greece extend beyond the confines of a court. The trip and the additional practices Iowa was allowed prior to its once-every-four-years overseas tour provided motivation during spring workouts and have helped the Hawkeyes continue to develop skills. It also has created a tighter bond among players returning next season. "That may be the biggest benefit of all,'' Gatens said following his first Prime Time League game on Monday. "It really gave us a chance to bond as a team and moving forward, that is going to be important for us. It was the trip of a lifetime and the coaches did a good job in giving us some freedom to explore and do things together while we were over there.'' Gatens appreciated the sites Iowa had a chance to explore during its time in Rome and Athens. He said being together 24-7 for a couple of weeks in a foreign country should create a tighter team as Iowa works toward the 2009-10 season. "We're all on the same page now, all working together, and that can only help,'' Gatens said. "We're working now with the new guys. They're all here now and we're spending a lot of time together. It's been a good few weeks for us, something we can build on.'' The building process continues this summer, during informal team workouts and pick-up games as well as at the PTL, where fans are getting their first glimpse of the four newcomers who will suit up for Iowa next season. I'll share some thoughts on that in upcoming days.