Back From Japan, With Stories to Tell

April 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Tyler Smith knows he was lucky. The former Nittany Lion basketball player had his job disrupted and his family displaced last month by the earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear crisis in Japan, but he knows most of his teammates have it much worse. “Japan is their home; they don’t have anywhere else to go,” Smith said. “I could hop on a plane and leave.”

Smith ’02 plays professionally for the Hitachi Sunrockers, a team in Japan’s JBL Super League. Smith, his wife Cara Van Fossan ’01, and their young daughter were unhurt in the disaster, and they returned to the States last month after the league was forced to cancel the remainder of its season. A reporter from ESPN.com recently caught up with Smith, who talked about experiencing the massive quake, how Japan’s culture of respect has helped its people deal with the tragedy they face, and life as a 6-foot-10 blond guy in the shortest nation on earth.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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