Tavernari, a BYU basketball player, was a former Catholic altar boy, and his parents remain committed Catholics. He converted to the Mormon faith after he left his native country as a 16-year-old to attend Timpview High School in Provo and pursue a dream to play basketball.
This is a venture that has taken him halfway around the world to a place where he barely understood the language. Now, at age 22, Tavernari is finishing his senior year at BYU as the most prolific 3-point shooter in school history. He attends the temple every Friday with his wife, Kiri, whom he has established as his hero.
"I married a Molly Mormon," Tavernari said with a big smile. "She is the exact stereotype of what you'd describe in a Mormon girl. She is the light of my life, and the best thing that ever happened to me. She is the rock that I lean on to lift me up when times are hard."