Sophomore guard Aaron Anderson (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) gives UND fans an inside glimpse into life on the road with the men's basketball team during its trip to Kansas for a New Year's Eve clash with the Jayhawks. He also takes a look back at his brief, but much-needed Holiday Break.
Travel Blog: New's Year Eve date with Kansas
Before we get to the action in Lawrence, I just wanted to share a little about my Holiday break and what all it entails. It is always good to get back home and recharge the batteries.
The break was brief, but productive and time well spent with my family back in Brookly Park, Minn. I arrived in town on the 23rd after what was a long day of travel (began at 3 a.m. in Macomb, Ill., after our game with Western Illinois).
We made it back to Fargo around 10 a.m., then I hopped in a car with Nick Haugen (Rockford, Minn.) for the four-plus hour ride back to the Cities. My dad met us in Monticello and I finally made it home in that evening in time to play some hoops with some of my old high school friends.
After that, I just hung out at home with my mom and dad and little brother, Allen. The first movie was "The Help" - I thought that was pretty good. It was interesting to see how things were like during that time period. We also watched "The Express" - that was the life story on Ernie Davis, who was the Syracuse running back, who was the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy.
My house was pretty busy on Christmas Eve. I would say we had 25-30 relatives over and we just hung out playing board games and watching movies. Both of my parents come from big families, so we have plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins come over.
Aaron's father is the youngest of 13 (11 brothers and one sister) and his mother is the youngest of 10 (four brothers and five sisters). Both his parents share the same birthday too, Nov. 7.
After things settled down, i finally got some sleep and made the most of it, waking up around 10 a.m. My Dad made a nice breakfast (I'm guessing for my homecoming), but the eggs, bacon and waffles were well worth the wait.
I got some pretty good gifts from my parents, cash is always the best, and I also picked up a new pair of shoes (Air Jordan 14: The Last Shots) and some Beats (headphones) from one of my uncles.
The same crew came back over on Christmas night to just hang out some and do some more family bonding. This was more of a constant joke session than anything else, but it is always a lot of fun to have them around and be home.
The 26th came and myself along with my Dad and little brother went to the malls to check out the after-Christmas sales and such. My mom wanted nothing to do with shopping, so us guys just went and tried to find some bargains.
I also got some more run in on the court with my old high school friends and teammates.
The next day was spent pretty much getting back to Grand Forks in time for our practice at 6 p.m. I made it back to town a little early and had time to run to the airport and pick Jamal (Webb) up after he flew in from Buffalo.
The practice was mostly used to get our legs back and get some shots up. We also did some conditioning and weight lifting to get back into the routine we have been in since August and the opening of training camp.
With our eyes toward the Kansas trip, we put together two good practices on the 28th. We had a mostly shooting practice early in the morning in order to get our jumps shots back into shape. I took about a three-hour nap in between practices and we had a full game-planning practice later that day.
Both practices were high energy and you could tell the guys were glad to be back and see what we can do in the second half of the season. After that practice, myself and a few of my teammates ate some dinner at Applebee's. I usually go with the mild boneless wings and top it off with a hot cookie sundae. Those are hard to beat - vanilla ice cream on top of a warm chocolate chip cookie.
I went back to the apartment after that to get packed for the trip and get some rest before a long travel day on the 29th.
It was an early start to what would be a long day. We had practice at 7:30 a.m. where we really just got the blood flowing a little bit with some shooting and then capped it off with another weight-lifting session. Before we got on the bus for Lawrence, we made a run by McDonald's for breakfast (two sausage egg mcgriddles and with some hash browns and a white-cherry powerade).
After I polished off breakfast, I fell asleep and did not wake up until we rolled into Brookings about four hours later for lunch at the Pizza Ranch. Our team seems to like that place.
We had about six hours left in the trip and we passed that time with some movies. We watched "Friday Night Lights", "Hall Pass", "Due Date" and "Kevin Hart's Seriously Funny Stand-up". Those made the time go by a little faster, but we were all ready to get off the bus when we rolled in Lawrence.
We ate some Chipolte when we got to our hotel and called it a night.
We had an early wake-up call for a practice at Allen Fieldhouse. I have played here before on the AAU Circuit, but it is a different feeling come here as a collegian. We are all pretty excited to play in that environment.
After about a 90-minute practice session where we walked through the game plan, we came back to the hotel for lunch and another afternoon nap. I can never get enough sleep, it helps pass the time.
Before we headed to dinner, we took advantage of the nine-hole miniature putt-putt course that is in the lobby of our hotel. It was called "The Lawrence Cup" and our radio guy (Paul Ralston) put it all together. We had a lot of fun with it, I held my own and helped "The Betty" team capture the trophy.
Dinner was at "Biggs" (a BBQ place here in town) and we did some damage in there. Find out what I ate on the video blog - it was pretty good food.
We got back and had a film session for about 30 minutes before we called it a night. We went over our offensive game plan and watched how KU defends people. Now, we just have execute on Saturday.
We have an early morning, so I am going to sign off for now, but I'll have another entry as we get things going here with the second-half of the season.
New Year's Eve
The wake-up call came early today, but it's hard to sleep anyway the night before a game - especially one against a team like Kansas. We had a nice breakfast buffet at the hotel before we headed over to Allen Fieldhouse for a shootaround.
We spent about 45 minutes getting up a lot of shots and working through some of our play calls. It took a little while to get our blood flowing, but we ended up having a productive session.
You don't truly get a feel of what the atmosphere is going to be like when the arena is empty, but you can kind of picture this place is different. You can get a feel of what it will be like later today when it will be packed.
We have a little over an hour before we eat once again (we do that a lot). Pre-game meal is at 11 a.m. and I'm sure we'll have another film session before departing for the game a little after 1 p.m.