Volume 4 - Thursday, Nov. 22
The last two days of the trip allowed for a little rest and relaxation with most of the time being spent on the beach at Waikiki or climbing a trail to the top of Diamond Head Mountain.
I'd say about half the group ended up making the 1.5 mile roundtrip trek up to the top of the Hawaii's tallest mountain (I think that is accurate). It was quite a workout, especially four an out-of-shape SID, but well worth it for the view.
There were a handful of players that tried (and I use that term loosely) to surf during their time on the beach. Jordan Allard, from what I saw, stayed on his board the longest - all eight seconds or so. I didn't witness all the attempts, but I did see the battle wounds from trying to ride the Waikiki waves.
Thanksgiving was not forgotten, however, as the team did divulge itself into a Thanksgiving spread that was nothing to snicker at. The chefs at the Holiday Inn Beachcomber outdid themselves. Unfortunately, the five-minute video I took of the details of the before-mentioned spread is not cooperating with me, so I'll have to post that early next week when the real pros can get their hands on that video.
Anyway, there were a few items missing that I think most of us would have liked to have seen. The mashed potatoes that we were told would be on the line ended up being "Aloha Sweet Potatoes" and the bright purple substance did not resonate with most of the group.
There were a few brave souls (myself not included) that did try the "purple paste", but all-in-all there was plenty of other items to fill our stomachs.
For having to be away from our typical family feasts, it was nice to be with our extended family and enjoy a super meal.
Thursday was a little more low key than Wednesday, most of the players hit the beach before the meal because no one wanted to be sandy for the long-plane ride home. Plus, the team was able to get one more workout in at the UH Athletic Complex before we departed.
I was able to upload a couple of videos of Jamal Webb, Brandon Brekke and Josh Schuler discussing their time on the island.
Volume 3 - Tuesday, Nov. 20
It would be great to have a redo of those first 16 minutes of game action from Tuesday night's game at Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors jumped out to a 39-17 lead before the visitors settled down and made a game of it.
Unfortunately, there are no redo's in college basketall and there was some upset players in the locker room following the game. The consensus was they let one a potential win get away.
The focus was there throughout the game and the entire day. The beach and relaxation were not options as this team narrowed in on its task at hand. The team had a breakfast buffet at the hotel, then had a nice, crisp shootaround at The Stan Sheriff Center.
A standard pre-game meal awaited the club at The Cheesecake Factory, which is right across the street from where we are staying. The coaches did a nice job of keeping the normal game day routine.
One last film session was in order at 5 p.m. before embarking on the short drive over to the arena.
The good thing from Tuesday night's comeback effort was this team showed in the second half what it was capable of doing. Head coach Brian Jones was one of those upset with the loss, but in retrospect was proud of the resiliency this team showed and for the first time on the road this seaosn, he saw the unit he wants to see night-in and night-out.
He told the team if they play like they did in the last four minutes of the first half and the entire second half, they are going to win some games on the road and be ready for the rigors of the Big Sky Conference. That's the only consolation that will be taken into Wednesday's free day on the Hawaiian Islands.
Junior Aaron Anderson discusses the team's loss and what they can take away from it moving forward to a showdown at South Dakota State in just over a week (Nov. 28).
Volume 2 - Monday, Nov. 19
The first full day in Hawaii mostly resembled a typical preparation day for the team. There was a little extra window of down time being in the city a day early, but the focus was certainly on the task at hand - getting ready to win a basketball game Tuesday night.
After a quick breakfast catered in by McDonald's (yes, it's right down the street and ordering for 22 is made easy when you know what you're getting), the team went through its normal film session on the opposing team's personnel.
Following the film session, most players took advantage of Waikiki Beach being literally across the street and made their way over for some relaxation before lunch.
There is a decent food court just down the street with a number of options, including local fare, that was on the menu for meal No. 2 of the day. I think myself and athletic trainer Eric Sand were the only ones brave enough to try sushi.
More film on the Rainbow Warriors followed lunch before the team hopped in the rental SUVs for the 10-minute ride to the campus of Hawaii. Our vehicle won the award for being able to following a GPS device, arriving first after departing fourth in line. Everyone eventually made it and the team went through a spirited two-hour practice where the energy was surprisingly high after a long day of travel.
We practiced in a gym just off from the main arena where Tuesday night's game will take place. What was cool about the history of that gym is the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors use to both come over to the island for training camp. Both teams used those same gyms for practices and would play each other four times in the main arena. Assistant coach Dean Oliver, who played two seasons for the Warriors, came over twice for training camp.
The day concluded with a nice meal at the Yard House, which seated all 22 of us together. For the most part, the dinner received thumps up from the players and coaches.
Tuesday is finally game day and the team will go through a typical game-day preparation. The beach is off limits and the focus will be entirely on the hardwood. A breakfast buffet in the Holiday Inn will get the day started at 10 a.m.
Volume 1 - Sunday, Nov. 18
A long travel day ended with some excitement as 22 members of the men's basketball program finally stepped foot in Honolulu.
The day began in Minneapolis with an 11:35 a.m. flight to Los Angeles before the five-hour and 14-minute jaunt over the Pacific Ocean. All told, it was more than eight hours in a plane and you'll hear in the first video blog about how glad these players were to finally get on dry land.
For 17 of them, this is the first visit they are making to the Aloha State. Senior center Mitch Wilmer is the only player who has made a prior visit as he took a vacation with his family as a middle schooler.
Assistant coach Dean Oliver has made the most trips, as this is his fourth time coming to Hawaii. It is his second with head coach Brian Jones, who came over in 2001 when Oliver was playing at Iowa and Jones was coaching.
The players were encouraged to stay up as long as possible to help get acclimated to the four-hour time change. The team arrived around 6:30 p.m. local time and finally made its way to the hotel around 8:30 p.m. Dinner was on our own and there are plenty of options around our hotel, which is just a stones throw from Waikiki Beach.
Juniors Aaron Anderson and Alonzo Traylor along with sophomore Lenny Antwi were the first to be interviewed for the video blog. Check out their reaction from the travel day and expectations for their first visit to Hawaii.
Volume 2 will be coming along later in the day. The team is scheduled to practice at 3 p.m. and have a film session on the Warriors at 10 a.m. This ia business trip first and the guys are treating it that way.
Volume 4 - Thursday, Nov. 22