Most college students look forward to Christmas break as a time to relax, see family and sleep in their own bed. The Iowa State basketball team has been looking forward to Christmas break for another reason.
How does a trip to Hawaii sound?
The 8-0 Cyclones are set to play in the Diamond Head Classic, in Honolulu December 22-25. Their first game is this Sunday at 4:30 vs. George Mason (on ESPNU). As one would expect, several Cyclones are excited to get away from the cold weather.
“It will be lovely. I can’t wait to get there,” junior forward Dustin Hogue said. “The snow is really getting to me right now. I think Hawaii will remind me of New York in the summer so I will like it.”
Sophomore big man Georges Niang concurred.
“I am thrilled,” Niang said. “I have one final tomorrow, then I’m going to go try on swim trunks so I can be ready for Hawaii.”
Even though the team is excited for activities besides basketball, there is still one thing clear in Niang’s head.
“It’s a business trip,” Niang said. “I know we have a couple days where we don’t play games, but we are going down there to go 3-0”
For Fred Hoiberg, making sure all of his players understand that this is a business trip is the toughest challenge of the current week.
“They have to understand that this is a trip where we have to go and take care of business,” Hoiberg said.
Despite the trip’s key goal being to win basketball games, Niang is very excited for some of the possibilities for activities in the ocean.
“I was thinking about maybe jet skiing. I have always wanted to do that down in Hawaii,” Niang said. “Or maybe I could catch some crazy waves and surf a little bit like Johnny Tsunami.”
Hogue will be keeping a watchful eye out to make sure his teammates don’t get hurt before he tries any extreme activities.
“If I see somebody try something and they don’t get hurt I will do it,” Hogue said. “They can be the dummy and then I can see how it goes.”
Senior forward Melvin Ejim would be right there with Niang if they can catch some waves.
“I’m planning to go surfing if coach will let us,” Ejim said. “But even though we will enjoy the fun side, we are still trying to go out there and be focused, because we do want to win.”