Though he’s barely been in Lawrence a week, Braeden Anderson is already feeling what it’s like to be a Kansas University men’s basketball player.
“Things are sore that I didn’t know could become sore,” the KU freshman forward from Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, said. “It’s kind of scary to me, because I actually worked out before, and I thought that I would be somewhat prepared.”
Most of Anderson’s pains have been the results of workouts with Andrea Hudy — KU’s assistant athletic director for sport performance.
The 6-foot-8 Anderson joked that Hudy is not as nice now as she was on his campus visit.
And he says that’s a good thing.
“This is the situation that I wanted to put myself in, because I’ve never worked out like this,” Anderson said. “I’ve never had the facilities and all this kind of stuff to get myself better.”
Though most of his aches right now are from his lower body — including his calves, hamstrings and quadriceps — his upper body isn’t getting ignored either.
“(Friday) we did boxing for an hour. That was the hardest workout of my life,” Anderson said. “We had this boxing guy come in, and all the guys … we were throwing punches until our arms couldn’t move any more.”
Anderson, who weighs 225 pounds now, would like to get to 235 or 240 by the time the season starts.
“I have no idea how my body will react to working out like this,” Anderson said. “I’ve never done it. I’ve always been pretty athletically gifted; I’ve always been pretty strong without trying very hard.
“I’m kind of excited to see what will become of all of this hard work, because this is unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”
The workouts aren’t the only way Anderson has become acquainted with Lawrence.
He arrived in town July 4 while fireworks were going off in the sky around him.
“It was kind of like Canada Day all over again,” said Anderson, who just three days earlier celebrated his native country’s national day with his family in Edmonton.
He’s made a few trips out in Lawrence with teammates, including food runs to SmashBurger and IHOP and a stop at Sprint to get his phone hooked up.
Almost every time he has gone out, someone has identified him as a KU basketball player.
“It just feels like every single person in Lawrence and the surrounding area is a KU fan, and they recognize you right away,” Anderson said. “That stuff’s crazy. To be a freshman and never even been on national television yet, yet people are still doing the research and still know who you are and are anticipating you coming ... it’s unbelievable.”
Anderson — who picked KU over Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, Missouri and Memphis in April — is rooming with freshman Naadir Tharpe, who requested that the two be placed together.
Though KU doesn’t have a pre-law major, Anderson plans to take classes to prepare himself for law school.
“I want to become a defense attorney,” Anderson said. “I feel like that would be interesting. I wanted to be a doctor for a really long time, but when a few members of my family got into legal trouble and had to pay a quarter of a million dollars for someone to help them out, it was just mind-blowing to me. I really wish I could have been able to help them out.”
Of course, law school will wait if Anderson is able to pursue a career in basketball.
At KU, he’s decided to wear No. 3 — a number that he’s never had previously.
“I just feel like it would look good on me,” Anderson said. “I kind of want to start a new legacy. This is a new place. I feel like I’m starting fresh. Anything that I’ve done before doesn’t matter.”
Though Anderson has played basketball in the United States for the last two years, he said leaving Okotoks for Lawrence felt different.
“I feel like I have a new home now,” Anderson said. “I can’t wait to get to know it better.”