Let's get this party started

(Editor's note: Maryland's Shay Doron, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, will share a diary with ESPN.com throughout the season.)

Nov. 16, 2004

Last Sunday was our long-awaited first exhibition game of the season!

We played a traveling team from Russia, which brought back memories of playing the Russian national team, both four years ago and two years ago when I played for the Israeli national team. This time, though, my team ended up victorious (Russia is the European champion; basically they almost always win and Israel never beats them).

Because it was an exhibition game, practice the day before was intense and physical. Usually before games, we generally work on half-court sets, play execution and things that don't involve too much energy. Our freshmen seemed nervous and excited to finally put on our uniform for something other than team pictures and interviews.

The night before the game, I went to dinner with my dad, who came from New York to watch me play and bring me my new car (a used Toyota Corolla). After dinner I had to finish writing one of my many papers (a movie analysis paper on The Lady Eve) that are due around the end of our first semester, which happens to fall right when our season starts.

Game day I woke up at 10 -- although I could have slept ALL day -- and ate a light breakfast. At 1 p.m., we had our shoot-around, which is just going over our plays, the other teams' personnel and plays, and getting in some extra practice shots (jump shots, 3s, free throws, whatever you mostly shoot in games). Then we had pregame meal in the media room (we usually go to a restaurant in the area).

By the time we finished eating it was close to 3 p.m. We had to be ready on the court at 5 p.m., so most of my teammates decided to stay at Comcast Center. I zipped back to my apartment on my moped to rest and to watch the last 15 minutes of the LSU vs. Baylor game. I was interested in watching LSU, especially since we lost to the Lady Bears in the NCAA Tournament last year and play them in about two weeks.

At about 3:40 p.m. I zipped back to Comcast to get ready for the game. I usually listen to my Discman, no particular music, and focus on the task at hand: winning. I stretched and was out on the court by 4:40 to get some extra shots up before everyone comes out.

The game went well. Everyone played and it was great to get out and play again. It left a taste in my mouth about starting the season and has us really excited to get the season going. It's going to be a long, hard week of practice. We'll prepare this week for Appalachian State with scouting reports and such. Can't wait to be back on the court Friday!