This edition of "The Verbal" features Anna Vaaler. Anna attends Andover (MN) High School and played AAU with Minnesota Fury. Anna is a 5'10" 2024 Guard who recently committed to Sioux Falls. Thanks Anna!
1. With the completion of your AAU season with Minnesota Fury, you announced your commitment to Coach Traphagen and Sioux Falls. What was the moment you realized that Sioux Falls was the right program for you to become a part of?
Sioux Falls was recruiting since the beginning of the AAU season and when I went out on campus in May and met the coaches and some of the players I knew right away that they were a perfect fit for me. After visiting some other schools throughout the summer I knew right before the big July live period I wanted to be apart of their program. Once the AAU season wrapped up, I made my decision and I couldn’t be more excited.
2. It's always a bit of a relief when you make your commitment and can just focus on your Senior season. What are some goals you have for yourself and your teammates in your Senior campaign at Andover?
I think our biggest goal is to win our section and make it to the state tournament. It’s been a dream of ours ever since traveling basketball. I think we have a good chance this year with all the talent we have and knowing that we have something to prove this season. A personal goal for me is to become more of leader on and off the court and really take my game to the next level and being someone that my teammates look up to push them and make everybody around me better everyday.
3. As you look back on all your years in AAU/Club hoops, what were some of the favorite places you traveled to and some of your favorite events you played in things you and your teammates did off the court?
This years AAU season was definitely one of the best especially because it was our first year in the Select 40 circuit. I’ve played down in Louisville at the Run 4 roses tournament which is definitely one of my favorites with the set up they have there. Also the Tournament of Champions in Chicago is also a super fun experience and a great tournament to play in.
4. A lot of younger players in the Andover and Fury programs may ask you for your advice in how to handle the recruiting process. What is some of the advice you would give those younger players?
My biggest advice would to be to never compare yourself to other people. I think a huge piece of recruiting is to run your own race and focus on yourself and your goals. I think it’s super easy to get caught up in recruiting process because of social media and all you see is how this player committed or this player got offered from this school. It can become a lot and get very stressful but its very important to communicate with your parents and coaches on what you’re looking for in a school and basketball program and really think and break down your pros and cons of each school. I think doing that really helped me narrow down my decision and making sure I picked the right school for me.
5. Next spring and summer, before you head to school, you will have some weekends open that have always been filled with AAU. Are there any things you want to do or places you want to travel to in the time following your High School season and before you head to Sioux Falls?
I would love to go to Europe and explore that part of the country. I’ve never been there and I think it would be a great family vacation to take.
6. Do you have any ideas what you may Major in at Sioux Falls and what type of career you are interested in?
I definitely want to stick around sports but not necessarily just basketball. Exercise science is what really interests me and I really enjoy the performance side of sports.
7. You've had the chance to play in many states, and many different gyms, what are a few of the events or gyms that you would say have been your favorites?
Spooky Nook is a very cool facility, I think the set up in amazing in there and the environment is just so awesome to play in. Earlier this AAU season we got to play in the At&T stadium which might have been the best experience ever.