Created:Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:50 a.m.CDT

Pregame Rituals: Najul Ervin - Snooze or lose

Najul Ervin likes to take a two-hour nap on the couch in the Huskies' locker room before home games. (Beck Diefenbach and Rob Winner)

Najul Ervin isn't hard to find two hours before a game.

He's in dreamland on the couch in the Northern Illinois locker room, enjoying a two-hour nap while fully dressed in his jersey, shorts and warmup gear, everything except his shoes, which sit beside him on the floor.

If you're wondering if the couch fits Ervin's 6-foot-5 frame and if it's comfortable, the answers are sort of and yes.

"Of course my feet are going to be dangling off of it, but yeah, it's big enough," Ervin said, staring at his feet and shrugging. "For the most part it is [comfortable]. I haven't had any problems with it."

And if you're wondering why Ervin is going just as hard, if not harder than his teammates in warmups, well, there's a reason for that.

Five hours before tipoff, Ervin goes through his normal pregame meal with his teammates, then he goes down to the locker room, puts on his uniform, socks, warmup top and pants and falls asleep on the couch in the locker room for about two hours.

"I put all that on before I fall asleep so I can just wake up and go right out on the court," he said.

The senior forward never once has overslept for a game.

"In high school I almost did," Ervin said. "But not here. I always sleep in the locker room so one of my teammates will wake me up.

"I have my alarm on but they always wake me up before we have to go out. They'll wake me up right on time. We have to be on the court an hour, 15 minutes minutes early so I wake up 1 hour, 20 minutes early."

It's never one specific teammate who has to wake up Ervin, but he always finds one.

Those five minutes between when Ervin wakes up and when he has to be out on the court isn't a lot of time to go from rest to aerobic activity, but Ervin pushes himself in warmups to get his blood flowing again after his pregame respite.

"I have to warm up real hard once I wake up in order to get myself going," Ervin said.

Once he does that, Ervin is ready to go and has more than enough fuel in the tank to try to contribute for the Huskies.

"I get enough rest," Ervin said. "Believe that."

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