Cole Aldrich, ranked as the No. 25 recruit in the class of 2007 by rivals.com, is the prized piece so far of Bill Self's incoming freshman class for the 2007-08 season. And after a busy week of finals, Aldrich will join KUSports.com for a live chat Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. Whether you're curious about his senior season at Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High, his future at KU and whatever else, the 6-foot-10 big man will be here to field your questions.
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Hello everybody and welcome to today's chat. It's a much-anticipated one, based on the flood of questions we've received for today's guest. He's Cole Aldrich, currently ranked as the No. 25 recruit in the country out of the greater Minneapolis, Minn. area. Aldrich is the headliner so far in KU's men's basketball recruiting class for the 2007-08 season, and he's now joining us from his laptop at home. Cole, thanks for taking the time to talk with our readers and your fans. Judging by the number of questions, you're already quite a popular guy in the Jayhawk Nation. I understand you just got done with finals, you've got to be a relaxed young man today, huh?
Yes, today is my 'day off' til tonight when we play another conference game. Should be a good game.
Well, before we get into all of the questions, Cole, why don't you tell everyone how good ol' Jefferson High is doing this season? And yourself on court?
Well right now are playing pretty well. Our team is 10-4, lost a hard game Tuesday against Burnsville. They are a very good team, we didn't play as well as we wanted to. The first half they hit 7-10 from beyond the arch. Myself, I am playing well. Right now I am averaging 22 almost 23 ppg, 17 or 18 rpg with 4 apg and 4 bpg.
Those stats probably just made the day for plenty of our readers. Well, lets get down to business. Before we get started, on behalf of myself (Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor, sorry, forgot to introduce myself at the start) and Cole Aldrich, thanks for being here...here we go.
Cole, KU fans would like to get inside the head of a KU recruit. Please tell us how you viewed KU prior to being recruited and then how they got your attention and finally how you decided to choose KU.
It's actually kinda worked the opposite way then most people think. My family and I almost recruited ourselves to KU. It started freshman yr when we went to Coach Self first game (TN Chattonooga) and coaches didn't who we were and we asked for tickets to the game but they were very nice and gave us a tour of the Allen and a campus tour. Also, KU is a great place and the coaches really don't need to do much recruiting when you are consistantly at the top of rankings and you have the best fans in the country.
Hey Cole, it's great to have you coming in next season and you'll look awesome in the Crimson & Blue!!! As another "true big man" (Sasha the other), you'll add a huge boost to our frontline, but my question is what do you see as being the best asset to the team aside from your size? Thanks again, and Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!
Definetly my defense. I was actually named Defensive Player of the Year (AP) for the state of Minnesota for the 3rd consecutive year(only to ever do that). I love rebounding and blocking shots.
Hey Cole, thanks for making time (and for choosing us!).
Is there a player whose style you try to emulate, or incorporate into your game? Fellow Minnesotan McHale, maybe?
Keep playing hard, and Rock Chalk!
I try to emulate Dennis Rodman/ Ben Wallace on the defensive end and on the offensive end I am still improving everyday but I would like to say Amire Stoudemire just because he loves to dunk on people.
is your strength and conditioning up to big 12 standards and if not what will it take in your opinion with that take - what is your vertical leap?
My strength & conditioning is increasing. There is a huge difference between high school basketball and Big Time college basketball, so it will take even more work to maintain and even improve my S & C. Coaches will definetly make sure it is up to par over the summer.
Speaking of which, Cole, when are you planning on moving to Lawrence? Nervous at all?
I will be taking classes throughout the summer. So right after I go through graduation I will down in Lawrence. I'm not really nervous, I feel very comfortable with the town and the people. Everyone in Lawrence has been very welcoming and has made it feel like home.
Congrats on becoming a Jayhawk! What do you think this year's Kansas team needs to concentrate most on to make a magical run in March Madness?
Additionally, what area of your game do you feel you need to most work on to make the jump to big time college basketball?
I'd love for this years team to win The National Championship. All of them have worked very hard and they all deserve it. I know many of the Jayhawk fans out there would love to see their team get past that haunting first round. Also, i am really working on my conditioning, I think that will be the most important factor in making the jump.
Knowing what you know about KU this year. Do you think anyone will turn pro? If so which player/s? Would you mind having everyone back and making a run at the Championship next year?
We have a very good chance of having a few players play in the NBA next year. Probably the most notible would be Rush, knowing that he had the chance last year and he make the decision to stay. Also Mario is playing well and has that chance to. I would love to have the whole team stay and make the run for the title.
Why do you think KU's current squad keeps losing to under-matched teams and playing down to the level of their opponents? (such as depaul, ORU, TxTech, Bucknell, & Bradley)
How do you think you can help them in that regard?
I dont know if I would consider any of those teams an under dog. I know DePaul almost beat PITT, Tech beat A&M, Bucknell and Bradley has beat a number of very good teams. I think it just shows that any team can beat any team, no matter if they are ranked #1 or #250, if you don't play your best you can be beat.
Hey Cole, I was just wondering if you've noticed the local Minnesota KU fans at your high school games? We're that serious about our hoops that we come to check you out. Also, did your folks or family know there is an official KU watchsite location? Tiffany's Sports Lounge in the Highland Park area of St. Paul.
I have noticed that local KU fans around at some of our games. It's great to see that people are that serious about their basketball to come watch me play. Hopefully everyone is pleased with how I am laying. I/my parents never knew about Tiffany's, We will definetly have to check it out, maybe even for tomorrow's game!
What's up Cole! Alum living in NY! How do you see yourself helping the team next season and how good of a free throw shooter are you because it seems like that is an important piece our big guys never seem to be good at?
I see myself helping out by doing anything I can, whether if it's rebounding, scoring, or cheer my hardest. Also, the beginning of the season my FT % was down. I wasn't taking my time and I think that was due to the excitement of the season starting. I have since then relaxed and my % is rising. I wish I had an exact % but I don't.
i know you've worn #55 and #45 in photos of HS games on websites...do you know what number you'll wear here at Kansas yet?
I have talked to coaches about wearing #45, they said it was fine. I only wore the #55 for pictures my freshman year and during the season I wore my usual #45.
OK guys, I've got 4 more quick questions lined up in the que...
Cole, is there any particular team (in the Big 12 or otherwise) that you are looking forward to playing against next season?
I am excited to play ISU and TX A & M. ISU because they have Corey Johnson who was another player that is from MN. Our H.S teams actually played but i didn't play because that was when I was injured. A&M because they have another big guy that is a senior that I look forward to take it to him.
Favorite KU player of all time. Who is it?
Wilt or Danny Manning. Both being big men, I loved both of their playing styles. Wilt was an absolutely unstoppible force that changed that game in so many different aspects. And Danny Manning because he was another freak athete and most importantly one of the most humble and down to earth men around.
Other than basketball, what are you most excited about as a college freshman and living in Lawrence?
I'm most excited about seeing some of my H.S friends. Our school actually has a fair amount of students who attend KU. Also making it my new home away from home, that people are all great and Lawrence is a beautiful town.
OK, Cole, this seems to be a pretty popular query...
Hey Cole! Thanks for choosing KU...we can't wait to have you here!
One question---is it really true that you were taken to CiCi's Pizza in Lawrence on your recruiting visit and you loved it/made a very positive impression on you? I can't say I blame you...we love going there too.
I was first told about Cici's my sophomore year when we were taking an unofficial and we checked it out. It was great, the price is cheap and the pizza is very good! I know I will be making more trips over my stay in Lawrence.
Cole, before you go, from the desk of the moderator...
1) A bunch of people e-mailed asking about your vertical leap. What is it?
2) You pullin' for my Bears in the Super Bowl?
I'm not sure what my vertical leap it. I know I can put my wrist at the top of the shooting box, if that helps. The Bears? That's like asking a KU fan if they like Mizzu. Vikings fans arn't to fond of Bears fans. I wish them the best of luck in the Superbowl because Manning will bring his A game.
Eh, you're a loyal man, Cole, so I guess I can't hold it against you. Again, we truly appreciate you taking time during your 'day off' to visit with us, and I'm sure the readers are glad you did, too. Good luck on the hardwood tonight, and we'll be seeing you this summer. And who knows, maybe our readers will get to chat with you again here.
Well thank for being taking time to have me. Rock Chalk!