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Sunday, December 16, 2007

KU’s Aldrich on rise

Freshman 'getting better every day'

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2007-08 Dec. 15 KU-Ohio Basketball

— He was behind the play, and then he was the play. Kansas University reserve freshman center Cole Aldrich slammed home a missed shot with two hands to trigger a huge ovation from the crowd and the KU bench late in Saturday's 88-51 victory against Ohio University in the Sprint Center.

"I was running back, being the trailer, I saw it come off, and I'm like, 'I hope it comes off my way,' and it did, and I put it back home," Aldrich said. "It was fun. It was just exhilarating doing that in front of the TV cameras with all my friends and family watching back home."

Aldrich, a 6-foot-11, 245-pound native of Bloomington, Minn., has been scoring in a variety of ways as the second big man off the bench. Short bank shots, hook shots, put-backs off the glass, dunks.

In the past three games, against Eastern Washington, DePaul and Ohio, Aldrich has played a combined 33 minutes, time enough to total 18 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Aldrich has played as many as 15 minutes in four games, but it has been during his practice time, he said, that he has progressed the most. Seniors Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun and sophomore Darrell Arthur have gotten most of the post player minutes, but Aldrich looks more comfortable all the time.

"I'd love to be playing major minutes and whatnot, but I love Sasha, Darnell and Shady, so if they're doing their thing, I'm happy, and I'm cheering them on," Aldrich said.

Playing daily against the three players he mentioned has sped up Aldrich's improvement.

"We all hit each other in practice," Jackson said. "There's no brother-in-law ball. We don't play soft with each other. We do that, and nobody is going to get better. If you get hit in the mouth with an elbow, it's, 'You all right?' 'Yeah.' Then we just keep playing through it. It was real tough on Cole at the beginning because he wasn't used to playing against big guys in high school. He has a long way to go, but he's learning. He asks questions every day."

Aldrich's role will expand with the departure of Kaun, Jackson and perhaps Arthur, but nobody's waiting until next season for him to be a significant contributor.

"Cole is going to bring a lot to the table this year, especially when Big 12 ball comes," Jackson said. "I see it. The coaches see it. Everybody sees it. He's getting better every day."

Comments

JHawk74 12 years, 6 months ago

ODC, we have a 9 or 10 man rotation. With Alridge and Reed being the 9th and 10th man off the bench.

Joe Ross 12 years, 6 months ago

To Tom Keegan...I think your point about Kansas coming together is beginning to hold water.

To the poster "caddie"..."somewhere" in these message boards you extolled the virtues of CA. He DOES look like he's coming along. I saw some freshman mistakes but he does look like hes doing much better.

Robert Brock 12 years, 6 months ago

Cole has skills. He just needs to get stronger. A LOT stronger.

Brock

JNgohawks 12 years, 6 months ago

I like Cole alot, I feel good when he is out there. He has a good confidence about him.He is a future cornerstone of our program. Better than Ostertag, and way way above Chenowith.

odc213 12 years, 6 months ago

Kansas scored 88 points. KU had our last national title in '88 I like 8. So should KU. March 28th 2008 could be a big day and we have a 8 man rotation Let win it all in '08

JayCeph 12 years, 6 months ago

Wow, APD, why the vitriol? ODC was just showing their enthusiasm...

(Keep it up ODC, I was doing the same thing on Saturday. At the end of the game, I went grocery shopping and my total bill came to $88. Coincidence? I think not...)

Cole and Kaun were monsters on Saturday. I loved watching them both rebound, block shots and follow missed shots with strong stick-backs. The alley-oop to Kaun from Robinson was a beauty!

Chris McIlvain 12 years, 6 months ago

Lebowski - I'm actually impressed that a pollock spelled most of his words correctly. You're as big an idiot as ODC

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