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Thursday, August 20, 2009

KU’s Aldrich ready for junior season

Kansas center Cole Aldrich puts his arm around guard Sherron Collins as the two make their way from the floor late in the second half against  Iowa State Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich puts his arm around guard Sherron Collins as the two make their way from the floor late in the second half against Iowa State Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Two named to Wooden Award watch

Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich were both named to the Wooden Award watch list. The Wooden Award is presented to the best player in college basketball. There are 50 players on the list, and KU is one of nine schools to have two players make the list.

Cole Aldrich, who is expected to vie for college basketball player of the year honors his junior season at Kansas University, hasn’t let any summertime hype go to his head.

“I’m nervous again,” Aldrich said Tuesday.

Not about his game.

He was referring to speaking to a dozen media members who surrounded him at Parrott Athletic Center.

It seems Aldrich remains a guy more comfortable talking about the team than perhaps being the face of college basketball during the 2009-10 season.

“I think that’d be cool,” Aldrich said, asked about he or teammate Sherron Collins perhaps emerging as the No. 1 player in the land.

“Being in that group of elite players who have been able to do that ... I think one thing that would make me proud and the rest of the Big 12 is to be able to have a player in our league do that again. In past years we’ve been able to have guys from our conference (like Michael Beasley and Blake Griffin the past two years) show we have some of the top players and are a top conference in the country.”

Aldrich went to work on his body and his game this summer in an attempt to take that next step.

“Coach talked about getting my legs stronger. I think I have done that,” said the 6-foot-11, 248-pounder from Bloomington, Minn.

“I think that’ll improve my game a lot. Instead of going against guys like Dexter Pittman (Texas) and getting pushed out, I can hold my own against him. That dude is a load, but hey, if you can hold guys like that, you can hold anybody.”

Aldrich worked out in both Lawrence and Minnesota this summer. He also worked several camps, including the LeBron James camp in Akron, Ohio, and Amare Stoudemire camp in Phoenix.

“We worked hard in the weight room and on the court,” he said. “We also had time to have a little fun. It’s the main thing you want to do in the summer, kind of get away from it but also stay into it.”

Cole’s dad, Walter, said it was great to have his son home for about a month total.

“He worked out a lot and got to play some golf,” Walter Aldrich said, impressed with his son’s well-conditioned body. “He tried wrestling the old man. I told him, ‘I’m too old for that now,’’’ Cole’s dad added with a laugh.

Cole said he felt the support of his buddies back home, laughing when asked if anybody teased him about not playing for say, the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA, instead of KU this season.

It’s believed Aldrich would have been a lottery pick had he entered the 2009 Draft after his sophomore season.

“I’d say a lot of people are just excited to have another season to watch me on TV and our team to be successful,” Aldrich said. “People are excited for the outcome of our season.”

Aldrich said expectations remain the same despite the fact KU will likely be No. 1 in preseason polls.

“We have the same goals we’ve had since I’ve been here, winning the Big 12 Conference then the Big 12 tournament, making a good run (in NCAAs) and hopefully we can win another championship,” said Aldrich, who was a freshman when KU won the national title in 2008. “That’s a lot on the plate, but you know it really takes a lot to get to that point. A lot of things have to happen to have a successful season. I think they can.”

Aldrich — he said he simply loves being a college student — plans on having a “blast” again this year. He remains one of the most popular players on the team. Proof of that?

“Ask him about the managers and what they did for him,” Walter said. “They re-did the rooms (improvements at Jayhawker Towers) this year and he wasn’t there the day they moved. The managers did it for him. He at least had all his stuff in boxes,” Walter added.

Comments

Trey Hohman 10 years, 5 months ago

still convinced Aldrich would've gone #2 in last year's draft. I'm so happy he's back!!! I'd almost be willing to throw a party on behalf of it, similar to my wedding reception.

Aligned 10 years, 5 months ago

Cole is the epitome of everything that's right with collegiate sports.

shoedee 10 years, 5 months ago

Anybody have an update on Cole's dad's job situation? I always appreciated, despite his family's financial hardship, Cole's parents seemed to keep as a first priority the importance of Cole staying in college, developing further, enjoying college life before the rigors of the NBA and getting an education.

Joe Baker 10 years, 5 months ago

I like the blue on crimson unis. I wish they would wear them more often for away games, rather than the crimson on blue! Doesn't matter, but the red looks sharp.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 5 months ago

KU Five Star Recruiting Update: [ ] - indicates class ranking

KU Offers, Class of 2010 - Guards: Brandon Knight [1], Kyle Irving[9], Joe Jackson12], Doron Lamb[21] - Forwards: Harrison Barnes {2], Terrence Jones [13] - Centers: Adriean Payne[20]

KU Offers, Class of 2011 - Guards: Bradley Beal[7], Anthony Wroten JR[9]

Certainly all subjective and subject to change instantaneously but interesting, none the less. Any comments, questions or concerns?

I wonder if the Memphis situation will effect Joe Jackson's leaning toward the Tigers?

esteshawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Good to hear to lower body update. It all starts with the base.

For my part, Cole's performance as a freshman against Hansbrough goes down as the second best performance of any Jayhawk since 1988 (behind Manning against OU). I will always remember Cole blocking the shot, making an outlet pass, then looking down at Hansbrough writhing on the floor. Good times.

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 5 months ago

It will be interesting to see how much improvements Cole has acquired this year. Strength and endurance were big factors for Cole game in the NCAA tourney late last year. Is there any player from our 2009-10 schedule who will be able to test Cole like Goran Sutton did? (Big man who can step outside and drain with consistency).

Joel Hood 10 years, 5 months ago

I remember hearing that the red uni's were linked to the Adidas contract and that KU is obligated to wear them twice per year. I'm not sure of all the details, but if memory serves, the coaching staff is not too fond of them. It could be from HCBS & Danny's experience in 1986 when we lost to Duke in the red uni's. For me, I love the blue uni's and was very happy that all the NC pics from 1988 & 2008 were in the blue.

ShawHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

esteshawk, I think Nick Collison would probably have a thing or two to say about the idea that Aldrich's 8-7-4 game against North Carolina was the best performance by a KU player since 1988. Games that come to mind: 19 points, 21 rebounds in the national title game, 33 & 19 vs Duke in the Sweet 16, 24 & 23 vs. Texas on Big Monday.

Jeff Schartz 10 years, 5 months ago

When a jayhawk BB player goes to a skills camp in the off season, who pays for it? Is it part of their scholarship offer? Do they pay for it themselves? Can somebody shed some light on this for me?

kw11b2p 10 years, 5 months ago

Aligned........well said

I love this young man. I love his attitude, his work ethic, his natural ability, his loyalty, and his mere presence. He should definately have some very proud parents, and let me say thank you to them for doing an exceptional job!

Trey Hohman 10 years, 5 months ago

Watching opposing teams try to defend Sherron & Aldrich at the same time this year is going to be exactly like watching a bunch of people trying to defuse a pipe bomb while simultaneously learning Cantonese.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 5 months ago

Defending Sherron and Cole would be exactly like:

Doing your taxes in Swahili!! Balancing an egg on your nose on a roller coaster!! Having to kiss Joan Rivers......with tongue!! Being in line behind Coach Mangino at the buffet!! Asking Jaybate to give a one word summary!! Being married three times..and having to pay for all three weddings...Ooops, I did that already!!!!!

perryellisfuturehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Cole's going to be an animal this year. He went to the Lebron camp this summer and attended a bunch of Perry Ellis' games. I saw Perry this past weekend and had him sign a KU hat. The kid is very timid, but I was teasing him about KU having him locked up. Trying to plant the seed early. By the time he is a senior he is going to be a beast.

kvskubball 10 years, 5 months ago

Oakville,

It's great to think about those that we may still sign, but you neglected to mention someone who has already given KU his commitment! Royce Woolridge, guard from Phoenix, has already committed to KU in the 2010 class. Need to give him more props than those on your 'maybe' list, IMO.

Royce's ranking is pretty interesting, Rivals currently has him ranked outside the top 100 (down from #66 in last year's Lindy's mag - which uses Rivals' rankings), while he is still in the top 100 in another list, I think at #68 (I'll look and see if it is ESPN or someone else).

kvskubball 10 years, 5 months ago

westtex...

LeBron also has (a) camp(s) similar to Bill Self's and most other coaches, for youngsters. I'm not sure, but maybe those college players that go to his academy work the camps? Then go to the academy??? They can be paid a fee for working camps, and maybe that helps fund any tuition to the Academy? I'll see if I can find any info...

Helen Gross 10 years, 5 months ago

Pittman is totally scary. As long as he doesn't give cole a concussion!

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