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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fashion statement: KU junior Aldrich just fine without front, left tooth

Kansas university junior center Cole Aldrich flashes a smile before the Tennessee Tech game on Friday at Allen Fieldhouse. Aldrich, who had his front, left tooth chipped in a game last season at Kansas State, has been without the tooth for 10 months.

Kansas university junior center Cole Aldrich flashes a smile before the Tennessee Tech game on Friday at Allen Fieldhouse. Aldrich, who had his front, left tooth chipped in a game last season at Kansas State, has been without the tooth for 10 months.

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Aldrich must wait months for tooth replacement

KU center Cole Aldrich will have to wait until the end of this season to replace a lost tooth he suffered last season.

Unbeaten, with work to do

The men's basketball team hasn't lost yet, but Bill Self says the team still has a lot of work to do. The Jayhawks take on winless Alcorn State Wednesday.

Cole Aldrich won’t be humming “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” this holiday season.

It seems Kansas University’s eccentric junior center is content living life without his front, left chopper.

“I really don’t mind it. I’ve been without it about 10 months now,” Aldrich said.

He first had his tooth chipped in a collision with an unidentified Kansas State player last Valentine’s Day in Manhattan, then had it knocked out for good in practice a few days later.

“It’s a new fashion,” Aldrich joked of going toothless. “It’s one of those new things that Hollywood needs to get hold of.”

The trend-setting 6-foot-11, 245-pounder from Bloomington, Minn., suffered an infection the first time he tried to get his tooth permanently replaced.

Thus he’ll wait until April and the conclusion of the season for trip No. 2 to the oral surgeon.

“They put a bone graft in the gums and a little post in there to attach the tooth,” Aldrich said. “Sometimes it doesn’t always work out. It didn’t work this time. Hopefully it will next time.”

In the interim ... he’ll continue to entertain his teammates while trying to intimidate the opposition — in tonight’s case, 0-9 Alcorn State, which visits Allen Fieldhouse for a 7 p.m. tip.

“I’m kind of a weird, charismatic guy,” Aldrich said, admitting it’s a bit unusual to enjoy having a gap in the front of one’s mouth.

“I have a retainer (holding fake front tooth), but I take it out every once in a while. I like to keep people on their toes. I like to mess with people once in a while.”

It’s as if Aldrich, who was born on Halloween 1988, has a scary mask at his disposal at any time.

“He’ll take it (retainer) out and stick his tongue through it, just a whole bunch of goofy stuff,” junior Brady Morningstar said.

The goofy stuff never fails to amuse Aldrich’s roommate — junior Tyrel Reed.

“He walks around the room and cooks without it on. It’s funny seeing somebody cooking with a missing tooth,” Reed said.

“I’ve woken up in the morning and seen it laying next to my toothbrush in the bathroom. That’s just Cole. That’s just how he is. He’s laid-back — a funny character.”

The easy-going Aldrich enters tonight’s game a bit rejuvenated after scoring 14 points off 5-of-8 shooting in a slump-busting 112-75 victory over Tennessee Tech last Friday.

“Anyone who has had a rough time is always a little down. Once they bust out they are feeling a lot better,” Reed said, aware Aldrich was anxious to bust a two-game skid in which he’d combined for 11 points off 5-of-17 shooting with 14 rebounds.

“Cole was sick for awhile. He’s feeling better now. He hasn’t been taking any medicine. He’s in a better mood, jovial and happy all the time like he usually is.”

Of course a bad mood for Aldrich is a good mood for most individuals.

“Whether he plays good and we win — or bad and we win — he’s always the same as long as we win,” Morningstar said. “He’s a nice guy off the court. He’s a beast on the court.”

This beast doesn’t roar when his teammates fail to feed him the basketball.

“He demands the ball, but he needs to demand it a little more than he is,” Morningstar said. “Obviously he’s a focal point of our team.”

Aldrich, who averages 10.8 points and 8.6 rebounds, has hit 21 of 40 shots through five games compared to his 30 of 50 shooting mark through five contests his sophomore season.

He’s totaled 54 points and 43 rebounds compared to 79 points and 47 boards in the five games that opened the ‘08-09 campaign.

“I mean, it’s kind of a thing I really enjoy just being out there whether the ball is in my hand, I’m taking this many shots or that many shots,” Aldrich said.

“I’m just excited to get out there, get some rebounds, block some shots, just have some fun with the guys.”

Coach Bill Self constantly reminds his players to work the ball down low and in his words, “get Cole touches.”

“I thought he was better, more active and looked quicker against Tennessee Tech,” Self said. “I would say I would not rank it up there to the point where he’s played to his capabilities or his potential.

“That’s not being negative. I think he can play better. I think Sherron (Collins) can play better, especially on the defensive end. We can all play better.”

Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor is counting on Collins and Aldrich to step up in the squad’s marquee games.

“The only close game we’ve had was Memphis and Cole played his best game of the season,” Taylor said of Aldrich, who had 18 points and 11 boards in a 57-55 victory.

“We’ve been having a lot of blowout games. Sometimes when the game gets spread out like that it’s harder to get the big guys touches. When we start getting to crunch time and start playing better teams and the game is a slower pace, he’s going to get a lot more touches.”

In the meantime, Aldrich will continue to enjoy every minute of what most likely is his final year in college. He would have been tapped in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft had he left college after his soph season. He’s again regarded as a possible lottery pick in the 2010 Draft.

“Last year’s team and this year’s team ... every year I’ve been here we enjoyed each other. We’re really a family,” Aldrich said. “We spend several hours a day on the court and hang out in each other’s rooms off the court. We really enjoy each other’s presence.”

How can the players not enjoy hanging around comedian Cole?

“There’s not a better kid,” Self said.

And not many better players — toothless or otherwise.

“I think he’s the best big man in the country,” Self indicated.

Comments

James Miller 9 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Cole and X will decide to come back and be in the first group of Jayhawks to win back to back championships.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 11 months ago

Just some interesting news in case you didn't see it. Drew Gordon, a 6'8" forward from UCLA has left their program. Everyone has been talking about recruits lately and this may be an opportunity to snatch up the forward from UCLA. I don't even know if Self, Manning, and KU are even interested in this guy, but with KU heading to Pauley Pavillion on Sunday I can almost gurantee that Drew Gordon will be at the game or at least watching close by.

Drew Gordon was ranked the #45 prospect coming out of High School in 2008 according to rivals. Self is great at cleaning up a mess from an opposing coach with players so this may also be one of those opportunities.

On a side note, do you all remember J Mison Morgan. He was the highly touted Big Man that was highly considering KU also in the 2008 class (He was the #23 prospect), but chose LSU. He than decommitted still considered KU and chose UCLA. Anyway, he logged a seaon high 7 minutes against Long Beach State last week. Huh? Seems like these two big guys need some Manning Time.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4705019

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 11 months ago

According to the info about tonight's game, the last time we played Alcorn St., the score was 76-56. I suspect that we might see a little more of a margin tonight! They're 0-9, but, we need to make a statement about our team, not take pity on them. We've got UCLA on the road as well as Michigan and Cal coming in this month. These teams are not at the top of their games either right now. But, they are icons in college basketball and decisive wins would bolster our respect and give the confidence that will be needed in January and February when we meet our top threats to the perfect season, Tennessee and Texas. Interesting, both schools go by UT!

Lace em up! Show no mercy!

Get the ball to that snaggle-tooth kid!

40-0,... I believe, do you?

yates33333 9 years, 11 months ago

Hopefully, Aldrich's unfortunate health problem has put him off his game and not the fact that other schools have found a flaw in his play to exploit. Other teams seem to be double and triple teaming him more this year and it seems to be working.

KGphoto 9 years, 11 months ago

Well, he's no Pollard. But a little eccentricity is good.

TenaciousD 9 years, 11 months ago

Shows us how much Mike Leach knows calling it a "witch hunt". Mack Brown also being buddy-buddy with Mangino two weeks ago.

Maybe they don't feel intimidated at all by Mangino and consequently support him. No doubt, they see changes happening to the facilities and program. Maybe they fear Lew.

jbruku 9 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

TenaciousD 9 years, 11 months ago

Sorry. Wrong article for post. Too many browsers open.

Steve Brown 9 years, 11 months ago

Got to love Cole. Is he playing like he is bored w. college ball or just waiting until the rest of the team gets it, to feed him the ball. Or are the others doubling him and so we are taking what they are giving us.

If he continues to get doubled then the twins will continue to rock star, not that they need any encouragement.

half the team looks ready for league play, the other half are talented but clueless, these weeks are the gelling time...let's all come together as a team.

getting Self was the best present .... was it luck or devine intervention.

TheDefinition 9 years, 11 months ago

Here's a personal story of how weird and crazy Cole actually is…Me and my friend went home after a long day of bar hopping and are just hanging out in the living room about 1:00am with the back porch door open on the 3rd level of an apartment buiding. We hear someone start yelling at us “let me in, how do I get up there?” I go to the deck/porch to find Cole on a bike, by himself, asking if he could come up along with his bike to “hang out.” Confused from such a long day, I said come on up. Cole Aldrich walked himself and his bike up 3 flights of stairs and entered our living room. He parked his bike and just hung out with us for 30 min or so, just talking like he was one of our good friends. He then pulls out a camera and asked us to take a picture of him on the bike while he gave a thumbs-up. He then proceeded to show us that we were like the 15th house he had stopped at that night. After the slideshow, he said he had to make a couple more stops and left, walking down the stairs with his bike. One crazy dude who likes to have fun.

gongs4ku 9 years, 11 months ago

Cole is a pretty cool dude. He's a player I'll miss when he goes off to be a millionaire in the NBA somewhere.

thmdmph 9 years, 11 months ago

I hope Cole has a monster night tonight - 30 pts, 20 rebs, 10 assists, 10 blks.

I hate to say it, but tonight is as much of a cup cake as you can get unless you're playing a non D1 school. Even then, competition can still be better. Alcorn got hammered by Wichita State Monday and has gone 0-9 this year. They returned 1 starter from a SWAC team that went 6-25 last season. SWAC is the conference that didn't even have any team making it to the round of 64 NCAA tournament. Our margin of victory should be something like 70-80 points. The major point of emphasis for KU is defend the perimeter.

Next UCLA. I could very much see this as one of those espionage missions. To go into enemy/communist territories and successfully escape with a defection (Drew Gordon). Unless Self has no interest, then Gordon is SOL. Enjoy communism!

jcsmith 9 years, 11 months ago

KUSHAW, Can you say "Withey"?

;)

Good observation there. If you recall, we went to Arizona, came home with a loss, but didnt leave empty handed. Brought a 7 footer home with us in our back pocket.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Wednesday Waiting for the Alcorn Vivisection and Finally Figuring Out Something to Do with the Tilda Key:

~ Drew Gordon leaves. ~J Mison Morgan gets 7 minutes. ~UCLA has two losses, one vs. a cupcake. ~Something is rotten in Westwood. ~No inside contacts there anymore, but suspect Howland in Presto pressure cooker. ~Three trips to FF and no ring, plus underperformance last year given expectations of incoming talent, plus a very slow start this year, mean pressure at UCLA. ~Howland's Underlying Problem: He was a one trick pony and his one trick was the Hack'n'Slap defense he brought with him from Pitt. ~Now that everyone has adopted Hack'n'Slap, UCLA has no defensive advantage anymore and it is inexorably showing up in the W&L Statement. ~UCLA's alumni are insanely balkanized, wealthy, opinionated and political. They make KU's fractious factions seem almost united. ~Even Wooden had trouble at times, when he was allegedly getting too old to coach and the alums were angry that Denny Crum got away. Imagine winning ten rings and the alums claiming he was too old to coach for the last three! ~Wooden has often had next to no influence on hires. ~Ben Howland may be about to be run through the UCLA food processor. ~If UCLA leadership had any sense, which current circumstances suggest they lack, Kurtis Townsend should be their next hire, because he could put every top SoCal kid in Bruin Blue and Gold and because he is smooth enough to unite the factions and because UCLA is long since comfortable with hiring (and firing) African American coaches. ~And Kurtis should hire Billy Gillispie as his top assistant.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

~A Townsend/Gillispie staff would bring Okie Ball to the Pac 10, where it would take the conference by storm for two years while opposing Pac 10 coaches tried to figure it out. And by then the UCLA program would be on a roll and talent rich like KU is now. ~Presently, UCLA is rich on sizzle talent, not steak talent, and hamstrung by a one-trick defensive coach, who has lost his edge, and really has no offensive philosophy worth talking about. ~The good news for KU is: a) UCLA will never stoop to hiring an assistant from anywhere; b) if I recall correctly, Kurtis and UCLA did not see eye to eye when he was a youngster; c) Self would rather move to the L some day, rather than move to Westwood. ~Still, I can dream, can't I? Wouldn't it be sweet to have KU men simultaneously in charge of Baja KU (UNC) , UK (naughty as Cal is, he started at KU and is an LB protege, so that makes him a KU legacy), and UCLA? ~And it seems a foregone conclusion that Joe Dooley is being groomed to replace Jim Calhoun at UConn. Lew will see to that. ~Now, if we can just shoulder Coach K out of Duke by beating him in the Madness a couple of times, then let them go through one Coach K protege who will inevitably fail, then a KU assistant can be planted at Duke and the entire college basketball oligarchy will be KU men. ~It would only be good strategy for KU to have a KU man to go to Duke and create a legitimate countervailing force for Dean and Roy at Baja KU. :-) All would then be right in the basketball universe.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Janks Update:

Tim Jankovich has his Illinois State University Redbirds off to a 6-0 start.

Janks lacks the gift for self-promotion in the media, but he is hands-down the best head coach of a mid major program that a major program could hire to get itself back on track.

Still, Janks might have to turn around a lesser program in a major conference before getting his shot.

How about Colorado? It has been a coaching grave yard for quite awhile, but Boulder still has pizazz and that altitude ought to be exploited by a good coach for a change.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate: I don't know if Colorado will be the choice. Have you seen Colorado play this year. They have a good young team. Bzdelik has had some family personal health problems, but the man himself, Steve McClain (Former Hutch Juco coach) has done a terrific job in his absense. I really do think Colorado is on the up and up. After seeing their performances in Maui, I am a believer. Wheter or not they can execute the consistency is another story, but for right now I have faith what Colorado is doing. I mean, they only get better and improve, right?

angusmcpherr 9 years, 11 months ago

memhawk- The score was transposed. Last time KU played Alcorn was in LB's first year. KU won 57-56 in first round of tourney.

keith horinek 9 years, 11 months ago

MemHawk, Nooooooooo! not 40-0! Way too much pressure for this team if we are undefeated going into the tournament. If we had more seniors I would not worry about that as much, but with one senior, one junior, two soph. and one freshman starting I'm not sure this team could handle that kind of pressure. Anybody see UNC handle Michigan State last night?

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

kushaw,

Thanks for the scouting report. No, I have not seen them yet. I just read somewhere that they were struggling again and have been a Bzdelik doubter. I will try to keep closer tabs and withhold further crits of Jeff B until I see them.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

What an absolutely wonderful picture of Cole!!!

Is this a Special Season, or what?!!!

Nick Krug comes back to document it with his special genius and now someone named Richard Gwin shows up with an absolutely brilliant photo of Cole; one that at long last captures for posterity all the sweet Huck Finnishness of Cole that the players and coach speak of, as counterpoint to the frequently incredibly tough beast in the paint that we get to see in games.

Keegs, if Gwin can bring it like this with any regularity, you may be having a special season of photography just as Self is having a special season of basketball.

Nick, you are still the go to guy, but you may now have a worthy glue guy to make you your absolute stellar best!!

A golden age of photography may be upon us.

Rock chalk!

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

TheDefinition,

First, I don't believe this story. It seems like one of those plants aimed passive aggressively at spinning a guy's Q rating in a wrong direction.

Second, I hope its true. It would mean that Cole is doing some of the kinds of fun, exploratory things at college that college is good for.

As I have said before, John Riggins, visiting during his time with the Jets, helped me out of a tight situation at the Harbor one night, with an out of town thug I had foolishly bet money with on a game of 9 ball. Riggo's quarter was up next to play me, as I had been holding the table awhile. The thug (not Riggo) kept hiding the cue ball on me and his friends kept threatening me that if I won, they would take me outside.

Finally, Riggo stepped up and picked up one end of the seven foot table and rolled all the balls into the downhill corner pockets. Yep, he even tilted it up on one leg to accomplish the fete.

Then Riggo stepped in and said to the thug, "The kid wins. You lose. Its my turn. Now beat it."

I will always owe John Riggins my knee caps, whether he remembers, or not.

Cole seems a lot more gentle, but just as charismatic and memorable and charming as my beloved John Riggins.

Interacting with extraordinary athletes who are also extraordinary human beings is one of the greatest and rarest of experiences one can have at KU.

Good for you, if the story you related about Cole is actually true. And good for Cole.

Trey Hohman 9 years, 11 months ago

If there was a cologne named “Cole Aldrich” I’d wear it.

TheDefinition 9 years, 11 months ago

jaybate: I have no way to prove this happened other than the fact I'd be a crazy person to make a story like that up. Your story about Riggins is definitely one to remember. Wish I was there, I would have helped you out.

timecronk 9 years, 11 months ago

This is the first time Cole has reminded me of Greg Ostertag. Too bad he doesn't have as cool of a story about losing the tooth. How many teeth did Ostertag lose on that waterslide, wasn't it like five?

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 11 months ago

It's truly a shame that those guys who let Cole in their apartment didn't have a camera too.

Think of the cred that they would be able to claim if they had only had a camera handy.

Maybe after a night of consumption, they just thought they saw a 7 ft. guy with a missing tooth on a bicycle! Stranger tales have been told, you know?

Since Cole likes to go out riding at 1 am, he should have been out on I-70 a while back to rescue Brady!

SDSurferFan 9 years, 11 months ago

Please send link to game tonight. justintv, password phog. I need the link, thanks in advance

Milhawkee 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm surprised there wasn't a reference to Ostertag in the article. Fun fact: Greg used to keep his teeth in a glass jar under the bench during the game and take them out from time to time to look at them.

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