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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Keegan

Aldrich prevents ORU II

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KU squeaks past Siena

The Jayhawks barely beat Siena, 91-84.

Marchello Vealy appeared Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse in the body of Siena’s Clarence Jackson, and suddenly the game that was in the bag became the game that threatened the long homecourt winning streak.

You remember Marchello Vealy. He was the Oral Roberts player who stepped out of oblivion for one game, buried seven of eight three-point shots to spark an upset of Kansas University, and then returned to oblivion forevermore.

Jackson entered the game with a .228 long-range accuracy percentage, averaging less than one made three per game. In this one, Jackson fired in four three-pointers in seven attempts. Overall, Siena hit 10 of 21.

But Siena did not match the upset feat of Oral Roberts because Cole Aldrich didn’t let it happen.

On paper, this was a game Aldrich should dominate. Siena had a lot going for it, namely winning experience, with all five starters back from a team that upset Vanderbilt in a first-round game last March in the NCAA Tournament. What Siena didn’t have was an answer for Aldrich, the 6-foot-11, 245-pound, sure-handed sophomore from Bloomington, Minn.

Aldrich answered the call, producing 24 points with 13 rebounds (four offensive boards) and four blocked shots in the 91-84 victory. In the process, Aldrich left his hard-to-please coach marveling at one particular knack of his.

“The thing that Cole does as well as anybody that I’ve coached, maybe ever, is reading offensive rebounds,” Bill Self said. “He will not let his man block him off. His effort on the offensive glass is phenomenal. It is far better than anyone else on our team and is the best in the league. He is leading the league in offensive rebounds per game, with a guy named (Oklahoma’s) Blake Griffin in our league.”

Aldrich is an easy guy to wish well. He’s friendly, funny, smart and has a way of keeping his head from swelling, even in an atmosphere in which he constantly hears and reads people talking and writing about what a terrific basketball player he is. As a basketball fan, Aldrich isn’t a whole lot different from the rest of us. Ask him what player comes to mind when he thinks about a great offensive rebounder, and he answers with a predictable name.

“Dennis Rodman,” Aldrich said. “He was a little different, but when he stepped on the court, he gave it his all. That’s what I try to do all the time.”

Any plans to copy Rodman fashion-wise?

“I don’t think I’m going with the green or red or black hair or anything like that,” Aldrich said.

What about wearing a dress to a game? Rodman did that once while playing for the Bulls.

“That’s not quite my style,” Aldrich said.

Tattoos, mohawks and earrings, aren’t his style, either.

Relentlessly pursuing offensive rebounds, as did Rodman, now that’s more like it.

The key to it, Aldrich said, is, “trying to figure out where the ball is coming off. Once you think it’s coming off a certain way, it’s all effort, going after it and trying to rip it away.”

Great hitters have the ability to see what pitch is coming right out of the pitcher’s hand. It’s no different for great offensive rebounders.

“Right after it leaves the shooter’s hand,” Aldrich said. “Just by playing basketball so much you can kind of tell where it’s coming off.”

Comments

yates33333 11 years ago

Collison played hard but lacked the height and, believe it or not, agility of Aldrich. At least Collison didn't seem to move as smoothly under the basket. He probably wasn't as smooth, but he gave great effort.I think drgnslayr remembers Wilt as a pro not as a college player at KU. I wonder if they kept track of where on the floor Wilt was shooting from while at KU. I think younger posters would be surprised.

leonard 11 years ago

drgnslayr is the perfect example of why the word fan gets its meaning from the word fanatic.Cole is shooting over 80% from the line and 63% from the field...including 73% in the last 3 games and some fanatic wants to completely revamp his shooting style...oh my aching butt, what a laugher.Cole is a heck of a player right now...and improving steadily. His value will leap off the charts when he refines his low post moves...not his jump shooting style.

Jonathan Allison 11 years ago

Very true leonard.Cole is a big man. In the NBA he will only be taking jump shots when he's wide open. It's on the blocks where he will make his name. That being said, his shot actually looks similar to Kevin Garnett's. He probably grew up idolizing KG, and tried to mimic his shooting stroke. Cole pulls it back a little further and it takes him a little longer to get his shot off, but that's an easy fix. He doesn't need to have Reggie Miller's stroke in order to be an outstanding pro.

jahawkdave 11 years ago

Dslayer, have you ever seen a guy named Jamal Wilkes, Cornbread Maxwell's shot or current NBA'r Marcus Camby. All these successful NBA players were fine with unusal strokes. Centers don't abosolutely have to have a quick shot from outside or midrange, since they are not creating their own shots like guards and forwards. Most big men generally shoot outside when they are wide open or off a pick and roll and that allows time for a slower shot. Regardless the way he shoots is from that angle and his size makes it fairly hard to defend. Trying to change his shot would be ridiculous.

jaybate 11 years ago

“Right after it leaves the shooter’s hand, just by playing basketball so much you can kind of tell where it’s coming off.”--Cole AldrichThis is the basketball equivalent of Ted Williams with 20-10 vision watching the laces on the ball leaving the pitcher's hand. Cole is right that balling a lot develops this ability to a high level, but you've got to have the ability present to develop. Bill Bridges, where ever he is, has to be watching Cole's offensive board work and smiling and nodding. Bridges, the greatest rebounder inch for inch of all time, is saying, "The kid's got it. There's only a few of us. We are the truly rare breed of basketball players--the great offensive rebounders. And thank heavens the kid's not a jerk like Rodman." Quick, someone on the LJW, interview Bill Bridges on offensive rebounding and on Cole's offensive rebounding. This is a great story waiting to be written. When Bill Self says Cole is the best he's ever had at offensive rebounding, this story becomes significant.

jaybate 11 years ago

yates33333,I agree with you that Aldrich is a greater force in the paint at the same stage of development and that he probably will develop into a greater force down the road. But Nick did it and Cole is only starting to do it. Cole still has to have a great game against a great center before we can say he has truly learned how to play with the best. I believe he will do it. I believe Coach Self is trying to pump up his confidence for the MSU game, with the comparison to OU's center. But I believe Cole is still in the process of building the confidence from experience that he needs to become an excellent center. Facing the mugging he is going to get from MSU, whether he fares well, or poorly, is going to advance his game a long way. He will never get roughed up more than they are going to rough him up. I would expect cuts, bruises and teeth loosened. They are really going to test him. Ratso Izzo takes no prisoners in his home crib. Fortunately, Self has coached against Ratso Izzo while Self was in Champaign Urbana. Self and Danny are going to have to have Cole deliver some blows, or it will really get ugly for KU. This is going to be this KU team's first real mug ball contest. The Twins are really going to take big heat, too. Kieff and Marcus both are going to be wondering what they were complaining about regarding contact in the other games they have played in this season. They are actually going to be hit and thrown to the floor in this game.I predict you are going to see some seriously rough basketball the first seven minutes, but who knows? I only know it is going to get brutal sooner or later.

jaybate 11 years ago

Self's teams have a history of not backing down in these sorts of slug fests. But Self's teams in the past have had been full of players who were very tough customers by nature. Tyshawn Taylor is pretty soft. He's been getting intimidated when contested at the rim by guys who are not trying to floor him. What's he going to do when MSU literally shoves him into the back board, or off the court a couple of times. Russell Robinson was the kind of guy who came back on the floor and got even, while he kept performing cooly. Will Tyshawn? Will the Twins?Back to Nick for a moment: We tend to remember Nick in his last season, when he developed into a consummate college basketball player. He played well for several years, but he just became stellar that last season. He was probably a much better natural shooter than Cole will be, but you never know how these things develop until they play out. Unorthodox shooters can sometimes become very good. Just watch a kinescope of Dick Barnett of the New York Knicks back int the dark ages.Nick Collison was an incredibly sound fundamental basketball player with limited foot speed, great technique, several perfected offensive moves, and a fine touch. He was basically a four playing 4 and 5. He was not a great shot blocker. He was a very good rebounder, but I don't recall him having the offensive rebounding knack that Cole has.Cole, on the other hand, has a jump hook that he seems to have quit using much, because of double teams. And he has a step out to 16 feet J that looks goofy but which goes in frequently. But he just is awkward in his turn arounds and what he really lacks, kind of surprisingly, is a really good drop step move. He's scoring his points on stick backs, alley oops, dishes, and that 16 foot J. Frankly, its amazing he's as productive as he is with the limited number of moves he has perfected so far. If he were to add a reliable turn around J to one direction and a drop step to the opposite direction, then he would become a scoring machine capable of 30 point games most any time, whether or not they choose to ask him to score that much. I used to think the jump hook could be the key to his offense. Now I think not. I think what he needs to do is copy a page from Wilt Chamberlain's book and learn the fade away turn around J. His goofy J could adapt to a fade away and that would make him unblockable.

JayCeph 11 years ago

"Cole still has to have a great game against a great center before we can say he has truly learned how to play with the best."Jaybate, wouldn't you say that Cole had a pretty monster showing against a premiere big man in last season's pairing with the TarHoles? I'm not suggesting that his journey is complete but, I would suspect it is well under way... far more than a lot of people would guess.

jayhawkr34 11 years ago

there's not alot of people on here i dont like that comments, but jaybate has to be at the top of the list. cole has to have a great game against a good center? jaybate, remember the NC game last yr, against the naismith winner? dude, if i were you i would lose that id you have and never say anything on here again. what a d-ass.

jayhawkcat 11 years ago

Jaybate, did you ever see Chamberlain play at Kansas? Well, I did and Cole looks a lot like Wilt at that stage. Cole will only get better as time goes on as did Wilt .

JayCeph 11 years ago

I like Jaybate's pontificating. He is always thorough in his deliberations and often poses unique perspectives that are enjoyable to read if nothing else. Come on man, show a little discipline with your posts.Jaybate rarely (if ever) resorts to ripping on other posters and calling them names. He just sticks to the subject matter (no matter how loosely) and chats up the Jayhawks faithful. Nothing wrong with that.

Dan Harris 11 years ago

JayCeph- Saying Jaybate "chats" is like calling War And Peace a short novel

Dale Kroening 11 years ago

I agree Cole had a great game while playing against Tyler and NC, and hes having a great year and will only get better,but TH is NOT a center he's 6'6" or 6'7" and WILL NOT be a starter in the league. As far as Wilt, Cole has a ways to go and he doesnt need that pressure.

Robert Brock 11 years ago

jayhawkr, if you disagree, then explain why. There are few people on here that contribute like Jaybate. Atleast the guy makes some interesting and valid points. As Coach Dooley would say, "$@#% &#%"

jayhawkr34 11 years ago

i pretty much made my pointand i didnt know jaybate had cronies....how much does he pay

Kit Duncan 11 years ago

To those who have made disparaging comments about jaybate and his posts, realize that he has as much or more right to speak his mind on here. If he or anyone is ever out of line you may click on the link suggesting removal of the post.Personally, I think jaybate adds a touch of class to this forum with his unusual insight, wit, and prose. I for one, disagree heartily that jaybate should quit commenting on this forum and suggest to those who dislike his style to just pass over his comments and go on to the next person's comments. If you have difficulty in ignoring his posts, then I'll bet secretly you wish you could be just as insightful and able to write as well as he does and therefore are just showing your ignorance in disparaging him.Keep it up jaybate! Some of us enjoy your comments.

lance1jhawk 11 years ago

jaybate I'm with ya.jayhawkr34.... you just aren't there yet man. J.B. can always throw down words with the best of them and can back up the smack.

lance1jhawk 11 years ago

jayhawkr34- jaybate pays his croonies with your sist@9!! he's all about the pimpin.

jaybate 11 years ago

First, thanks to several for the positives.Second, jayhawkr34, who thinks Cole proved himself in the UNC game...Where do I begin with you?First, you are unnecessarily rude. Save that sort of stuff for the Fizzou and Mempuss lurkers, unless you are one of those.Second, Cole played exceptionally well as a backup guarding Tyler Hansbrough in a huge game for ten minutes. But did Bill Self leave him in for the entire game? Did Bill Self think that Cole's performance was so dominant over Hansbrough that he needed to be in there all the way? And if Cole was so overwhelmingly awesome against Tyler Hansbrough in that game, how exactly did UNC, in significant part on Psycho T's shoulders, manage to mount a monster come back from being blown out of the dome by KU. If Cole had this truly defining game that proved all along that he was could handle a great opposing center for 40 minutes on his own, what was Bill Self thinking about not leaving him in for the rest of the game?Obviously, Bill Self understood that Cole had a height advantage on Psycho T that could, if Cole did not have to worry about fouling out, be exploited for a brief stretch. That Cole rose to the occasion is a great credit to him. Backups have to rise above themselves for brief stretches in big games for great teams to go ahead and grab the brass ring. But don't think for a picosecond that Cole Aldrich was ready to play regularly last year and bear up for 30-35 minutes per game with an opponents best center being able to work on him all game long.

jaybate 11 years ago

No one should take that ten minute performance of Cole's and infer anything other than that KU had a guy with serious potential coming in for next year, if he could develop. The difference between playing back up minutes against a fabulously overrated barely 6'9" center who had been being beaten to a bloody pulp by a very physical KU front line before he came in, and starting game in and game out and having opposing coaches spend all their time devising ways to exploit your weaknesses and shut you down is, well, the difference should be measured in light years. The proof of what I am saying is the way Cole got mauled by Jordan Hill. Let me remind you: Cole--10/4, Jordan--23/11. And it wasn't just that Cole had an off game. Hill manhandled him. He took him out of the game, so that Cole was not a factor at all. And he did it with hardly any help at all. Great, or even just very good centers, are never completely removed as factors in an important game as Cole was. Therefore, Cole is not yet where he needs to be. It is as simple as that. He knows this, even if you don't. He is busting his butt right now against lesser competition in the paint to try to get better. But he cannot pass this test living in the past, as you do, thinking about ten backup minutes in a big game against Tyler Hansbrough last year. He has to go out and beat a top big man in a big game now! He is in training to do just that. Cheer him on. Tell him he can do it. Give him tips how to do. Or just shut up. But don't feed him or anyone else this line of manure that he doesn't need to prove himself for an entire game against a really good big man. This is what competition is all about. Going out and facing someone you could get beaten by and finding a way to beat them, sometimes only by a hair, sometime by dominating them, but never by being completely taken out of a game. I believe Cole is destined to be an exceptional big man, maybe even a great one. But he can't get their on illusions about Tyler Hansbrough.Frankly, I am dumbfounded that a typically basketball saavy KU fan would overlook this. It makes me wonder about whether or not you really are a KU fan, and whether you are a lurker. But frankly, Scarlet, I just don't give a damn.

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