Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Aldrich’s high school coach might cut class

Kansas center Cole Aldrich lays in a bucket over Missouri forward Matt Lawrence and Kansas forward Quintrell Thomas during the second half Sunday, March 1, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich lays in a bucket over Missouri forward Matt Lawrence and Kansas forward Quintrell Thomas during the second half Sunday, March 1, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Jefferson High Alumni

List of notable alumni of Jefferson High:

• Thomas E. Burnett Jr.: one of the passengers aboard United Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001.

• Ben Clymer: left wing, Washington Capitals

• Mike Crowley: retired NHL defenseman

• Tom Gilbert: defenseman, Edmonton Oilers

• Ben Hendrickson: pitcher, Durham Bulls

• Lane Kiffin: head football coach, University of Tennessee

• Tom Kurvers: retired NHL defenseman, 1984 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Winner

• Lloyd Lee: linebackers coach, Chicago Bears

• Tom Lingle: gold medalist free style alpine ski

• Kevin Lynch: retired NBA forward

• Mark Parrish: right wing, Dallas Stars

• Toby Petersen: right wing, Dallas Stars

• Dan Trebil: retired NHL defenseman

• David Watson: defensive line coach, Southern California

Source: Wikipedia

Jayhawks travel north for opening round

The Kansas University basketball team will not have a home-court advantage in Friday's first round NCAA Tournament game.

Jeff Evens plans to take a long lunch on Friday.

“I’m not supposed to tell, but I may try to sneak out of school. There’s a game in the morning. I may get to that. Our principal knows my intentions as well,” Evens, boys basketball coach at Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High, said with a laugh.

He desperately wants to support one of his former Jaguars — Kansas University center Cole Aldrich, who played for him for four years at the school located 10 miles from the Metrodome, site of Friday’s 11:30 a.m. first-round NCAA Tournament game between KU and North Dakota State.

KU’s game will end in plenty of time for Evens to prepare his team for Friday night’s sectional championship game against Eden Prairie.

“Cole does keep in touch with one of my senior captains who played with him when he was a sophomore,” Evens said. “Cole called him last night. I wonder if he’ll sneak out (of school Friday). I’m not going to tell the kids what to do. I won’t tell them, ‘Don’t go.’ They know what’s at stake (Friday night).”

Evens — who is in his 26th year at Jefferson — hasn’t spoken with prize pupil Aldrich since Sunday’s announcement that the Jayhawks were headed to play in the NCAAs in Aldrich’s home state.

“I’m not going to bug him,” Evens said of Jefferson High’s all-time leading scorer. “He’ll be coming home and be swamped with friends calling for tickets. I talk to him every two or three weeks. I came down to see him play this year at Iowa State. He’s such a good kid. He had family there. He came out after the game and talked to my 8-year-old boy. That really meant a lot to him.”

Evens — he also coached retired NBA players Kevin Lynch and Steve Lingenfelter at Jefferson High — has been mighty impressed with the 6-foot-11, 245-pounder’s play in two seasons at KU.

Aldrich takes a 14.6 scoring, 10.6 rebound average into Friday’s NCAA opener.

“I think first of all he is a tremendous kid with a lot of God-given ability. He realizes he has some ability and has been working hard to polish that ability,” Evens said.

He remembers the hard work Aldrich put in as a developing high school player.

“When he was in ninth grade, I saw a big kid walking in the gym. I knew he had a lot of physical skills,” Evens said. “For him to move to the level he has, he had to find his way into the weight room and plyometrics. He found a way to do those things.

“As a freshman, the varsity game was quick for him as far as understanding where he should be on the floor. But his skill-wise was already at the level (of prep upperclassmen).”

Evens did not have to deal with distractions involving Aldrich’s recruitment in high school. Cole committed to KU on his birthday — Halloween Day — right before the start of his junior season.

“He came in my office at 7:15 (a.m.) and said, ‘I’m going to KU.’ I knew he was thinking about going there, but I said, ‘Sit down and tell me the reasons you are going to KU.’ I was getting phone calls from Minnesota, Michigan State and other places asking, ‘Why is he committing so early?’

“He gave me four reasons that were wise beyond his years. I was impressed what he wrote down for his reasons,” Evens added.

He didn’t disclose Aldrich’s wants and desires in a college, only to add, “In his heart, I think he always wanted to go to KU. That’s why, in my heart, I think he’ll stay (another year of college) because it’s where he’s always wanted to play. I hope he does (stay). But that’s a decision for him and his family. I have no idea what he’ll do. I don’t think it’s my place. It’s for Cole and his family to discuss.”

Cole’s dad, Walter, reiterated this week that the decision whether to enter the NBA Draft or return for a junior year will be made after the season, though Walter did say: “I think another year would probably do him good, (for him to) continue working on his body. He’s having a great time in school.”

Cole Aldrich has said he’s more worried about helping KU win each game his sophomore season than looking down the road.

He’s hoping to follow last year’s national title with a deep run in the 2009 NCAAs.

For that to happen, the Jayhawks (25-7) must defeat North Dakota State (26-6), a school located in Fargo, N.D., just a 31⁄2-hour drive away from the Metrodome.

“Their assistant athletic director said today that they anticipate 12,000 fans coming to the game,” Evens said. “It’s really big for them. I remember they came down as a Div. II program two years ago and played our Gophers and beat them.

“They had half the dome — 20,000 fans,” he added, referring to the Bison’s 27-21 football win over the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on Oct. 20, 2007.

“There are a bunch of KU fans here, too,” Evens added. “At least a dozen kids from our school go to KU. I see shirts and hats, maybe more because of Cole.”

Evens has had no problem keeping up with Aldrich.

“We’ve seen him on TV more than the Gophers here,” Evens said. “The Big Ten network was not available here last year. Kansas games have been available (on satellite), and they are on national TV all the time as well.”


classic 11 years, 10 months ago

Like FargoHawk from yesterday's posts, I'm a Fargo area guy who fell in love with Division I basketball while following Jeff Boschee's freshman season at KU. I loved and still love AFH and everything else about the program's history. So in the first year of my second decade of being a KU fan it is a very strange thing to see my favorite local team have to play my favorite team, and vice versa. Long story short, I hope the NDSU team gives our team a run for their money and teaches them whatever lessons this young team needs to learn in order to go further in the tournament. I'll leave it at that...

A couple of points that I have yet to see made: - the Twin Cities have a HUGE NDSU alumni base...that contributes to their ability to draw so many fans. I'm guessing there will be even more NDSU fans at the game from the Twin Cities than there will be visiting from the Fargo area. There may be some local support for Cole, but it will definitely be a home game for the Bison. - This team of 23 year-old 5th-year seniors plays with a lot of intelligence. Brett Winkelman is not just an Academic All-American like Matt...he's the Academic All American of the Year. - This is the same NDSU group of seniors who upset a ranked Wisconsin team on their own court as red-shirt freshmen and a ranked Marquette team on their own court as sophomores. HCBS is very aware of this, I'm sure.


Michael Pannacciulli 11 years, 10 months ago

Nice story. I expect Cole will stay also. One more year with Manning before he too jumps ship will be a good thing for Cole's stock. Plus what's not to love about being a god at KU? The money is waiting but it will come.

Love the fact that in Minn our games are easier to get than Gopher games! I catch more KU games also than Rutgers and Seton Hall here in NJ...thank god!

Don't look beyond this Bison squad...they are going to bring it. I fully expect our boys to answer the call though.

Any news yet on Lance? Did I miss anything there?

plotku 11 years, 10 months ago

I hope that Cole takes this oppurtunity to play in front of friends and family, and plays like a beast. As of late we have been tenative with the ball on the post. Our tournament run in reality depends on getting the ball inside and drawing fouls with Cole. I know some people disagree, but Collins is struggling, and taking very unecessary shots. When you have games like we did against TT and Baylor, and basically ignore our post players things like that are going to happen. So get back to punching the ball inside, and take advantage of height inside. I had the oppurtunity to play infront of friends and family and I was so aggressive (didn't keep myself in check) and had three fouls inside about 5 min. So I am hoping that isn't what happens here, cause if so. . . . . . our chances aren't good.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

Lance Stephenson last I heard was making a decision on the 20th or 21st of March. He said it was going to be a surprise whatever that means. I hope that surprise is in a KU uniform, but i'm not getting my hopes up.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

If Lance Stephenson is indeed going to make a "Surprise" decision, don't you think he would want to be in a KU uniform next year in St. Louis to play against Memphis and Xavier Henry? If I was that kid and wanted to showcase my talents as a one and done then what better way to do it then against the best player in the class at the same postition you play.

DSommersby 11 years, 10 months ago

Our guards need to feed the ball early and often to Cole. Cole Train needs to post up aggressively and go to work attacking the rim. Sherron and the other guards need to drive the ball to the paint and set things up for Cole and our other bigs to maximize our height advantage with close in shots and the ability to beat NDSU on the glass.

Keep it simple Hawks. Value every possession. Get the ball inside and take good shots in our offense. Then defend and heat them up with KANSAS defense and control the boards. Do this and advance.

ku98 11 years, 10 months ago

Pound it inside to Cole and the twins (especially Marcus, who looked pretty good in the last few games).

rtjayhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Well....we'll need to travel well for Friday's game: “Their assistant athletic director said today that they anticipate 12,000 fans coming to the game,” Evens said. “It’s really big for them. I remember they came down as a Div. II program two years ago and played our Gophers and beat them.

“They had half the dome — 20,000 fans,” he added, referring to the Bison’s 27-21 football win over the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on Oct. 20, 2007.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

First, to anyone who has seen them, do they play run and shoot, or do they force opponents to play defense for 25-35 seconds with lots of screens? I must assume the latter, having not seen them. Sight unseen, I have to say...

If Cole can go, NDSU is going to think they were hit by the B1s from Minot.

Sherron and Taylor will destroy these guys with penetration, if Cole is a credible force inside.

Marcus Morris could also have the break out game we've been waiting all season for, too.

But if Cole cannot go, and KU let's the game turn into a trey shooting competition, anything can happen. NDSU has the better trey shooters. We have greater size (even without Cole), athleticism and depth.

The only worrisome thing I have noticed so far is: NDSU proved this year already against USC that they can sucker Okie Ball. Tim Floyd, a Haskins/UTEP disciple, plays Okie Ball where ever he lands. It appears likely Floyd must have played into NDSU's hands by taking what NDSU gave; i.e., he agreed to play long possession defense against them that wore his own team down into a close game.

This game will probably be a classic test case for 100's theories about how KU ought to deal with 25-35 second offenses with a lot of picking.

If KU lets NDSU turn this into a game of playing defense for 25-35 seconds every time down the floor, then KU will be playing into their hands by taking what they are giving.

KU should press some, get up the floor quickly on offense, and force the little pick ballers into the middle, and out of their cuts. Play switching defense, too. No matter who our defenders are, the little pick-ballers cannot create mismatches by picking. They can only wear our defenders down.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

Don't cut, coach. It sends a lousy message. It means watching Cole is more important than a chance to teach your students now how to get better.

Do this instead: live feed the game onto the overhead in your classroom. Show your kids how much they mean to you by showing them how much Cole means to you even now. Jump up and down. Talk about what he's doing and how he is doing it. Share the game, Cole and yourself with your kids. Some of them will be changed by it forever.

100 11 years, 10 months ago

Take care of North Dakota Cole. Get Taylor to step up again (for 40 minutes) -- when his head is in the game, we are tough to beat...

Collins will be ready. It's up to you & Taylor as to how far we'll go.


Theutus 11 years, 10 months ago

100... I disagree. It's up to Collins to keep his head on his shoulders, that will determine how far we'll go.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

Theutus: Complely disagree, but this go back to the arguments of last week or over the weekend about Collins vs his teammates. Collins can't do it on his own, some of his teammates are going to have start taking on the responsibility as well. Freshman are no longer freshman. Time to take ownership.

Scott Oswalt 11 years, 10 months ago

The coach should go and support Cole. The stadium is 10 min. away from the high school. He's probably going to be missing a PE class, not a big deal jaybate.

The Hawks better come to play. You know NDS will. I wonder if Brady or Sherron will defend Ben Woodside? The dude is quick and can shoot lights out.

Here are some clips on the Bison:

100 11 years, 10 months ago

Collins will be ready. We need Taylor & Cole to play with passion.

If that happens, we'll beat the Bison.

Don't worry about Sherron -- he knows what needs to be done.

Lastly, there's very little we can correct Self on (unlike 2005 season).



Theutus 11 years, 10 months ago

KUShaw, it's hard for other players to get in a groove, or gain momentum when they can't get the ball... 5 attempts for Cole is a PRIME example of this. If your PG can't get your center the ball, they aren't doing their job.

Other players will step up; Just as soon as Collins stops playing "me" ball.

kupark 11 years, 10 months ago

What a warm and fuzzy feeling I got knowing that a high school teacher is going to cut class to watch a first round NCAA game. Good job on part of the teacher to set such an example and for Kusports to promote it (I didn't see any criticism in this article).

It only goes to show NCAA is not built for student-athlete or for athlete-student; it's built for for athlete-athlete.

Now, about the game. Coach Self needs to drill into the minds of the players to not start out like they've been doing in the last three games. Another early double digit hole, and there are too many things stacked against us to come back from such a deficit. NDSU crowd, pressure, etc. is all there but the confidence will be an issue since we have lost 2 of last 3. So, if we get down big, the lack of confidence will be a huge deal.

Look for KU to squeeze by NDSU, but loose to WU. That's how I'm filling out my bracket. Too much inconsistency will finally catch up to the hawks in the second round.

Theutus 11 years, 10 months ago

kupark, whats wrong with taking a vacation day (he's even going in to work for half the day) to go see a student you inspired... This coach contributed to Coles success....

Do you ever take vacation days? Yes? Hypocrite.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate - FargoHawk from yesterday's posts seemed to have a pretty good read on the Bisons. Here are a few more observations from stats that I've seen recently:

Everything is preficed on their schedule being 240th in the nation, even with playing USC & Minn, the only teams (#32 & # 34/Sagrin) above 50. NDSU scores about 84 ppg, which is better than KU. That includes Woodside at 20+, as well as 3 more at ten plus. After that it drops off pretty quick. That would seem to indicate that they don't sit on the shot clock. All four of those guys shoot the 3 reasonably well. Woodside is pretty lights out from the line as well as the field, but the entire rest of the team is below 70% (?). There are only 2 guys of any size (6-10 & 6-7) Their opponents shot 44% from the field against them.

My guess is that they pack in a zone to try to limit Cole's effectiveness, and save Woodside's energy.

Also, I think the coach's comment about the guys possibly attending our game had as much to do with them having a tourney game as anything else. I believe Minn has a rule that you have to attend class the day of an athletic event to be able to compete in the event. The coach couldn't write them a pass out of class for an NCAA game, but a parent sure aught figure out some sort of excuse (family committment).

kupark 11 years, 10 months ago

No, I've never taken vacation days. I've sacrificed all of them for my company. How is that for hypocracy?

Should a HIGH SCHOOL teacher take a vacation day for no good reason during the semester? I assume you take vacation days off when you're in the middle of a project and deadline is approaching.

Lastly, even if he had to do this he shouldn't have mentioned it. It sets a bad example. Students are allowed to take time off if they're sick or for some other good reason. May be seeing Cole, who might have inspired the students, play is a good enough reason for the students to not show up to school? What say you, Theutus?

TriniHawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Excellent bulletin board material from the Wall Street Journal today. In an article titled The Science of Upsetology, it gives NDSU a 22.6% chance of upsetting KU. Here's the link:

jayhawkboogeyman 11 years, 10 months ago

There is nothing wrong with this guy going to the game. He is taking one afternoon off from teaching PE or something. Who cares? And students can get out of school for any reason their parents want them to; if the family has tickets to the game, the parents can keep them out of school, no questions asked. If this is such a big deal, then it must be a lot worse for the entire University of Kansas to shut down for a whole day over winning a basketball game last April.

Theutus 11 years, 10 months ago

kupark, i couldn't disagree with you more.

Taking a half day off, even if the students know about it, shouldn't matter. By that standard, i assume you blame video games and television/movies for everything bad that happens right? I mean, they set "bad examples".

Hell, i'd even let my kid skip school to catch the game that day. In my personal opinion, you need to let kids manage their own lives to an extent. It teaches them responsibility. If they want to make a sacrifice of 1 day of school in order to see their favorite local team play their favorite big-time team... so be it. As long as a kid makes good grades why not let them make some "grown up" decisions.

One thing that stands out in my mind from my college experience, was watching all the sheltered kids show up freshman year and turn into sluts and alcoholics. But hey, to each their own. We can agree to disagree.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Perimeter defense. It's all about perimeter defense.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, Minot only has B-52s, no B-1s (They are in South Dakota).

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago


Thanks for the heads up. How exactly do you know this?

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

Classic Theutus rhetoric. Rack it, as Jim Rome might say. I love it. Students who lead sheltered lives in high school turn into the sluts and alcoholics of college campuses. Implication: zero. Total logical disconnect masquerading as reason. While we agree to disagree, I'm having fun watching your rhetorical development. It could go almost any direction at this point.

BCRavenJHawkfan 11 years, 10 months ago

Someone has already pointed out KU has the size advantage. Do we also have a speed advantage? I may be totally wrong, but I would think that if just two small things would improve our guys would make life much easier. Cut the turnovers down to half of the season average (3/4 might even be enough) and have far fewer empty pocessions.

Brian Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Well I just watched the clips posted above (on NDSU) and feel a lot better -- sure they are good and can make some shots, but that is their highlight reel?? And they're playing who? Looks like a juco game. That stuff won't fly against us. We're used to d'ing up much better teams.

Even if their O gets going, I bet they can't handle us on D either. Bring it!

Brian Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

NDSwho? Try these on for size:

vs. NMSU vs. FLGC Sherron (for the haters up there) vs. some real teams Pardon the language on that one, but I think "I aint neva skerrd" is appropriate here :)

Back to small schools: Collins crosses up a N.Az guard:

I'd post more, but can't find many from this season yet.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

What we want to have happen vs. NDSU: either...

a) KU blows them out early and starters (especially Cole) sit most of the second half; or

b) KU has another bad shooting night and wins only by 5-10.

I would prefer the second scenario, even though doubting Thomases in this community would burst their enema bags over KU playing a low-major close.


Because KU needs a good shooting night against WVU. They're going to get mugged by Huggo-Muggo without one.

100 11 years, 10 months ago

Need Taylor to show up like he's playing and dominating the seventh grade championship game. Every game.

If he can take that "attitude" we will go far.

We need him FIRED UP TO WIN (offensively & defensively)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.