Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cole Aldrich reflects on trip

Former Jayhawk center moved by visit to Johannesburg

Former Kansas University center Cole Aldrich speaks with reporters during a one-day visit Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, to Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Kansas University center Cole Aldrich speaks with reporters during a one-day visit Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, to Allen Fieldhouse.



Contributed Photo

Former Kansas University center Cole Aldrich speaks with reporters during a one-day visit Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, to Allen Fieldhouse.

Cole Aldrich couldn’t stop smiling on Tuesday’s 16-hour flight from Johannesburg back to the United States as he reflected on a rewarding 12-day NBA-sponsored Basketball Without Borders excursion to that impoverished land.

“The biggest thing I noticed while we were there was the joy — the tears from the people knowing that we cared about them,” former Kansas University center Aldrich said Wednesday from Allen Fieldhouse. “They are in townships surrounded by all this poverty and tough things. You don’t always see people coming in wanting to give their time and showing care and affection and love toward them.”

Aldrich and Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka joined fellow NBA players Luol Deng, Luc Mbah and C.J. Watson as instructors in youth basketball camps in the Johannesburg area. They also helped build a house for Habitat For Humanity and dedicated a huge basketball complex.

“The biggest thing is there are so many things people need there, starting with the bare essentials like food and clothing,” Aldrich said. “The house we replaced was 500 square feet maybe, basically an oversized shed. You walk in, and there’s dirt floors, no electricity, nothing. You have a lot of poverty, and it’s eye-opening to see that.”

Aldrich, 23, said he’d love to return someday to re-connect with the individuals he met on the trip. He also would encourage others to travel to Africa at some point and/or donate funds to help those in need.

“The purpose at least for me in going into it was to help other people out, and also when you are helping other people out, you really enrich your own life,” Aldrich said. “You see how truly blessed you are to be living in the U.S. and have the things and opportunities we have.”

Aldrich, who was in his old college town just a day, played pick-up basketball with various current and former Jayhawks on Wednesday. Also on hand was Sacramento Kings rookie Thomas Robinson, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft following his junior year at KU. Former KU guard Xavier Henry of the New Orleans Hornets was in town last weekend.

“He definitely has the work ethic,” Aldrich said of Robinson. “He will learn a few things on the court this season and things like that. He’s going to be a good (pro) player.”

Aldrich, meanwhile, is in the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him $2,445,480 this season. He’ll make $3,245,151 in 2013-14 if the team picks up his option. If not, he’d be a free agent.

“I think this year is big for me obviously,” the 6-foot-11, 245-pound, third-year pro said. He’s received precious little playing time his first two years in the pros. “Nazr Mohammed signed with the Bulls. It opens a lot of opportunity for me to earn that backup (center) spot. I had a good summer, worked hard. I’ll go in there with the same work ethic I’ve had since high school, and things will take care of itself. I’m excited for the opportunity.”

On a personal note, Bloomington, Minn., native Aldrich reported that he will marry KU graduate Britt Claflin next summer in a ceremony back in Minnesota.

Recruiting: Tyler Roberson, a 6-8 senior small forward from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, will attend the Oct. 12 Late Night in the Phog as part of an official recruiting visit, reports. The country’s No. 29-rated player will visit SMU on Sept. 27 and Syracuse on Oct. 5. He also is considering Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Rutgers and Villanova. Another Late Night visitor is Chris Jones, a 5-10 sophomore point guard from Northwest Florida State College ... Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor have been nominated for 2011-12 KU male athlete of the year award to be presented at the Rock Chalk Choice Awards on Sunday at the Lied Center. The other nominee is sophomore hurdler Michael Stigler. Women’s athlete of the year nominees: Diamond Dixon and Andrea Geubelle (track), Maggie Hull (softball) and Ingrid Vidal (soccer).


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I read several of the national stories about Gillispie. It does not sound good. When many people+players are saying the same thing, the end is near--unless TxTech lays it all on the table and says "final chance"...I have defended Gillispie quite a bit, as his aTm teams were good, including beating the younger versions of the Champhawks in AFH in 2007 (Acie Law3). I also thought he was building things in KY, but got shuffled out after only 2yrs. Totally different situation than us canning Gill. But Im afraid Billy may have went off the deep end. Spending more time around Self may be exactly what he needs. See a better example of how to get things done...


REHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Sad, but it looks to me as though Billy G. is about to undergo the big axe again. Gonna be tough for him to nail down another Division One job in the forseeable future. If he does remain in coaching, it might have to be on j.c. or Div. 3 level. If nothing else, that stress fracture allegation is going to roll him down the highway. Man, the pressure these aspiring topnotch coaches endure is a very real strokemaker....


jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

Some KU fan is rumored to have said that Jeff Goodman needs a hemorrhoid-ectomy with a rusted crow bar. But you know how rumors are. It might not be true.

But here is something really unbelievable....

Billy Gillispie brought some principles to Lexington, and UK administrators, alums, and fans reputedly went into corruption withdrawal two months after BG arrived.

Late in BG's last season, I met a UK alum who had the corruption DTs. He asked me, no, he got down on his knees at Lexington airport and asked me if he could have a Hamilton to give to one of the UK players for old times sake? Seriously, he was shaking and before I knew it he threw up on himself standing on the airport concourse, and then laid down in his own stomach bile and started licking my shoes saying, "Please, please, please, jaybate, tell me something corrupt, pleeeeeease! Gillispie's been playing it straight for so long. No one on the team can't read. No one's on the take. There aren't any surrogate test takers for me drive to and from the SAT test sites. Nothing but this damned workaholic with the cheap white shirts and that damned Texas drawl. Please, jaybate, please, please, please, I haven't been able to do anything illegal for the team since this tumble weed Mother Theresa blew into Blue Grass country without any skeletons we could use to black mail his squeaky clean u-know what with!!!!" I mean he had already made all his transgression public before he took over the team, and there weren't that many. He doesn't even need to go to Betty Ford." This UK alum was really pathetic. Breakfast chunks all over his UK hoodie and his face. Licking my Ballys. So: I said, "Get up you pathetic excuse for a basketball fan! Get up!!!" So he did and he was shaking and finally this electric cart with a little yellow light came up and stopped. And these two guys wearing t-shirts that read something "Wildcat Corruption Dependence.Org" lead the guy over to the cart and sped away.

Really, I don't think UK people can kick the corruption Jones without serious help.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)


REHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Bill Self has been very helpful and generous to fellow coaches who have drifted up on the dry beaches of the sport, esp. those who have earned their fins while swimming through the same waters, or assisted him to get where he is. If, down the way, he feels the need to help Billy G. get back afloat, then so be it. To hell with Goodman and such critics.


Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 7 months ago

Way off topic here, but did anyone catch Rome's interview with CBS's Jeff Goodman yesterday? It was all about Billy Gillespie, where he pretty much detailed how bad of a guy BG is. Fair enough. He talked at length about how BG soiled the Kentucky brand and that he was never qualified for the job and that he'd, basically, fooled Kentucky into hiring him. Once again, fair enough. He then responded to Rome's question of whether BG would coach again by saying that some idiot would give him a job. In the next breath he mentioned that Bill Self would probably throw him a bone because they were boys. And that if he did, he would not have any respect for Self. I took this comment to be, mostly, about his dislike of BG, but also a slight to KU and Self. All more evidence, IMO, of a CBS love affair with Kentucky (see Parrish and Goldman).


HawkKlaw 1 year, 7 months ago

I, for one, love that he's still missing a tooth. Stay true to your roots, son!


jaybate 1 year, 7 months ago

"Some Rumors about NBA Players Doing Service Work Off Planet for the MIB Fund"

~MIB start Will Smith and Lebron are rumored to be 300 feet below the surface of Mars right now helping Habitat for Marsiantiy, an organization that rehabs Fuller Domes in the Red Planet built back during the go-go years of the 1950s, when the private oligarchs of Earth and Mars first made a deal to jointly rule both planets with producer oligarchies that would lead inevitably to horrendously uneven distributions of wealth both places.

~Derek Rose and MIB star Tommy Lee Jones are doing a Reading Is Fundamental clinic on Venus, where the foggy atmosphere has held back Venusian reading skills far behind the rest of the solar system.

~Kobe Bryant and MIB co-star Linda Fiorentino are on Uranus teaching Uranian men and women how to treat each other with dignity and respect.

~Kevin Durant and Director Barry Sonnenfeld are putting on a comedy seminar on one of the Jovian moons in which the explain the intrinsic humor in combining tall guys and short guys in road pictures. This is a fund raiser to alleviate poverty attributable to central bank centric monetary policies triggering inefficient producer oligopolies in most major economic sectors on Io, Europa, Ganymead, and Callisto.

~MIB writers Lowell Cunningham (comic) and Ed Solomon (screenwriter) join Carmelo Anthony are on an epic tour of over 62 Saturnian moons to teach the underprivileged in the shadows of the the Saturnian rings the connection between paranoid comedy and Carmelo's hair. 31 of the 62 Saturnian moons are below the Planetary Poverty Line due to tax subsidized job outsourcing to China.

~MIB stars Vince D'Onofrio (unforgettable as Edgar), Rip Torn (Zed) and George Lucas (alien on TV monitor) have joined Blake Griffin on the gas giant Neptune's largest moon, Triton, to try to help clean up the atmosphere on Triton. According to Wikipedia, "Triton is massive enough to have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium and retain a thin atmosphere capable of forming clouds and hazes. Both its atmosphere and its surface are composed mainly of nitrogen with small amounts of methane and carbon monoxide." No word yet on any progress, but the worm people of Triton are thrilled to have the stars trying to bring a little more fresh air there.

(Note: all fiction. No malice.)


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

mmmmm - fairly sure it's a trash can. I hear a lot of public places have them now.

And it's actually to his left. The only thing shown to the right of him is some person holding a recording device/phone/electric shaver.

Also - is he the only one-armed basketball player in the NBA right now ???



Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

Please identify the object sitting to the right of Cole:

  • Bed Pan
  • Dog Bowl
  • UFO for really, really tiny aliens
  • Spitoon
  • Porthole
  • A really uncomfortable cushion
  • Gigantic Wedding Band
  • Bundt cake pan
  • Other???????????

Jack Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

Here's some info I found on Roberson -- there hasn't been a lot of talk about this guy:

There were times in the last year when evaluating forward Tyler Roberson (Union, N.J./Roselle Catholic) was not easy. At ESPN, we’ve had him ranked inside the top 25 and outside the top 50. Currently, he’s currently sitting at No. 24 on the ESPN 100 because he found his niche at the Reebok Breakout Challenge.

Roberson turned in strong performances with consistent results. Instead of anchoring himself behind the 3-point line, he found a good mix of post and perimeter. It was a good look, one that’s earned him offers from the highest level programs.

“I haven’t scheduled any [official visits] but I know where I’m taking a few,” Roberson said. “Syracuse, Kansas and SMU.

“I think with Kansas I can really fit in their program how they run their offense with their forwards. Syracuse and that 2-3 defense would fit me well. SMU, Larry Brown’s a great coach and it would be nice to play for him.”

Roberson intends to take five visits and the final two will come from a pack of four: Seton Hall, Rutgers, Alabama and South Carolina.

Roberson said most of the programs recruiting him are selling him on the chance to play small forward. “I haven’t gotten a chance to show it because in AAU I have to guard bigger players. I think I can honestly play the 3. I’ve been working on it a lot and I’ve been focusing on my perimeter game.”


bennybob 1 year, 7 months ago

Dudes had an NBA contract for 2 years now....... still hasn't fixed the tooth. WOW


yates33333 1 year, 7 months ago

What has happened to Johannesburg, SA.? It wasn't a city you would remember as a dump forty years ago?


Andy Hess 1 year, 7 months ago

Luc Mbah? Is that a nickname for Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute? At least you could use his full last name...


Ron Franklin 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm really happy for Cole. I remember his dad was laid off while he was in school. He always seemed like a hard worker so I am happy to see its paid Off. But I think his basketball peak was his soph/ jr year. He's declined since then IMHO. Possibly related to his lungs.

I'll take another TRob any day of the week.

5-10 college point guard to late night. That' interesting. Desperate?

I'm taking Ty over TRob. TRob missed 30 bunnies in the tourney that's the tie breaker for me.


Jay Dogger 1 year, 7 months ago

What do you guys think the odds are for hurdler Michael Stigler beating out T-Rob & TT for the KU male athlete award? Of course, it's an honor just being nominated. Rock Chalk, Mr. Stigler!


Jay Dogger 1 year, 7 months ago

What's the deal with his missing tooth? I can see why he may want to leave the fake one out for games (intimidation and general mojo, I guess) but during interviews? I hope he puts it in for Britt. I gotta believe she prefers a full-toothed smile.


Jay Dogger 1 year, 7 months ago

I'd love to see Cole get major minutes. Hopefully he'll kick butt. The few times I saw him play last year he didn't look all that great but I know pro athletes during their last year of a contract somehow seem to pick up their game.


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