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Originally published June 24, 2013 at 11:24p.m., updated June 25, 2013 at 07:34a.m.

‘Wow’ factor: Cole Aldrich impressed by Jayhawks

Sacramento Kings player and former Kansas center Cole Aldrich watches as young basketball players have a bit of trouble completing a ball-handling drill on Monday, June 24, 2013, during Aldrich's basketball camp at Olathe Northwest High School.

Sacramento Kings player and former Kansas center Cole Aldrich watches as young basketball players have a bit of trouble completing a ball-handling drill on Monday, June 24, 2013, during Aldrich's basketball camp at Olathe Northwest High School.

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Sacramento Kings player and former Kansas center Cole Aldrich watches as young basketball players have a bit of trouble completing a ball-handling drill on Monday, June 24, 2013, during Aldrich's basketball camp at Olathe Northwest High School.

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Former Kansas guard Tyrel Reed shows a group of campers some proper shooting techniques on Monday, June 24, 2013 during the Cole Aldrich basketball camp at Olathe Northwest High School.

— Cole Aldrich says he has almost felt guilty when scrimmaging against some of the current Kansas University basketball players in recent weeks.

Though he's going into his fourth year in the NBA, Aldrich, a former KU center, says he feels like one of the least-athletic guys in the building.

“It’s just like, ‘Wow.’ They fit right in with the guys in the league (NBA),” Aldrich said of the current Jayhawks. “They all can jump. They can run. That’s going to be a fun season to watch them this year.”

Aldrich — he talked during a break at his Cole Aldrich Basketball Camp held Monday at Olathe Northwest High — said the biggest surprise for him had been the play of 6-foot-9 Memphis transfer Tarik Black.

“He kind of reminds me of (former KU foward) Darnell Jackson. He really does,” Aldrich said. “A guy that’s not necessarily overly skilled, but really works hard. And he’s a big body.

“Darnell didn’t quite like to hit people like Tarik does, but I’ve had a good time going against him. It’s been fun.”

Aldrich also has been playing alongside the nation’s top-ranked recruit: 6-foot-7 wing Andrew Wiggins.

“Obviously, athletically, he’s one of the best. He’d be one of the most athletic guys in the league right now if he was there,” Aldrich said. “Skill-wise, it’s still early. The kid is 18 years old. He just came from high school. How do you expect him to be the next LeBron (James) or the Kobe (Bryant) or whoever? You put a lot of pressure on a kid like that.

“The good thing is, what I’ve noticed so far, is that he works hard. He has a good head on him. He’s a little quiet, shy kid, but I think once the time comes, he’s going to open up and feel more comfortable, and things are going to come, and he’s going to really excel.”

Aldrich has been linked quite a bit to Wiggins recently after the freshman skied for a dunk in a KU summer scrimmage Wednesday at Horejsi Center. Aldrich — the last player back — chose not to challenge the slam, though he has still received some flak on social media from people telling him that Wiggins dunked on him.

“Did I jump? Did I try to go block it?” Aldrich asked with a grin. “It’s a camp game. You get a bunch of kids that are anywhere between the ages of 8 and 16, and all they want to see is dunks. But it was having a good time.”

Aldrich said he hadn’t lost any sleep over the jabs he’s received, saying if he had challenged the shot, there also could have been a risk of injury for both players.

“If it happened in October, I might have tried to go and block it. Who knows?” Aldrich said. “It’s fun. It’s summertime. It’s for the show for the kids.”

Aldrich, who was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets to the Sacramento Kings last season, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The 6-foot-11 center has been playing pickup games at KU to try to stay in shape, which is important because an interested NBA team could request him in for a workout.

Aldrich finished the season strong a year ago, scoring 12 points in two of his last three games. Over that three-game stretch, he made 13 of 15 field goals (87 percent) and averaged nine rebounds.

“I think the biggest goal for me right now is to get on the court,” Aldrich said. “When I got traded to Sacramento, I was finally able to get out on the court and show I can play still. That’s the biggest thing — just continue to work. Get in a good situation and be with a good group of guys.”

With the NBA Draft coming up Thursday, Aldrich said his advice for KU’s future pros would be to enjoy the experience — and also be ready to wait for success.

“There’s so many good guys in the league that sometimes a little patience is good,” Aldrich said. “I’m learning that. I’ve been working hard the last two years and finally have gotten an opportunity and ran with it.”

Comments

Konkis Dongington III 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Anybody else here that McLemore fired his agent and hired Blackstock two days before the draft? That kid needs some serious help. Some people are freaking out on the assumption that this puts KU in a worse position, but as far as I can tell, the water doesn't get any hotter than it already is because of this. Again, I'll save a full-fledged freak out save for the use of the words 'lack of institutional control' by the NCAA, but I can't help but feel sorry for Ben because I think his naivety and trust is allowing this vampire to exploit him. Hopefully, the NCAA leaves KU alone on this one, but I'd completely understand if we got a slap on the wrist for this one, and if it means vacating a Sweet 16 appearance, so be it. A Sweet 16 for KU is a vacated season anyway. If it goes any further than that, I'll be upset, but long and short, I'm not going to fret until I have something to fret about. An investigation isn't it.

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wrwlumpy 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Simian from 8th grade for Roy and his camps. Probably a scholarship offered very early.

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Kevin Huffman 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I'd love to know if we ever had a kid who ended up coming to KU that was at one of Self's or Roy's camps.

I want to say that Ryan Robertson went to a Roy Williams camp when he was younger before then eventually coming to KU>

Curious to know if Conner or Perry went.

Or for that matter Simien, Jeff Hawkins, Jeff Graves, Tyrel Reid, Morningstar.....past ones from the area.

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Tony Bandle 9 months, 4 weeks ago

New Nickname for Tarik Black...Tarik "EMB" Black...."Extreme Muscle Ball"!!

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Joe Baker 9 months, 4 weeks ago

“Darnell didn’t quite like to hit people like Tarik does, but I’ve had a good time going against him. It’s been fun.”

Loves it

With the NBA Draft coming up Thursday, Aldrich said his advice for KU’s future pros would be to enjoy the experience — and also be ready to wait for success.

This is great advice for a mature kid, but to an 18-19 yr old watching these NBA stars, it's not easy to 'wait.'

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Scott Smetana 9 months, 4 weeks ago

It's very difficult for me to rank Withey over Cole when we rank the 5 position in the upcoming week. It's a toss up for me.

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chriz 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I just think it's cool to have so many of our former players come back. I'm a bit surprised that the Morris twins haven't been back. I can't say I'm surprised that we haven't seen Xavier. I wish we could get someone from the title team (aside from Sherron).

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Phoggie_Thinking 9 months, 4 weeks ago

You're right! I am sending an email to Self today to tell him not to expect to much out of Wiggins. He has been way to effusive in his talk about Wiggins and it is obvious that Wiggins is nothing more than a scrub. ~ sarcasm.

Fans like hype, sorry to inform you of this, but it is what drives sports interest besides gambling :).

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Adam Collins 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I've been following Alexander on Twitter and he definitely seems high on KU.

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Michael Luby 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Ahhhh, Selby doesn't even belong in the same discussion and maybe not even Xav. Cole does have a good point though. Wigs is only 18, he will learn quick though, be a sponge, and put on a clinic later on in the season. Id like to skip the rest of summer now and fast forward to late night, ok?

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soapisurfriend 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Sorry if it had been mentioned elsewhere, but Cliff Alexander is making a return visit for Late Night. Here is some of what he said recently. He is now second ranked overall by ESPN in 2014.

"I've really been talking to the staff at Kansas a lot. Coach Howard is the main guy from Kansas that got things started, and then I heard from Coach Self and then Coach Self talked to my parents.

Kansas has offered me a scholarship," he added. "I'll be taking a visit to Kansas during Late Night (in the Phog) and I have a lot of interest in Kansas. With Coach Howard at Kansas, I've very interested in Kansas now."

"Since Coach Howard got the job at Kansas, we've talked almost every day," said Alexander. "We talk all of the time and Coach Howard is a great guy. I love (them) Kansas."

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KemDooKU 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Maybe this article will help some KU fans to come down off the Wiggins High - he said all that needed to be said about Wiggins - really gifted but a ways to go before he dominates - these OAD players have all the hype but rarely live up to the expectations put on them by some fans - Selby, Henry

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Tony Bandle 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Although technically still part of the Kings organization till next week, Cole will be possibly looking for his fourth team entereing his fifth year in the League. It is possible, the Kings may resign him but that is not a sure thing at all.

By Big Man standards in the NBA, he's a "tweener" in almost every category []height, strength, athleticism, etc.] I am afraid his long term basketball future may lie in Europe.

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morrieon 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Jesse, Cole has played 3 years in the NBA, not 4.

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KansasComet 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with Cole, no need to risk injury over a camp game.

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Scott MacWilliams 9 months, 4 weeks ago

A little confused here, so is Cole without a team?

Or just on the market while still at Sacramento? I can't keep track of who's where, so it would help slackers like me to just have a monthly report on where the Jayhawk alums are in the NBA.

Anyway, Rock Chalk, and how many days till Late Night???

Also, love that picture with Cole trying to help some 3-footers with their between the legs maneuver!!

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