Cole Aldrich, who orally committed to Kansas University over a year ago, today finally will become an official member of the Jayhawk basketball team.
The 6-foot-11, 250-pound senior center from Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High will sign a national letter of intent in a 7:15 a.m. ceremony in his high school's library.
"It's definitely seemed like a long time since I said I was coming to KU. I have no regrets. I'd do it again. No schools have contacted me since I committed, so that's been real nice," said Aldrich, who announced for KU on Halloween Day 2005.
"I knew where I wanted to go to school early and didn't want to lead anybody else on. That's the main reason I decided so early. I don't think that's right."
Aldrich, who chose KU over Minnesota and North Carolina, said there had been "ups and downs" the past calendar year.
"When I wasn't playing very well early in the summer, the coaches definitely got on my butt," Aldrich said of Bill Self and his staff, who were impressed with Aldrich's performance as a junior when he averaged 16.5 points and 13 boards a game, but not so much with his play last spring and summer.
"They said, 'You are committed now. You've got to pick it up, get in the gym, get in shape and keep working.' There were times I said, 'I'm trying the best I can.' But it was nice to see them get on me. It shows they care and want the best for me.
"I respected the fact that even though it was just a verbal commitment, we had the relationship where they could talk to me like that. To have my future coaches saying I need to work on this : I had to respect them and do the best of my ability."
Aldrich, who was slowed by a foot injury and struggled at the Jayhawk Invitational last spring in Lawrence and Schweitzer Games in Germany, bounced back to have a strong August and September.
He gained rave reviews after erupting for 16 points and 10 rebounds at an outdoor all-star game in September in New York's famed Rucker Park.
"I won't blame it (spring slump) on injuries," said Aldrich, who had an arch problem corrected by wearing pads in his shoes. "It was real cool I got off to a great start in New York - to go for 16 and 10. I was one of two guys to maybe get a double-double. Brandon Jennings (guard, Oak Hill Academy) had 20 assists or something ridiculous like that. Now I'm healthy and ready for my senior season."
Aldrich's signing ceremony today will be without flair. He'll sign in front of family, coaches and teammates and maybe a media member or two.
"Sometimes I think it'd be cool to have a big press conference like Kevin Love had in Vegas last year when he committed to UCLA, but I like this because I'm not that kind of flashy person anyway," Aldrich said. "That doesn't fit me.
"I still have my senior season to go, and it's already moved so quickly. It seemed last week school started. Now our season is about to start (Nov. 16). There's still a lot to do before I get to college."
¢ James Anderson, a 6-6 guard/forward from Junction City, Ark., today will pick either KU or Oklahoma State at a 1 p.m. news conference at his high school. Anderson averaged 31 points, 12 rebounds, 3.5 assists and three blocks per game for 27-6 Junction City High.