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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Aldrich has interests outside of hoops

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Cole Aldrich always has stood out from his peers.

"I found an ID (card) a year or two ago from when I was in second grade. I was 4-foot-9. I was 6-foot tall in fifth grade," Aldrich, Kansas University's 6-foot-11 sophomore basketball center, said. "I was taller than some of the teachers in elementary school."

His height definitely came in handy as a child growing up in Bloomington, Minn.

"I used to be a goalie," said Aldrich, one the tallest 'keepers in the history of Minnesota youth soccer. "I only let in one goal the whole time I played. I was pretty good."

Aldrich - everybody around here knows he's a pretty good basketball player (more on that later) - also was, and remains, a standout bowler.

"I was in a league from kindergarten to sixth grade," said Aldrich, who has a personal-best score of 214. "My grandpa was a really good bowler. He had a few 300 games.

"I'm just a straight line-drive down the middle - power it," the 245-pounder added. "I'm very tempted to get my own ball and my own shoes. I'll go out bowling by myself or go bowl with random people if I have to, just so I can beat 'em and make myself feel good."

Not so good at golf - "I stink," he said. "I just do it to relax" - Aldrich has an additional hobby.

"Sledding," he revealed. "My buddies and I go sledding during the winter. Just because it's real cold outside doesn't make people stop going outside."

Aldrich, it should be apparent by now, has many interests outside of hoops.

"I've got a 3.0 (grade-point average). I definitely work hard at it," he said of his studies. "Sherron (Collins) says I'm a natural genius. I'm like Einstein."

"Don't believe him," junior teammate Collins stated. "But he probably could go on 'Jeopardy' and win. He could have his own reality TV show."

Like some of the centers at KU throughout the years - Greg Dreiling, Greg Ostertag and Scot Pollard come to mind - Aldrich is blessed with an outgoing personality off the court.

"I'm a very serious person," he said, smiling, when asked to reveal the least-known fact about him.

On the court, he is driven.

His whole personality package makes him a delight to be around, KU coach Bill Self says.

"What a great kid," Self said, growing serious when discussing the dues Aldrich already has paid.

"He got the heck beat out of him last year (at practice by Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Darrell Arthur) and kept coming back for more. Those three took turns beating up Cole. It made him tougher, harder. Everybody who saw us play was impressed after seeing him at the start of the season and at the end."

Aldrich averaged 2.8 points and 3.0 boards while logging 8.3 minutes a game in 40 games.

He endeared himself to KU fans forever with his eight-point, seven-rebound, four-block outing in KU's national semifinal victory over North Carolina and national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough.

"I do think that Carolina game gave him a lot of confidence," Self said.

Aldrich never has come close to bragging about that effort versus Hansbrough.

"It was just kind of : I was a little more rested than some of the other guys. I had a little advantage that way. It carries over with a little confidence," he said.

This year he figures to play 25 to 30 minutes a game - if he can stay out of foul trouble.

"One thing that concerns me : will the additional minutes take away his effectiveness?" Self said of Aldrich, who opened with eight points and nine boards in 19 minutes Tuesday against Washburn. "He was so aggressive and fresh in short spurts. Now at 27 to 30 minutes a game, will he wear down? I don't believe it'll be the case, but it's a big adjustment for guys like that."

Aldrich knows what's ahead.

"My role is going to change a lot. We've got a young team. We don't know our identity yet. It's a focus of mine to grab some boards," he said.

He's going to help the young Jayhawks, just as he was assisted by the veterans a year ago.

"I wouldn't say (I) scream at them," he said with a smile. "We (four returning scholarship players) are all encouraging because we know we were in their shoes last year. There's that freshman transition, trying to figure out the little things that make you successful on the college level.

"We expect to improve each game. We all have to find little ways to help our niche on the team, whether it's getting extra possessions on the offensive side, denying your guy the ball so he can't catch it. There's numerous things we can do as a group in order to win."

Self believes Aldrich will help lead the way.

"He can be the next great big man here at Kansas, no doubt about that," Self said.

And considering his personality, perhaps the next fan favorite?

"We've got the best fans in the country," Aldrich said. "You can't go anywhere without people saying, 'Congratulations, you played great.' It's a warm feeling when people do that. You go to Wal-mart at 1:30 in the morning, people say, 'You guys are great. Have fun this year.' I think we're going to do that.''

Comments

castarke25 13 years, 9 months ago

Searching for stories.......... searching searching!!!!!

John Brown 13 years, 9 months ago

"And he's got, Personality..." He's a college basketball's Shirley Temple.

canuckhawk 13 years, 9 months ago

I saw Cole at a sandwich shop in Lawrence last year. He was super cool to my boys (elementary aged). He gave them five, asked them a few fun questions. He's idolized by those guys and I'm glad to see him continue to work hard and be a good role model. We are cheering you on everyday Cole.

Scott Perlmutter 13 years, 9 months ago

I played against Cole at the Rec about 2 weeks after the title game. I guarded him for 2 or 3 games. It was great. I actually stole the ball from him one time and stuffed him going up another time. After I stuffed him, everyone started hooting and hollering and Cole just grabbed the ball and slammed it down as hard as he could on me. He also dunked it hard on me a few other times.One surprising thing, he shot the 3 very well. I mean like 40-50% from 3, it was nuts.

Marcia Parsons 13 years, 9 months ago

You guys started out the day grumpy! You should either go to bed earlier or stay in bed until later.

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

He's got everything he needs but a money move on offense. Let's hope Danny and Bill and he can figure out what it should be. If he gets a money move from 8 feet in (jump hook, jump hook, jump hook) , we're going to be in the clover.Sherronatron drives.Sherronatron dishes to Aldrich coming across the lane.Aldrich turns.Jump hook.HE SCORES!!!!!Again, and again, and again.And then they double down.Aldrich kicks to Reed.Reed from three.REED SCORES!!!!And then they play the overplay the trinity stripe.Aldrich looks to Reed.Reed is covered.Reed picks Taylor's man. Taylor slashes toward the paint.Aldrich flicks it to Taylor.Taylor leaps.One of the bigs on Aldrich comes to help.Taylor flicks it back to Aldrich.ALDRICH SLAMS IT!!!!The opponent takes it out of bounds.Taylor steals it on the in-bounds. He passes to Sherronatron at the trey.Sherronatron for three.HE SCORES!!!!Jayhawks up by 20 over Missouri.

loudog 13 years, 9 months ago

It's funny how Hansbrough is still getting all this preseason hype this year, and nowhere in any of those stories do they mention how he was absolutely OWNED by Aldrich.I think if he can stay out of foul trouble, Aldrich is going to be one of the better bigs we've had in a while. I'm really looking forward to this year.

junkyard 13 years, 9 months ago

Sooballs - Chenaballs followed Dave Matthews around. You're making Phish look bad. Rock Chalk!

Martin Rosenblum 13 years, 9 months ago

sooballs - Wow, what a great comparison, Aldrich to Chenowith! That "candy-ass" was one of the reasons we beat North Carolina and went on to the championship. I would not find it unreasonable to discover that you have anger and rage issues, possibly stemming from either a vertical challenge or maybe just lacking a clue!

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

sooballs,I'm assuming you were just having some fun with hyperbole.Cole seems a strong candidate to become a good post man.The only thing I saw that suggests any softness was when Dorsey chest butted him in the Memphis game. Cole did the right thing for that moment and didn't get sucked into anything, but...Every big in college basketball saw that moment with Dorsey against Memphis. Every big is wondering: was he just being smart and avoiding getting into a fight, or was he chicken? Every brawny, tough guy big is going to test Cole out this season, because of that moment. Cole's got a "skinny" face. He looks like the kind of guy you can pop in the nose, break it and it will take the starch out of him. Everyone from the Wisconsin style bangers to the Huggo-Muggo ballers to the wide bodies like Dorsey last year at Memphis are going to take their shot this year. Cole is going to get hit in the face and pushed to the floor and cheap shotted several times this year, until he discovers his own set of physical weapons and discharges them a few times. However, effective weapon usage has to involve scoring as you dish out the blows, or getting a stop while you dish out the blows. Fighting alone does not prove manhood. The fighting has to get your team points or stops for it to be persuasive. Wilt never punched anybody. To the guys who played clean, he never really humiliated them. But to guys who tried to rough him up, or who tried to suggest they were as good, he always took such tresspassers down the floor, told them he was going to dunk on them, backed them in slowly, warned them he would break their arms on the rim if they tried to stop him, threw down a monster dunk and then did finger rolls if they became supplicants, or repeated the ritual until they did become supplicants. Even Bill Russell knew not to try to intimidate Wilt. You defended him cleanly. You didn't try to out man him the way Russell did most others.

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

I know, Cole is not Wilt. Or Russell. He's not Shaq Father either. But all good big men have to establish credibility in the paint. They have to say we can play ball, but there has to be discipline. The problem with Tyler Hansbrough, good as he is, is that he's a bully, not a big man. And when someone finally treated him like a bully, he folded just like every bully ever has on a grade school playground. Tyler will attack you. He will hit you. He will fight you. But he just totally lacks the dominant mentality that this is my territory, this is my crib. Control of the paint has always been a part of the game, but what bigs have to go through to dominate it has gotten soooooo much worse the last 15 years.Kaun, Arthur and Jackson may have roughed Cole up in practice, but Kaun, Arthur, and Jackson were not basically thug ballers. They didn't really want to hurt him. D1 has quite a few prison body thugs playing. Cole is going to meet them. He is going to have to seriously spray his sent around the lane, or he is going to be wearing a plastic mask very soon and will see his effectiveness drop quickly.When persons refer to Chenowith being weak, what they are really talking about was a very talented big man who simply did not have the dominant streak in his personality.The dominant streak does not have to do with eating, defecating and sleeping KU hoops. It has to do with who is the Daddy. It has to do with who is the big Barry White !@#$%^er!@#$%^er who is going to intone in a deep voice, "You're in my lane, don't make me take you out" and back it up.In the paint, frankly, among the bigs, they do have to "out-man" each other. It is a very territorial aspect of the game in the paint. It is about who is the Alpha male. Lots of postmen have skills, or talent, or both, but if they lack the will to dominate they cannot really be good big men. Out on the perimeter, lock down defense is like roosters fighting. Inside, we are talking bull elephants fighting for territory. Sasha Kaun's problem was never that he wasn't big enough, or tough enough, or willing to mix it up enough. Sasha's problem was that having not grown up playing the game, he did not feel instinctively territorial about the paint. It was not HIS paint. He was a great post defender, but not a possessive paint defender. He could never move beyond that skill mastery mindset into this is MY paint, this is MY basket, this is MY team, this is MY crib. You come in here and you must play by the rules, or I am taking you out. I'm not just the Shaq Daddy here. I am the Shaq Father. I am the man and you are the boys.

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

Every big gets tested sooner or later. The ones who pass are the ones who say, "You !@#$%^&*ed with the wrong person, dude," and back it up with pain dispensation. They come in all sizes and shapes. Clyde and Wilt had it. Randall had it. Collison had it. DBlock was that man for us last year, though he was small. The buck stopped with DBlock inside. He had the look, even though he was sweet. He had the body, even though he was skinny from the knees down. And he WAS the Shaq Father in miniature. You could see it in his eyes that there was nothing more important to him than his team. He was VERY possessive of them. Dorsey knew instinctively, even though DBlock was smaller, that DBlock was not a man to screw with. DBlock WOULD GO ALL THE WAY and so he never really had to. Of course part of what made DBlock so tough was that he had back up in Kaun. Kaun really did dispense pain all the time. He was just one of those guys who ran into people whether he was trying to or not. So: DBlock did not HAVE to stay in the game. KU could afford for him get into a fight and have to sit, because they had Kaun in reserve. This was understood by opponents. Cole does not have this luxury yet (hopefully Quintrell and Kieff and Marcus develop quickly).Also, it is not yet clear that Cole WOULD GO ALL THE WAY. And if its not clear, it has to be tested.It was not clear to most in the NBA that Larry Bird would go all the way. The Hick from French Lick had to be tested. It turned out Larry had a harder head and could take a punch as well as anyone else. It turned out that Larry actually LIKED to play dirty and that he actually got a kick out of sucker punching as much as the big city dudes did. In fact, Larry just loved to trip people who could outjump him. It was brilliant strategy, if you think about it. Larry couldn't jump, but he was really quick side to side because of superior anticipation. So: if you tried to screw with him, he'd just spend the next few games tripping you every chance he got. What the heck, Larry seemed to say, I'm getting floored every game, why not trip the hell out of this guy? Besides being one of the best players in the history of basketball, Larry Bird was one of the greatest trip artists I have ever seen! And he developed it in the pros. He never tripped anybody in college. Tripping was his pro weapon. Man, it turns out that speed merchants and jumping jacks just HATE being tripped.

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

Before Bird, it was not clear that Jabbar was truly tough. He looked slender, and high, and he was into religion, even though he was perhaps the greatest talent of all time in the paint and had won big in college. He had to be tested, because he was too good not to be tested. It got so bad for Jabbar that he had to wear goggles the rest of his career just to keep the guys who keep their finger nails long from scratching his eyes out. They do that, you know. Jabbar perfected the sucker punch for the guys that tried to intimdate him. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the man who scored the most points of all time in the NBA, was easily one of its greatest sucker punchers of all time. Man, did that frustrate opponents. The guy gets all the breaks on calls. He's got a sky hook. AND HE SUCKER PUNCHES! You could just hear the crybabies crying all over the paint. Watch him, watch him, he's going to do it. He's going to sucker punch me. But Jabbar was always too clever for the refs. He learned to punch opposing rebounders in the back of the head while the shot was in the air. He was a genius at sucker punching. He could even sucker jab while sky hooking. Cole HAS to get a weapon. Every big that any team is going to rely on for points in the paint has to get a weapon. But its not enough to be taught a weapon. You have to like to use it. Some guys just don't like to mix it up. They don't like to dispense justice.The good news about Cole is that he played hockey. Hockey is basically the world's only criminal activity that has been turned into a game. The best preparation for the sort of treatment Cole is going to get this year is hockey. Hockey players, even little leaguers, learn to play rough AND dirty very quickly. You haven't lived until you've been high sticked, or pinned against the glass and had a couple guys skate into you at 20 miles an hour trying to break your ribs, or knock out your teeth on purpose. Wayne Gretsky always looked like a Beverly Hills Hair Dresser, and he was so fast and quick that he could avoid most of the hits, but Wayne understood that he was to be tested. Wayne fought back the best way he could--with the stick and the puck. He could put a hockey puck in your eye socket from across the rink, if you tried to intimidate him. He could skate behind you and bury a puck in your medula. And he was so fast and so smooth he could get away with it. And he was so accurate that everyone knew he was doing it on purpose, when he did it.

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

Cole, I suspect, will have to dust off one of the greatest big man weapons of the game: elbows. Cole is a mad stork on the floor. He just does naturally have extremities flying. Coles going to have to take a few punches that are going to hurt like hell. I'm guessing he'll even get his hockey mask for a while. But there is nothing tough guys hate more than elbows, really pointy boney elbows. Elbows to the Adams apple. Elbows to the nose. Elbows to the eye socket. Cracks there always spook an opponent. And the worst of all, elbows to the teeth. Tough guys with the hardest heads in the world, guys who can take a punch in the kisser like a kiss on the cheek, man, they just hate losing teeth. Most of them already have one or two gone and so they know how much of a hassle it is to lose more. They hate elbows so much that you can catch them looking for the elbows and shove a finger into their eyes. And, yes, Cole, there's no reason in the world not to grow your finger nails out. Heck, play with their minds the same way they are playing with yours. One guy I used to know on the playground was to paint his fingernails on one hand red, then paint a familiar four letter word, one letter each on his finger nails, and then "U" on his thumb. The middle finger on the unpainted hand he grew out and filed to a point. I asked him why he painted his finger nails. Guys are looking at the painted hand so much, he said that they don't noticed the sharpened nail on the unpainted hand until I use it. Just grow one out, Cole, and file it to a point. You can draw blood just as easily as the tough guys do that leave all their nails long. And the great thing about a filed point on your fingernail is you can chew it off before the ref comes to inspect you for slicing and dicing your opponent. If you file it just right, you can actually poke it through those girly man t shirts some of the tough guys wear. There's also something about a long, filed finger nail that really screws with the head of a guy that you've already elbowed in the adam's apple and stuck in the eye with one of your shorter nailed fingers. He gets all worried about you poking him in the eye with the finger with the long nail.Ah, the finer points of the game!Of course, this was all just in fun. No basketball players would ever do anything of the kind, would they?

speedy 13 years, 9 months ago

castarke and jbrownjiba couple of wantabees-neverwasses.

GrayHawker 13 years, 9 months ago

And Wilt did keep his word about blocking his dunk. I don't remember if it was Elgin Baylor or Nate Thurmond but one of them did have their arm broken trying to stop a dunk by Wilt.

Martin Rosenblum 13 years, 9 months ago

So what you're suggesting is that Aldrich goes maverick and rids himself of his "Hoosiers" movie image. Maybe that gorilla head that he talked about wearing for Halloween should be his alter-ego!Let's see ow Emporia State deals with our "candy-ass" tomorrow night. I predict a double-double for him!

Kirk 13 years, 9 months ago

Ahh....not football.Ahhh. How nice. Welcome home to...basketball. Tradition and winning.

Chris Weaver 13 years, 9 months ago

hey guys -i'm working a commercial shoot for Coke Zero which - due to the fact that KU is national champs - is filming a national spot at the field house for tomorrow's game. the campaign also is meant to shoot at duke and georgia tech - so - we have a lot to prove. below is the posting they asked that i make so folks would come out with their A game. tomorrow night - if you come dressed up - there could be significant compensation for you. thanks guys -COKE ZERO WILL BE FILMING A NATIONAL TV COMMERCIAL FEATURING JAYHAWK FANS AT TUESDAY NIGHT'S GAME. WE ENCOURAGE ALL FANS IN ATTENDANCE TO WEAR YOUR GEAR, CHANT EXTRA LOUDLY, PAINT YOURSELVES TO SHOW TEAM SPIRIT! CAMERAS WILL BE ROLLING SO LET'S MAKE SURE WE SHOW THEM WHAT REAL TEAM PRIDE IS ALL ABOUT.

Martin Rosenblum 13 years, 9 months ago

sooballs..Thanks for waking the sleeping giant (jaybate)!Who else can, unknowingly play the six degrees game while discussing Jayhawk BBall and come up with a Barry White! Brava!btw, was Pollard going in the wrong direction with his painted nails? I think people were intimidated by him on so many other levels.

ralsterKUMed95 13 years, 9 months ago

Ask PsychoT if Cole is a "candy-ass"...Hansbrough got alot to stew about after that game--COLE is likely the reason Hansbrough stayed in college--gotta try to rewrite those images of gettin' worked by a frosh. He had his hands full with an unyielding Jackson, a taller more athletic Kaun, and a way more athletic Shady. 4 "answers" for PsychoT on 1 team...I loved every minute of it!

jaybate 13 years, 9 months ago

Pollard, Rodman and some others discover at a certain point that Yogi Berra was right: half the game is 90% mental. :-)In every competitive strategic encounter, an opponent sizes you up, takes your measure and then decides how best to take you out of your game.Pollard, Rodman and others simply act so unconventionally that an opponent has a very difficult time taking their measure. Rodman, frankly, was probably the greatest rebounding and defensive forward of all time before he started playing with people. But after he did start playing with them, he was unquestionably the greatest rebounding and defensive forward of all time.Rodman did to opponents in basketball what Ghandi did to opponents. He defied an opponent at every possible level he could think of defying him. The opponent tries to be a macho, tough guy. Rodman dies his hair green and orange.The opponent tries to take the game seriously. Rodman turns it into entertainment.The opponent tries to play his own game. Rodman gets in his face to the point the guy wants to fight.The opponent tries to get in Rodman's face. Rodman runs away laughing and making faces.The opponent tries to be cool. Rodman shows up in drag.Rodman was saying: I won't cooperate with you on ANY level and whenever you lose your concentration because of it, I'm going to beat you.Pollard discovered the same kind of thing worked at least somewhat even if you didn't have much talent. Pollard and Rodman used crazyness, oppositional syndrome, and refusal to cooperate to take you out of your game.Pollard was basically a nice guy and so not really scary.Rodman seemed to have actually had a psychotic break and gone into this mode permanently, though who knows.But Pollard and Rodman show just how important refusal to cooperate with an opponent can go to creating advantage.As Ghandi said, "First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, and then you win."Refusal to cooperate with an opponent makes one very tough to beat.

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