Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A helping hand: Cole Aldrich gives back to community, shops for city youths

Oklahoma City Thunder center and former Kansas University player Cole Aldrich, right, checks a list of school supplies he planned on buying for Isaiah Mayo, 8. Aldrich and Target purchased $1,000 worth of school supplies for city youths Monday at SuperTarget, 3201 Iowa Street.

Oklahoma City Thunder center and former Kansas University player Cole Aldrich, right, checks a list of school supplies he planned on buying for Isaiah Mayo, 8. Aldrich and Target purchased $1,000 worth of school supplies for city youths Monday at SuperTarget, 3201 Iowa Street.


Cole Aldrich, college basketball’s 2010 Academic All-American of the Year, would love to see 20 Lawrence youths attain similar success in the classroom.

The 6-foot-11 former Kansas University center contributed to that cause Monday. He teamed with Target to purchase $1,000 worth of school supplies during a morning shopping excursion in Lawrence’s SuperTarget store, 3201 Iowa Street.

“I think to me, education is a huge deal. It is a driving force for everybody, whether you are in sports or not,” said Aldrich, who organized the outing with the help of his girlfriend, Britt Claflin, the Salvation Army and KU associate athletic director Mike Harrity.

“You can only play sports for so long. You will need something to fall back on. Having that education really means a lot to me,” Aldrich added.

He tried to show that to the 20 youngsters, who were accompanied on their shopping spree by a group that included former KU guard Tyrel Reed and current KU strength coach Andrea Hudy.

“I think the main thing is just to give back to the kids since the start of school is coming around the corner,” said Aldrich, a second-year member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, currently locked out with the rest of the players in the NBA.

“One thing I always loved to do is go back to school. I am really understanding how blessed I am with the career I have and the ability to give back. Just being able to do it means a lot to myself and Britt, my girlfriend. It means a lot to us to give back to not only the community but schools around here because these kids are the future.”

Reed was accompanied by his wife, Jessica, as they assisted a grade schooler in her shopping. Each of the children received a $50 gift card, though Reed and his wife contributed some cash of their own at the checkout line.

“Hey, she needed to get what she needed to get. You can never turn anyone down. It’s fine to use some of your own money. I didn’t make sure we were staying under budget. It’s not a big deal. It’s all for a great cause,” Tyrel said with a smile.

“It’s great Cole is doing this. I really enjoyed helping out, enjoyed meeting these kids. It was a lot of fun.”

Reed, who played at KU for four years, is a KU graduate; Aldrich, who left for the pros after three seasons, is well on his way to earning his degree.

“I am enrolled in six hours right now. They are all online. I’ll have three or four more classes after that. I’ll be enrolled again this fall. I’ve just got to keep plucking away at the degree,” Aldrich said.

Presently, he’s planning on staying in Lawrence and working out here until the lockout ends. Aldrich does not think he’ll be playing in Europe this season.

“With the lockout, it’s tough because you never know when it will end or how long it will go,” he said. “The good thing is a lot of the guys in the NBA now are using that time to go back to school.”

Aldrich acknowledged that a lot of former college players and current NBA players will be heading to Europe in September.

His buddy, Reed, hopes to announce his overseas destination in coming days or weeks.

“I am in the transition phase, talking to a bunch of teams overseas right now,” Reed said.

Asked if Greece is a hotspot destination, Reed said: “I think the whole world is a hotspot. With this NBA lockout, there’s a lot of guys looking for jobs right now. It’s kind of rough from that standpoint. Wherever I get on will be a country I enjoy.”

House update

Danuel House, a 6-7 senior forward from Hightower High in Missouri City, Texas, has cut his large list of prospective colleges to 10.’s No. 26-rated prospect is considering KU, Missouri, Arizona, Baylor, Houston, Georgetown, Oregon, Texas, Ohio State, Georgia Tech.


Make_Ur_Free_Throws 10 years, 10 months ago

Giving back to the community is such a big thing, and will be something 20 kids will talk about for a long time to come! Way to go everybody!

Rock Chalk!

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Way to go, Cole, Tyrel and your ladies. This is the stuff of greatness. Those youngsters will forever remember that their lives have been touched by Jayhawk care and consideration. Best of luck to both of you in your hoops pursuits. Our current players will certainly benefit from your presence in the offseason practice courts. Cole, glad to see you working to finish the degree.

kubballjunkie 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey can somebody help me out - Tyrel is married?!?! When the heck did that happen??

Congrats Tyrel!!

SaulGood 10 years, 10 months ago

1,000 female KU basketball fans just offed themselves after reading that part of the article.

Steve Kubler 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe he got married July 29th.

That was supposedly posted by Cole.

Mike Kendall 10 years, 10 months ago

Very nice, Cole! Kids look up to their heroes and, you are truly a hero when you're helping kids. Rock Chalk!

justinryman 10 years, 10 months ago

Paying it forward, very very very cool indeed.

Someday when these kids are succeeding in life, they will look back at this moment in life and help out an outreached hand in need. And so on.

Cole and Tyrel are both cementing their legacy in KU folklore even more. This is right up there with Tyrel's dunk against and Coles effort against UNC.

gardenjay 10 years, 10 months ago

Glad to hear commitment towards college degree - to me that should be more KU's style than anything else.

BMonstaC 10 years, 10 months ago

Major kudos to these kids who obviously "get it". They are a tribute to their parents and to a University system that raised them very well. Obviously very blessed themselves, they have chosen to share the fruits of their hard work and good fortune with others. Not a KU grad myself, but the father of one-----I never cease to be amazed at the amount of give back and love these kids show to KU and the Lawrence community. In my mind, it's the number of grads who continually return to the University and invest in the community after they've gone that speaks loudest to the legacy of the program. It's amazing-----and truly heartwarming! Rock Chalk.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

If little Isaiah Mayo was a basketball prodigy, would this qualify as improper contact with a potential recruit?

Scott MacWilliams 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey, is that kid wearing a KSU jersey??
I can't make out the logo on the shoulder, but the colors look like little apple.
Surely Cole would have given him some grief, or at least get him a Jayhawk shirt. So Cole, what gives??


kubballjunkie 10 years, 10 months ago

It's a Minnesota Vikings jersey. Adrian Peterson is #28. Wonder if the kid knew Cole was from Minnesota???

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