It’s easy to tell why Cole Aldrich is a hot commodity. There isn’t a coach in America who wouldn’t love to have a strong 6-10 finisher as part of their arsenal, but Scout.com’s number one ranked center from the class of 2007 will choose between only three schools; Kansas, North Carolina, and Minnesota.
In the last week, the Bloomington, MN star has opened his door to two of the schools on his list, and expects the third to visit within the next seven days. Phog.net spoke to Aldrich about Wednesday’s visit with Kansas head coach Bill Self and inquired about his upcoming Late Night visit to Lawrence.
On Friday, September 9th, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were the first to make the trek to see Aldrich. The home state Gophers attempted to use being the “early birds” as an advantage.
“It was good. They came before school because I usually get there about a half hour early or so before school starts,” Aldrich said. “We just talked and basically they said, ‘you obviously can tell we’re the first ones here and that’s how much you mean to us.’”
North Carolina assistant coach Joe Holliday is scheduled to make a trip to see Aldrich on or around September 21st, while Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams will make an appearance on October 4th to see the highly-touted big man.
But on Wednesday, “the class” of the class of ’07 welcomed Kansas head coach Bill Self and assistant Joe Dooley to an open gym workout at Jefferson High.
“It was good. They just came after school. Coach Self and Coach Dooley were out there and they kind of just watched our open gym,” said Aldrich. “We didn’t really talk too much, but the little that we did was kind of more of a casual conversation.”
Casual conversation? So you mean there was no big recruiting pitch about the possibility of being a key ingredient to KU’s future success?
“No. I wouldn’t really say that. It was more like how’s your golf game going? Mine’s really sucking right now,” said Aldrich as he laughed.
Cole knows that Self’s big push to land the junior is on the horizon and will probably come sooner, rather than later.
“I’d say I’m guessing that’s probably going to come when we go down to Late Night.”
Aldrich is one of many top prospects scheduled to visit Lawrence for Late Night festivities, and this will be the second go-around for the strong post man. But Cole voiced his concerns over this year’s “Late” Night schedule.
“I wish it was a little later this year. I remember last year it was at regular time but I think this year it’s at like 7p or 8p. I wish it would be at maybe 10 or so which would give you more of the effect of it being at night,” Aldrich continued. “Besides at 7p it may still be a little light outside which won’t give you the total effect.”
Cole had no problem pointing out the highlight of last October’s trip for him.
“Just the whole fan base. I mean the students were gone on break I think they still filled up the 16,300. It was pretty crazy even without a lot of student fans,” Aldrich told Phog.net.
Aldrich was a “face-in-the-crowd” last year as were Julian Wright and Mario Chalmers. This year Wright and Chalmers will be announced as part of Self’s stellar recruiting class that includes three McDonald’s All-Americans. When asked if he could see himself taking part in Late Night someday, the 6-10 center emphatically replied, “Definitely.” And Cole looks forward to spending more time with some of this freshmen class.
“I mean I remember last year I was sitting by Julian, Mario and I talked to Micah when I was down there for the Texas-Kansas game (January 2005). We know each other a little bit so it will definitely be fun to see them again and talk to them.”
I wondered if Cole had tasted the Late Night atmosphere in Lawrence last year, why he might not think about spending his time at another school’s season kickoff.
“It was just a good time. We were going to try to get to North Carolina for late night but it fell through. We didn’t have enough money to go for the flights and all that stuff to get out there,” Cole continued. “So we figured Kansas is an 8-8.5 hour drive down there and we’re going to stay at our (AAU) assistant coach’s sister’s house. So it was more of a money kind of deal and cheaper just to go down to Kansas. And we had a good time last year and we wanted to have another good time this year.”