Of course, being 6-10, highly ranked as a basketball prospect and having already committed to Kansas, Aldrich was hard to miss. In fact, the future Jayhawk sometimes wonders if it would be different were he not so big.
“It’s hard, real hard. Being 6-10, I don’t know if it’s different being 5-10 or 6-2 or whatnot, but being 6-10 you really stand out and people really notice you,” Aldrich told Phog.Net. “You’ve got to watch what you do in school, the classroom and also out on the court.”
Admittedly, it was tough to not take some of the criticism personally and that left him wondering how to deal with it at times. Eventually, he realized that it just comes with the territory and that it’s something he’ll always have to deal with.
“There’s some stuff that you take it personal and you’re like well they are talking bad about me, should I give them an interview next time?” said Aldrich. “But, you know that everyone will come back crawling around when you are playing well. You just kind of have to brush it off and understand it’s part of the game.”
Now that the past is the past, Aldrich is worrying about the present and the future. He’s led his team to number six in the state rankings and he feels that he’s come a long way since arriving on the scene as a freshman.
“I’ve definitely bulked up a lot since my freshman year. I was more lean, probably about 205 pounds at 6-8, 6-9’ish,” said Aldrich. “Now I’m about 6-11 and 245, maybe 250 pounds. So, I’m lean, I’m jumping high and I’m just having a lot of fun.”
Having already been invited to play in the Roundball Classic, Aldrich is hoping that he’ll also make the McDonald’s All-American team. He’s spoken with Bill Self about what will be expected of him as a freshman and he knows exactly what he’ll be focusing on, whether or not he makes the hamburger game.
“Conditioning. Conditioning, conditioning, conditioning, conditioning,” said Aldrich when asked what Self would like him to work on. “I’d probably say that’s been my biggest flaw all of high school and maybe even my whole career in basketball. Right after the season I’m not going to take any days off and I just gotta keep bustin to get in condition.”
Like most freshman to be, Aldrich has also put a lot of thought into what he’d like to achieve at Kansas. While he’d like to play early, and hopes to win a national championship, he doesn’t yet have any concrete goals. He’s just hoping that he can live up to what’s expected of him and have as much fun as possible.
“It’s a huge tradition. We even have guys at our games here who are somewhat affiliated with KU as fans. They come to our high school games, aau games and whatnot,” said Aldrich. “They really love their basketball there. It’s going to be fun to live up to it if I can. I really just want to soak in the tradition, play ball and have fun.”