McDonald's Experience Golden for Aldrich

After helping his team advance to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, there was little time for Cole Aldrich to rest or relax. Shortly after seeing his senior season at Bloomington (MN) Jefferson come to an end, the 6-11 center was whisked off to Louisville, KY for the 2007 McDonald's All-American game.

The opportunity to spend a little more time around players he’s faced over the last few summers was a good one, even if it was a bit busy.

“It was a great time, we did a lot of stuff and got to spend a lot of time together,” said Cole Aldrich. “The first day and a half were real relaxed but the last day and a half were running, running, running. The last few days were kind of hectic but they were the fun days with the dunk contest, scrimmage, game and all.”

Logging 15 minutes in the West’s 114-112 victory, Aldrich contributed six points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

“The atmosphere was great, 15,000 in Freedom Hall, it’s crazy,” Aldrich told Phog.net “You kind of want to do a little bit of everything. You want to have fun, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Rarely will any kid that plays high school basketball make it here. You’re having fun but you also want to win when it gets down to crunch time.”

The easy going and approachable big man from Minnesota also took some time to discuss his thoughts on how the 2006-07 season went for Kansas.

“We had a heck of a year winning the Big 12 Conference and then winning the Big 12 tournament and then making the Elite Eight,” said Aldrich. “I think if anything walking out of the arena against UCLA they could be proud of what they’d accomplished. Yeah they lost to UCLA and whatnot, but they can be proud of doing those great things and just playing together.”

The next time Kansas takes the floor, Aldrich will be wearing a uniform and it’s something that he can’t wait for. While some players would talk of how they are the missing piece or how they’ll play huge minutes, he’s just hoping to contribute in any way possible.

“Hopefully I’ll be playing, that’d be real cool to get some minutes here and there,” said Aldrich of his freshman expectations. “I’ll get some rebounds, block some shots, cheer, whatever, just mingling with the guys is going to be great.”

Despite the honor of making the McDonald’s All-American game, Aldrich is aware that nothing will be handed to him because of any awards he’s won or reputation he’s earned. With that in mind, he’s identified the area he needs to work on the most before getting to Lawrence.

“I need to work on conditioning,” said Aldrich. “They run like crazy, man they get out and they run so that will be a whole different feel for me. My high school team really didn’t have the guards to run like that and I’ll be going from halfcourt to fullcourt where most of the points are transition, but I’ll be ready.”


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