Boo: Lamarcus Aldridge report, with photos

HAMPTON, Va. – You can't help but notice that something is different about Lamarcus Aldridge. Not only is he making a strong case for the top ranking in the class, but the Dallas junior is also clearly enjoying the game more now that he's switched AAU teams.

"It's a relief – I'm happier now," Aldridge said of the move from the Texas Blue Chips to Team Texas. "I can play where I want to play and go where I want to go."

The influence of Blue Chips coach Mitch Malone was a major reason for Aldridge's decision.

"I had a big list [of schools] and he started cutting out the people he wanted to cut out," Aldridge said. "I didn't really think about it because when it came down to it I was going to go where I wanted to go. I didn't really listen to him."

Now that Aldridge is in control of his own recruitment, he has a clear-cut list.

"I just have four schools - Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and North Carolina," he said, noting that all have offered. "No one is leading now because I haven't taken any official visits."

Arizona is also apparently entering the picture.

The Tar Heels were Aldridge's top choice when first asked 18 months ago, though the situation has changed several times since then.

"I have schools I like also, but I still love UNC with a passion," Aldridge said. "But now with this new coach thing … I want to know who the coach is going to be."

Carolina nearly got a commitment from him last summer during an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill.

"I was about to [commit], but it was good I waited it out," he said. "You don't want to rush things."

So for now the focus is not on the recruiting trail but on the court – where the 6-10, 225-pound standout keeps improving.

"I'm stronger, quicker – better," he said. "I'm practicing my dribbling every day."

And he might still be growing as well, as he noted his feet recently grew to a size 16.

Aldridge never came off the court Friday night in his team's first-round win over the Georgia Stars. It was not a dominating performance, but the impressive stats speak for themselves – 20 points (9-14 fg, 1-1 3pt, 1-6 ft), 16 boards and four blocks.

He's on a mission – to show he can beat the best. The last two high school seasons he's held his own against the likes of Chris Bosh and Kendrick Perkins. This summer, he's eying fellow elite big men in the Class of 2004.

"The one's I'm going for are Dwight Howard and Al Jefferson," he said.

Clint's Scouting Report

This was actually my first look at Lamarcus Aldridge and it is very easy to see what all of the fuss is about. The first thing you'll notice about his presence on the floor is how long he is. He's probably closer to 6-11 now than his listed height of 6-10. His arms are freakishly long, too.

He reminded us of a younger version of Brian Cook and he had some traits of Tyson Chandler as well. He runs the floor like no big man in the country, and that's certainly not an exaggeration. He played the entire game and ran the court just as quickly in the last two minutes of the game as he did from the tip-off.

Given the fact that this was only my first look at Aldridge, I hesitate to pass judgment on some of his weaknesses, but he didn't show too much in the back-to-the-basket department. We'd love to see him post up more using his length and wingspan and really call for the ball. The jump shots that went down in warm-ups weren't as successful in the game.

*****

Check out IC's Lamarcus Aldridge profile.


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