NBPA: Cole Aldrich Spotlight

RICHMOND, Va. --- Nowadays, most high school post players dream of roaming the perimeter. Cole Aldrich is not one of them. The 6-11, 240-pound rising junior center is making a case for being the top center at the NBPA Camp this week and he's doing it by staying in the paint and outplaying everyone.

When asked why he, unlike others, understands and thrives in his role as a true post player, Aldrich grinned.

"I definitely love dunking on people, and that's really the only way you can," he said. "I don't have the quick step out on the perimeter. It's great to use a drop step or up-and-under and dunk on them."

He's had his share of dunks in just two days, showing a well-developed post game with impressive footwork and a number of scoring moves in the paint.

And that's why, despite being only a few weeks into the process of being seriously recruited, the interest from colleges is coming in waves. Make those tidal waves.

"I just talked to my Dad at lunchtime today, and he said, 'You've got about 50-something letters.' I was like, 'Oh great, that's just what I need when I come home and I'm tired,'" Aldrich said.

"I usually open probably all of them. If I don't read it, I'll take a glance at it. It's definitely great to receive it. Some kids will never receive a lot of mail from schools like this, so I'm definitely not taking it for granted."

As for which school is on him the hardest at the moment?

"I'm getting a lot of mail from Illinois," he said. "I go to my e-mail the first morning that you can get e-mail [from recruiters], and I get an e-mail from Illinois: 'Hey, Cole, you can see by the time stamp that it is 12:01 a.m., and this is how much we want you.' I'm like, 'You guys are crazy. You are up at this time of the night?'"

Despite Illinois' efforts, they haven't been able to crack Aldrich's top four, which he said stands at Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State and Minnesota. The Spartans are the only one from that group that hasn't offered.

But upon further discussion, Aldrich revealed that he also has a top two.

"I'd probably say Kansas and North Carolina are my favorites right now," he said. "I've been down to Kansas like four times now, which is really crazy. We had a tournament down there, I was there for 'Late Night,' we went to a game freshman year, and I think we went another time. I've been either three or four times. … [As for UNC], I just like the style of play. Roy Williams can definitely get national championships. He just won the last one, and he's gotten far in the tourney many times."

And when pressed even further, Aldrich admitted that the Jayhawks are the current leader. And it doesn't hurt KU's cause that his roommate here is Kansas commitment Dwight Lewis.

"Yeah, I'd probably say that [Kansas leads]," Aldrich said. "We [Dwight and I] talk about Kansas every once in a while. It's definitely a fun time rooming with someone going to a place I'm getting recruited by. … I like [KU's] fan base. I went down there, and they have a crazy fan base. All they do is dream, sleep, eat, and drink Kansas basketball."

Aldrich expects to get a closer look at Chapel Hill later this summer during a golf trip to North Carolina.

"Yeah, we'll probably visit North Carolina, and maybe we can get out to Duke, but I don't know if we'll have time out there [for the Duke visit]," he said. "We might be too busy out in the woods trying to find our golf balls. If it goes through, it will probably be three days - I think it might be early August."

But the elite center has no plans to pursue a golf career. Especially considering he doesn't have any clubs made for his 6-11 build.

"I love golf [but] I'm not that good," Aldrich laughed. "You should see my clubs. I have regulation-size clubs."

(J.B. Cissell contributed to this report.)

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