Hoops recruiting: LaMarcus Aldridge update part 1

IT caught up with the <B>LaMarcus Aldridge</b>, the state's top-ranked player in the '04 class, for an in-depth three-part interview, primarily to update his current measurements, which position he's told schools that he wants to play and to grab the scoop on which programs represent his top five. Also, Aldridge comments on Texas, how it stacks up against the competition and on the other lucky schools making up the remainder of his top five, when he expects to make his decision and more.

The "Book on LaMarcus Aldridge" -- where he's at today.

The Seagoville center who wants to play the 3 and 4 spots on the collegiate level, stands 6-11 and weighs a decent 225 pounds. With only a 200-pound bench-press, the Dallas stalwart said he's been very busy in the weight room looking to build more upper-body strength, something he'll need to continue doing to handle the bumping and grinding on the D-I level and in the NBA, where he's projected to wind up in the years ahead.

Coming off of a junior season where he averaged a ridiculous triple-double, the future McDonald's All-American will definitely be a major coup for the college fortunate enough to land him. But at this point, the five most likely to sway him are, "Texas, Florida, UNC, Miami and Georgia Tech," said Aldridge, who's eye-popping season average of 27.5 points, 12 boards and 10 blocks per game absolutely borders on the insane. (Those numbers are according to 6-11, 225-pound tower.)

"My strengths are my abilities to dribble and shoot," Aldridge said. "I shoot and dribble extremely well for a big-man. And I need to work on my strength, of course, but I've been in the weight room constantly and will get stronger. I also think I can improve a little more on my dribbling skills... I can dribble well, but think I need to improve on that a little more too."

Never hurts to work on the strengths of your game either and it looks as if the 5-star bluechipper embodies that ethic. Of course, he failed to mention defense, and with an average of ten blocks a game as well as altering opponents' shots (which doesn't show up on any stat sheet I've ever seen), defense is as much a strength of his game as anything else.

And let's get right down to it, the height this kid possesses, you cannot learn or teach. Where as the rules may have changed with regard to teaching speed or learning how to quicken a forty time, you simply cannot do that for height. Aldridge has plenty of it and that is as much a part of the buzz surrounding him as anything else.

And with all of that buzz, some schools are working extra hard to impress the hoops giant. "Right now," the Seagoville center told IT, "Florida and Texas are recruiting me harder than any of the other schools."

If you're a fan of Longhorn hoops, it's nice to see Rick Barnes and his staff working overtime on this kid. And if it means anything, the first and only five schools out of his mouth were Texas followed by Florida, UNC, Miami and Georgia Tech. In Part II, which is coming soon, Aldridge breaks down his top five and comments on what, if any impact, Daniel Gibson's verbal will have on his upcoming decision. He also gives IT his commitment time frame and the minor buzz going on behind closed doors on the upcoming AAU circuit.

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