Kansas Center Cole Aldrich Throws Out First Pitch at Twins-Royals Game Sunday in K.C.

April 25, 2010

Video of Cole practicing his pitching

Kansas men’s basketball center Cole Aldrich threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Kaufman Stadium for the Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Sunday afternoon. Kansas City went on to win the game 4-3.

In the top of the third inning, Aldrich was a guest in the FOX Sports Midwest TV booth with Ryan Lefebvre and Big 12 men’s basketball broadcaster Paul Splittorff. In the bottom of the third, Aldrich spent an inning with Royals and KU broadcaster Bob Davis on the Royals radio broadcast. Additionally, the Bloomington, Minn., native spent a half inning with the Minnesota Twins radio network.

“This was really fun,” Aldrich said following the game. “The Royals were first class from setting this up. They really rolled out the red carpet once we got there. I am very fortunate to be able to do all I did.”

Lafebvre and Splittorff discussed Aldrich’s KU career and upcoming NBA Draft with the 6-11 center from Bloomington, Minn. Here are some quotes from Aldrich (CA) during the third inning interview:

On the duel Major League Baseball loyalties being from Minnesota and living the last few years at Kansas:

CA: “I have been a avid Twins watcher. I go to the games at home when I go home in the summer. Being a Jayhawk in Lawrence you grow on to the Royals and their team.”

On how his life is going to change heading to the NBA Draft:

CA: “The (May) 14th is my last final. Then I’m heading home for maybe two days, then head out to L.A. (Los Angeles) to work out and get ready for the draft.”

On watching the NBA postseason and thinking of next year:

CA: “The last year or so I have become a big NBA fan because I know not only I can play there but I am trying to learn the system and things like that.”

On being a center in the NBA:

CA: “One thing we had at Kansas is we had a really good guard (Sherron Collins). That took a lot of pressure off me as a big guy. It is one of those things you look at but you need to find the right situation.”

On throwing out the first pitch in which TV showed the pitch and an image of Aldrich with his hand over the ball. Lefebvre referenced it to a normal size person gripping a golf ball.

CA: “I think that was a strike in my strike zone,” Aldrich said of the high first pitch.

On Minnesota Twin Joe Mauer:

CA: “He was a St. Paul kid growing up and was an All-American in high school in two sports and an all-state player in basketball. He’s definitely a great athlete and he’s showing it.”

On his academic situation getting his degree in communications:

CA: “I have 18 hours this semester and after that I have about 12 more. I am going to try and take some online classes and if I need to get back in Lawrence, I’ll have to do that.”

On the attention he will be receiving when in the NBA:

CA: “From our program (at Kansas), with Danny (Manning) and our coaching staff, I think they really prepare you well. Not only from the physical standpoint in the weight room with Andrea Hudy and on the court mentally with coach (Bill) Self doing a great job with us. He not only prepares us as players but as men.”

Named the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year, Aldrich averaged 11.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during 2009-10 with 15 double-doubles. He blocked 125 shots to record a KU single-season record. In addition to his Academic All-America honors, Aldrich was named All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year each of the last two seasons. He was a 2010 Consensus All-America Second Team selection and never lost in Allen Fieldhouse, posting a three-year record of 55-0. Aldrich finished his career second on the KU blocked shots list with 254. At the 2010 KU postseason men’s basketball banquet Aldrich was co-winner of the Mr. Jayhawk Award with senior teammate Sherron Collins.

Following Kansas’ 33-3 season in which it won the Big 12 regular-season, Big 12 postseason championships and was ranked No. 1 for 15 weeks, Aldrich announced he would forego his senior season at KU and declared for the NBA Draft which is June 24.