Former Jayhawk Cole Aldrich Goes Shopping with Local Kids

Aug. 15, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas basketball standout Cole Aldrich took time out of his day on Monday to take 13 local kids back to school shopping at the Lawrence Target. Aldrich gave each of the kids a $50 gift card to get all the supplies needed for the upcoming school year.

“I think the main thing is giving back to the kids because school is right around the corner,” Aldrich said. “This was always something I loved to do-go back to school shopping. I’m really understanding how blessed I am with the career that I have and the ability to give back. It really means a lot to me and it means a lot to these kids.”

Each child had a volunteer accompany them through the school supply aisles. Volunteers included friends of Aldrich, Kansas Athletics employees and former Jayhawk Tyrel Reed.

“My advice to the kids is to work hard,” Aldrich said. “That’s the biggest thing, at least for me, because I was never the most talented or athletic on the court or the smartest kid off the court. I worked hard in school and basketball.”

Third grader Isaiah Mayo spent his morning picking out his school supplies with Aldrich.

“It was really cool and we had a lot of fun,” Mayo said of the experience.

Aldrich has been in Lawrence throughout the summer taking classes towards finishing his degree and working out due to the NBA lockout. Aldrich just finished his rookie season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Bloomington, Minn., native believes education is so important because you can only play sports for so long. During his last season as a Jayhawk (2009-10), Aldrich was named the Academic All-American of the Year.

“After sports, you’re going to need something to fall back on and having that education really means a lot to me,” Aldrich said.