Aldrich Ends 2009 Calendar Year on High Note

Dec. 30, 2009


Kansas junior center Cole Aldrich had a little bit of everything on his platter in the Jayhawks’ last game of the 2009 calendar year. Aldrich’s night started out with a couple of quick blocks on Belmont center Mick Hedgepeth. In fact, within the first six minutes of the game, Aldrich registered four blocks and had five of his six blocks in the first half.

“I knew that I had quite a few blocks in the first half, and I just came with the same mindset that I do every game to try to hold the paint down with rebounding and blocking shots,” Aldrich said.

The four quick blocks certainly lent a hand to the Jayhawks’ 11-0 start out of the gates against the Bruins.

“We got off to a good start and then we had three bad possessions in a row and we did not guard,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said.

Self welcomed Aldrich’s strong play in the first half when things were close.

“Cole [Aldrich] played with some good spark,” said Self. “The thing about it is, I can be mad at Cole, but where would we be without him? Cole had some good moments.”

The Bloomington, Minn. native finished the first half with seven points, nine rebounds, and five blocks in just 15 minutes of play.

Entering the second half, the message was clear in the locker room that the KU team needed to rebound better.

“He [Aldrich] gets 14 rebounds and the next guy gets four,” Self said. “I think Cole can be more aggressive in one area, but he has been going after the ball and blocking shots, which is good.”

Aldrich will have to be ready for a grind-it-out game on the road against Temple on Saturday afternoon.

“We have to play with more of a chip on our shoulder and have that mind set that our guy is not going to score and when we do that, I think we can continue to get a lot better,” Aldrich said.

Aldrich said after the game that in order for the team to get better, it needed to play more of a tougher game of basketball.

“We just need to play hard-nosed basketball, and I think we will continue to get in that mode and play that way again this year,” Aldrich said.

The 6-foot-11 center recorded his fifth double-double of the 2009-10 season with three minutes left in the game on a left-handed layup, which extended Kansas’ lead to 29 points. Aldrich finished the game with 11 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks and three steals in the Jayhawks’ 81-51 victory over the Bruins. He also surpassed his season average in scoring and rebounding as No. 1 KU moved to 12-0 on the season.