Cole Aldrich has had a tremendous college career. It started his freshman year when he made big plays for the Jayhawks in their National Championship season and he was hoping that it was going to finish the same way. The Jayhawks entered this year’s NCAA Tournament as the favorites to cut down the nets in Indianapolis. However, Northern Iowa ended Kansas’ dreams of a National Championship and ended Cole Aldrich’s Kansas career with a loss. This past week, Aldrich decided to forego his senior season in Lawrence and enter his name into the NBA Draft.
Cole Aldrich joined KFAN in Minneapolis to talk about his decision to turn pro, how tough the decision was, what he needs to work on at the next level, and also how tough the loss was in the NCAA Tournament.
On how excited he is to enter the NBA draft:
“Oh it’s exciting. It’s one of those times and parts of my life where I thought it was time where I needed to move on and get new challenges in my life, but also reflect on all the great memories I’ve had here.”
On how tough the decision was to make:
“It was more of a difficult decision to come back last year. Sherron (Collins) and I had really talked about what we wanted to do as individuals. We had kinda decided to come back together last year knowing this year that Sherron was graduating and I had the opportunity to do the same thing. I was really excited and I tried to not let it get to me because the more you think of those things the more it may weigh on you throughout the season. It took a little bit and I talked to Coach Self. He said I want to be selfish and have you stay around but you can’t. It’s one of those things where it’s your time to go, you’ve paid your dues, and you just gotta go out and expect new challenges.”
On whether or not he felt like there was more that he could’ve accomplished at Kansas:
“No. The only way I would’ve envisioned it a little bit different is hopefully getting to the Final Four this year. You put so much work into the season and it all ends in 40 minutes. My career here has been awesome, I’ve been able to play in the Fieldhouse and never lose in the Fieldhouse. I’ve never lost in the Fieldhouse which is awesome to me. I really take pride in that because I feel the Fieldhouse has the best home atmosphere in all of college basketball and we’re just trying to prove it every day when we play in there.”
On how he would feel if the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him:
“It’d be exciting. Just being around the family and friends that I have back home and kinda being around the few guys that I know on the team. A Minnesota team that has struggled over the past few years and their fans need the best for them. Whatever that is. Whether it’s me or whoever it is, I just ask for that person to try their hardest and give that program what the fans need.”
On what he needs to work on for the next level:
“One thing that we really worked on last year to make me better this year was just working on my lower body. My lower body is going to be a key. The centers in the NBA are big but they’re also really strong. Just being able to keep that post position is really gonna help me and I think just working on overall footwork. You can’t work on footwork enough because that’s always gonna be stressed.”
On how much pressure Kansas felt in the NCAA Tournament:
“Us as a team, we didn’t feel that much pressure. We had been number one all but maybe two or three weeks throughout the season. The one thing that disappointed us was that we put such a puzzle together through the six or seven months of the season and it all comes down to 40 minutes. You get a team that’s really hot and guys step up and make some huge shots, it definitely can get your tailside.”