Cole Aldrich

I see we have a post on Wes Johnson from Syracuse, so I thought I'd discuss Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry who played a little later last night when KU whooped up on Missouri.

Aldrich had a monster game game.  Bobby Knight couldn't stop gushing about him.  Aldrich was very disruptive on defense with 7 blocks - one of which was a recovery on a blown rotation.  He pulled in 16 rebounds (2 offensive) - his most impressive being a tip in on a missed free throw from behind a Missouri player who according to Knight, didn't "get his butt in Aldrich." 

Aldrich wasn't much on the offensive end, but he was efficient scoring 12 points on 4-5 shooting (4-6 from the line).  He was only credited with 2 assists, but this surprises me.  Four plays at the end of the 2nd half come to mind. 


1 - Aldrich got triple teamed down low, he pivoted and fired a pass across the key for a wide open 3pt attempt that went in.

2 - After a defensive rebound Cole turned and fired a pass to a teammate (Markieff Morris) past the half court line who then beat Missouri to the rim for a layup.

3 - Missouri tried to press, Cole came up late from half court to save the inbounds pass, turned and fired a bounce pass to a streaking teammate at half court who was fouled at the rim. 

4 - Saw this many times after his 14 rebounds - turned and fired a sharp pass to a teammate.  His passes were in stark contrast to his teammate's passes after defensive rebounds.  Cole would secure, survey and snap off the pass in quick succession while his teammates generally let the pressure fade before handing or lobbing the ball to the PG.


A couple of other notes - one positive one negative.  Positive:  the announcers were discussing how they were disappointed in Aldrich's play in an earlier season game and brought up a foot injury he was suffering.  If Aldrich continues this level of healthy play in conference, he will return to top 5 in most draft boards. 

Negative:  Missouri trotted out a lineup with one guy at 6'9" and 2 guys at 6'8".  Considering how college players tend to shrink when not measured by the Team Program editors, Aldrich enjoyed a significant size advantage he won't find in the NBA. 


Xavier Henry had a very quiet game.  He shot 3-7 from 3 point land and had only one other shot attempt with no free throws.  He basically disappeared for long stretches of the game.  He had two steals and a block, but I must admit I had trouble telling him from KU's other wings on defense so I can't really judge him, though he had 2 steals and a block. 

After seeing this game, I have to believe Aldrich is a top 5 pick.  For the Wolves, I put him behind Wall and Turner (way behind those two), but I'd take him over Wes Johnson.  He needs a few more games like this, but he would be a nice fit in the Wolves rotation.  I'm not sure how I'd rate him against the top PFs in the draft or how those PFs would fit on this Wolves team.

Henry didn't do much for me.  I can't see him as a top 10 pick.  If he's there at the Charlotte or Utah pick (18 to 22), he's  a good gamble.

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