After an outstanding three-year career at Kansas, which included a 2008 NCAA Championship and three Big 12 titles during his tenure, Cole Aldrich was a Lottery pick this June. First selected by the Hornets before being trading to the Thunder on Draft Night, the Bloomington, Minn. native gladly returned to the Midwest. So with everyone’s expectations for the Thunder going through the roof this season, we decided there was no one better to turn to for the inside scoop on life in OKC. In his third entry, Cole talks about rookie hazing and life in the NBA D-League.
Four words can sum up my life since I last checked in: A lot has happened.
After I thought I got off pretty easy in terms of any rookie hazing, Royal Ivey changed that. I don’t know how Royal got the idea or anything, but he came on the plane when we were headed to Milwaukee on the road trip and just said, “Here’s your new best friend. You gotta carry him around everywhere you go.” At least a frog’s better than anything else. I asked people on Twitter to help me out with a name, but some of them were pretty bizarre. Frank the Frog just flowed together. Whatever you do, don’t tell Royal he’s not in Tulsa with me right now.
Then there’s the packing peanuts. We were playing at home (I don’t remember who), but after the game Royal got me again. He came to me and was like, “We’re gonna talk to you about some of your rookie duties,” and I already knew something was up because everyone was there. Everyone walked out of the arena with me and had cameras. I don’t know how they got that many packing peanuts into my car, but it was filled almost to the ceiling! It kind of became a pain in the butt to take ’em all out, so I shoveled ’em onto the ground for like 10 minutes and then just opened the windows, hopped in the car and drove home. They started flying! To tell you the truth, I think I still have some in there.
I’d love to get him, back but I’m not going to. You just continue to take care of the vets on the team. You just gotta go along with it.
Also, you may have heard that I’ve been playing in the D-League for the Tulsa 66ers. GM [Sam] Presti came to me one day and told me he thought it would be a great opportunity to get back on the court and get some serious minutes again. With the number of great post guys we have, it’s tough to crack the rotation. Not many people think about it this way: Going 11th in the Draft to a 50-win team isn’t the norm. Usually when you go in the Lottery, you go to a struggling team. The Thunder are a very successful team and I love being a part of it. But it’s also nice to get some minutes in on the court.
The drive to Tulsa from Oklahoma City is about an hour and a half, so I just took one of my cars. It’s nice to have it for going to practice and if I want to go out and go to the mall or go back to my house. I went back on Saturday night to get some laundry done so that’s a nice. Before I left, I made sure I had my basketball and shower shoes and everything I need on the court, and packed a bag or two of stuff that I needed off the court – clothing, shower kit, computer, iPad, Xbox 360.