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 fifth entry, Cole talks about the D-League Showcase, Serge Ibaka in the dunk contest and his best Christmas gift.
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Well, it’s safe to say that I’ve been all over the place since I last checked in. I’m back in the D-League with these guys (Tulsa 66ers), and right now back in Tulsa. We’ve got a few games here and then a few on the road. We went from Austin to Dallas back to Austin, then came to Tulsa for a few games and then back to Dallas. Then we were in South Padre for the D-League Showcase and then Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a few games.
Of all those games, the Showcase was probably the most fun. Everybody from all the D-League teams were there, and it was great to see a lot of guys that I’ve played against and know. Also, for all the guys that aren’t down in the D-League on assignment, it was really beneficial. With all the teams there and all the scouts – and overseas scouts came over too – it was really cool to have those guys fired up seeing them in the stands.
I was probably most excited to play Dexter Pittman. I played against him a number of times in high school and then at Texas. It was great to go up against him and just see him. But when we weren’t playing, I mostly hung out with our team. We have a pretty close team and we always have fun together.
We all stayed in one hotel, so you can imagine it was crazy busy. For me, at least, it was real low-key. I used it as an opportunity to get some rest. We had been on the road for four or five days before, so I wanted to get that rest and make sure I had enough energy for the games.
We stayed on the island, so it was real quiet considering it was the offseason. It’s the winter, so everyone was there for the Showcase. The first day that we were there I was able to throw my bags in the room and walk around a bit. After that, the next few days were dreary, cool and rainy, so I just stuck around the hotel.
As always, I try to catch as many Thunder games as I can when I’m away. I want to make sure I’m in sync when I come back and continue to support them. Truthfully though, I’m just worried about our games down here. I need to continue going out there and playing our games hard – that’s what’s really going to benefit me.
I’m really working on just seeing the floor better. You know, the path of seeing plays happen before they actually do. That’s kind of a big adjustment between college and the pro game. It’s all about floor spacing, and I need to continue to do that.