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Cole Aldrich should be right at home in Oklahoma City

Former Kansas center Cole Aldrich, who the Thunder acquired during Thursday's NBA Draft, should fit perfectly in Oklahoma City, Jayhawks coach Bill Self said.
By John Rohde, Staff Writer, Modified: June 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm •  Published: June 26, 2010
/articleid/3471670/1/pictures/1005013">Photo - New Thunder center Cole Aldrich, right, could bring a strong defensive presence to Oklahoma City. AP PHOTO
New Thunder center Cole Aldrich, right, could bring a strong defensive presence to Oklahoma City. AP PHOTO

"He's not a prolific scorer, but he can get the ball in the basket," Self said. "He'll get better moving forward. I'm not going to predict double-figure scoring as a rookie, but I do think he's a guy who could eventually average double-figures. I do know this: He can rebound the ball. In his area, outside his area, he can rebound the ball and he doesn't play soft going after it."

Self said if you want something from Aldrich, just ask.

"Cole will be the consummate teammate," Self said. "He'll be the ultimate teammate. He'll accept whatever role. He can take coaching. He can take criticism. He certainly can handle all that."

Helping ease Aldrich's transition, he will join another Jayhawk on the Thunder roster in forward/center Nick Collison, who on draft night posted this on his Twitter page to Aldrich: "Im excited to have u on the squad. Even more excited 4you to bring me my newspaper &eggwhite omelete every morning rookie."

Though Collison left KU seven years ago and did not play for Self, he remains close to the program and has talked with Aldrich numerous times.

"Nick and Cole know each other well," Self said. "I don't think there's any question it will be beneficial for Cole. Although we didn't get to coach Nick, we know him and think he's an absolute stud. He'll be a great mentor for Cole."

Self said he and his staff had heard rumblings of the Thunder's desire to land Aldrich.

"It seems to me that was a remarkable move to get that No. 11 pick," Self said. "(Thunder general manager) Sam Presti and his staff have done an absolutely incredible job, and I'm sure everybody in Oklahoma City thinks the same."

Under the NBA's rookie salary scale, Aldrich is slated to make $1,772,100 this season, followed by $1,905,000 and $2,037,900 his second and third seasons.

The Ford Center was the site of Aldrich's last collegiate game, a 69-67 upset loss to Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.


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