More on triple-double
Kansas University coach Bill Self remains impressed with Cole Aldrich’s triple-double in Sunday’s 60-43 victory against Dayton. The sophomore big man had a school-record 10 blocked shots to go with 20 rebounds and 13 points.
“The thing about Dayton ... they are unbelievably quick on the perimeter,” Self said. “Their big guys are all perimeter players that like to face it and drive it. We just told him to stay home and really don’t leave the basket area very far, so when guys got beat he was just able to be our last line of defense.
“He did a great job of blocking and altering shots without fouling. He had a fabulous game.”
Aldrich estimated he may have altered about five of the Flyers’ shots.
More on Cole
Aldrich was peppered with a batch of questions about his future plans over the weekend.
He said he’d like to return to KU for a junior year and work on things like footwork and strength in his legs. He, however, said he would not decide whether or not to enter the 2009 NBA Draft until the conclusion of the season.
Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Monday’s editions quoted Flip Saunders, former coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons, as saying Aldrich probably will be a top-10 pick if he declares for June’s draft.
“He’s going to help somebody,” Saunders told Walters. “He’s a more than adequate offensive player right now. Defensively, he can really rebound, as you saw in the (Dome) games, and he blocks shots.”
Saunders was asked how Aldrich would fare in the pros next season.
“It depends where he goes,” he told Walters. “All kids are going to struggle somewhat, because it’s a change. (Sunday against Dayton), he played against guys who are 6-9, 6-10. (In the NBA), you're going to play against guys who are 6-11, 7-feet every night who are skilled, strong and quick. He’ll be able to play, but it will depend on how much adjustment he makes.”
Coach of Year
Self on Monday was named winner of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award.
Finalists were: Self; Mike Anderson, Missouri; John Calipari, Memphis; Jeff Capel, Oklahoma; Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh; Mike Montgomery, California; Stew Morrill, Utah State; Matt Painter, Purdue; Oliver Purnell, Clemson; and Brad Stevens, Butler.
Self will receive the Iba Award at the USBWA’s College Basketball Awards breakfast April 3 at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Self is a 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State. Iba is legendary for leading Oklahoma State (known then as Oklahoma A&M) to national championships in 1945 and ’46 and the United States to two Olympic gold medals in 1964 and ’68.
KU’s Roy Williams was honored in 1990 by the USBWA.
ESPN’s Andy Katz praised KU and Self in his column Monday at ESPN.com.
“What does this mean for the program?” Katz wrote of making the Sweet 16. “Kansas doesn't have to prove anything. The Jayhawks are one of the top five programs in the country. But getting to the Sweet 16 after losing all but two key players from a title team just enhances Self's credibility even more in the recruiting world and in the psyche of all KU fans. They have a true winner in Self, a front-runner for national coach of the year after retooling the Jayhawks so fast.”