KU’s Aldrich ponders Green Room attire
Cole Aldrich — who has been allotted six tickets — will be sitting in the 2010 NBA Draft Green Room with his mom, dad, girlfriend, brother and agent, waiting for his name to be called, he hopes in the 14-team lottery, on Thursday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
What the 6-foot-11 former Kansas University center will be wearing is anybody’s guess.
“I like my suit right here. This is kind of a nice suit,” Aldrich said recently, referring to a light brown coat and slacks. “I don’t know. It all kind of depends on what I feel like.”
Cole’s dad, Walt, on Sunday night said he was convinced his son would make a fine fashion statement for his official picture with NBA commissioner David Stern and interview in front of ESPN’s cameras.
“I don’t know, (but) I think he bought a new one,” said Walt, who will fly with his wife, Kathleen, to the Big Apple on Wednesday in time for a breakfast for prospective top draft picks and their families.
A meeting with the commish for players and their families is slated for late Wednesday afternoon.
Walt, a former U.S. Marine, plans on a sightseeing tour that will include a stop at the Statue of Liberty sometime before the start of the draft Thursday (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
“I’ve been to New York once, not too long after 9-11, and Ellis Island was closed,” Walt said.
Walt said he has no inside information on where Cole will be selected. Generally regarded as a lottery lock, Aldrich has been projected to go as high as No. 7 (Detroit) and as low as No. 21 (Oklahoma City).
“We’re expecting the kid to make a lot of money. We’re expecting to be pretty excited,” Walt said with a laugh, asked for the exact slot. “It’s like what you guys wrote — Detroit may be in the mix and Toronto in the mix and the (Utah) Jazz,” Walt added, noting Cole was in Detroit on Sunday and off to Toronto for a second interview with the Raptors today. Toronto has the No. 13 selection and Utah No. 9.
“You really don’t know because (teams) 1-2-3 might pick 4-5 (projected players) instead of 1-2-3. That changes the whole scenario. Most teams probably have four or five different backup plans.”
Walt, who lives in Bloomington, Minn., realizes the hometown Timberwolves have three first-round picks — at Nos. 4, 16 and 23.
Would he like the Wolves to pick Cole?
“Yes, for my own selfish reasons, so I can watch every home game,” Walt said. “Having your son a hometown hero would be cool.”
Walt — he hasn’t seen much of Cole of late with his son working out for Toronto, Golden State, Sacramento, Utah, Houston, New Orleans and Detroit — believes Cole is ready for Thursday to arrive.
“He is getting excited. Anxious might be the right word,” Walt said. “He’s been working his butt off in all the practices. He’s not had a whole lot of time to contemplate what is going on, which is a good thing.
“He’s different than Sherron (Collins) and maybe Xavier (Henry) in that he’s been predicted to be in the top 10 or close to it pretty much from Day One. That takes a lot of the pressure off you a bit. You don’t have to worry about it as much.”
Walt is unsure of what the family reaction will be when Cole’s name is announced Thursday night.
“His mom will go nuts,” said Walt, who shed tears the day Cole recorded the first official triple-double in KU history, against Dayton in the 2009 NCAAs in Minneapolis.
“I was a wuss,” Walt noted. “I started puddling up. It caught me off guard completely. It was pretty phenomenal with all the great big guys who have played at KU.”
He won’t cry Thursday.
“There could be some beers and a big, fat cigar someplace,” Walt said with a laugh.
Xavier soft?: Former KU guard Xavier Henry, who is expected to be taken anywhere between Nos. 8 (Los Angeles Clippers) and No. 19 (Boston), heard about some doubters.
“Xavier, everybody thinks is a little bit soft,” ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb was quoted as saying in Sunday’s editions of the Daily Oklahoman. “But he is skilled and can shoot. He’ll be lucky to be a starter in the NBA, I’m not huge on Xavier.”
Noted Henry: “That was the first time (in my life) they started (questioning my ability). My confidence wasn’t shaken, I just had to go out (in NBA workouts) and prove them wrong.”