Cole World: The NBA Playoff Race, March Madness & Soul Food

With the Oklahoma City Thunder battling for home-court advantage, and the Kansas Jayhawks looking for their second NCAA Tournament championship in four years, Cole Aldrich is a busy man. But thankfully, he still finds time to update the world on his life. In his latest entry, Cole talks about adjusting to life after the trade deadline, Kansas’ shot at a national title and the best soul food place in Atlanta.

*** *** ***

I realize it’s been a while since I last checked in, so let me catch you up to speed. I went back to school during All-Star Weekend and it was a lot of fun. I was able to go to the game against Colorado and just kind of hang out with some of the guys and my friends. It was nice and relaxing, and great to get off my feet.

At the same time, I had to watch as many of the festivities as I could. We had guys in the Rookie-Sophomore Game, dunk contest, three-point and skills competition and then the All-Star Game itself. It was fun just watching those guys and seeing them compete.

I thought Serge did really well. I felt like he got jipped on the free throw dunk! That was a legit free throw dunk. I’d seen him practice one or two of those, but you never know on the big stage how things will go or if you have to switch it up. Just the two dunks he was able to showcase really said a lot. It was also really cool seeing him come out with the people and all the flags. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

Do I think Serge should have made it to the finals? I mean, Blake is a good friend of mine, so it was cool to see him out there. Some of the stuff that he did was unreal. I think that the guys that made it definitely deserved to be there.

When the guys got back, all I heard was how busy they were. When I talked to Kevin, he said they had him going 24/7, so it was nice for me to get away.

Also, as you already know, the team looks a little different after the trade deadline. We have a really close team, so it was tough losing those D.J., Mo Pete, Nenad and Jeff. But it’s part of the business. Whenever we see those guys, we’ll say hi and see how things are going, but it’s an exciting time.

The new guys are a lot of fun. They came right in and fit in right away, and all three of them didn’t really shy away from mingling with the guys. All the guys, we took them in like family, and we’re excited to have them a part of our team. We get better everyday, and we go really hard in practice and push each other. We’re going to do really well at the end of the season.

Perk‘s hurt right now, so you don’t get that experience on the court with him, but he still talks to you. I talk to him before games. This is what, his eight year now? He’s played against all those guys and learned from them. It’s great for me, because he’s a really good defender. Nazr‘s good. I really like Nazr. He’s a vet, and he’s done it all and all that. He’s just another guy with so much to learn from. I pick things up from these guys on the fly, and if I have any questions, I go and ask them. And you can’t forget about Nate. He’s a big jokester. He loves to talk and have fun in the locker room. I can’t say he’s a big kid, but he’s a kid.

And with March Madness upon us, I’d be crazy not to talk about my Jayhawks. I like ’em. They’re going to be real tough. I think we’ll get a No. 1 seed, and being 30-2, we’ve proven ourselves through the course of the year. They’re good enough and they deserve it.

I think they can win it all. It’s March Madness, so you never know what’s going to happen, but talent-wise, we can win it all. I found out my freshman year it takes a lot. The most important advice I can give ’em is to make sure you get your rest. Doing all the little things that will prepare yourself mentally and physically, realizing that every game could be your last. They might play in Tulsa for one of their games, and if we don’t have a game and I’m free, I’m definitely going to get out there.

For the rest of the Final Four, I don’t even know if I could tell you. It’s one of those years where there’s not a ton of dominant teams, but you never know who will play really good for a few games.

If there’s one guy to watch out for, it’s Nolan Smith. I think he has been playing really well this year. I played ball against him in high school, and him and Singler from Duke are going to defend that title really well this year. It’s going to be tough.

Other than that, I’ve been busy travelling. Planes, hotel rooms and then the game. Personally, I think I played well against the Lakers. At least for me, whenever I get into the game, I try and impact it in small ways that might not make it into the box score. That is, in addition to rebounds and blocking shots. You know, setting good screens and doing the little things to help us out.

I also had a real good dinner at this soul food place in Atlanta called TWO urban licks. I think I just got the chicken, but it was so good. And I need to get Jackass 3D, but there’s not really a Best Buy around here.

Until next time…

Follow Cole on Twitter at @colea45.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.