Cole Aldrich, recognized as the first player to record a triple-double in KU history, will reach another milestone next month. Aldrich, who enters the summer as an unrestricted free agent, is scheduled to graduate from KU with a degree in communication studies.
"We are all proud that Cole accomplished this goal," said University of Kansas Head Coach Bill Self. "He was the Academic All-American of the Year and when he left early he said he was going to graduate from KU.
"He kept to his plan and worked hard to earn his degree," he added. "I know we are as happy for him as his family is."
Aldrich, the 6-foot-11, 245-pound center from Bloomington, Minn., was selected No. 11 overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2010 NBA draft. He was later traded to Oklahoma City and, after two seasons with the Thunder, Aldrich, earlier this season, was traded to Houston, where he appeared in 30 games.
However, his time with the Rockets was short-lived, as Aldrich was eventually traded to Sacramento. Playing in 15 games, he averaged 11.7 minutes, 3.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Aldrich, who will enter the summer as an unrestricted free agent, will fulfill a lifelong dream when he receives his degree in communication studies next month.
"When I declared (early for the draft), I stayed in school," said Aldrich on Tuesday afternoon. "I finished out the spring semester, worked out in Lawrence and I made it work. The best thing for me was to get it done. I'm three years out, and I'll be honest with you, it feels like an eternity already, since I was in a classroom.
"Its something that I've always wanted to do," he added. "It's something that I can really be proud of the rest of my life."
Recognized as the first player to record a triple-double in KU history (13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks vs. Dayton in his hometown of Minneapolis in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, graduating from the University of Kansas has always been a top priority for Aldrich.
For Aldrich, the road back to Lawrence following his decision to declare for the NBA draft following his junior year, was anything but smooth. Playing in the NBA, life on the road can be difficult due to so many demands and obligations.
Still, despite a tight schedule, when it was time to buckle down and concentrate on the academic side of his schedule, Aldrich committed himself to doing just that.
"It's exciting," said Aldrich. "It's really exciting. When we were on a plane going from San Antonio to Houston, I was not too excited. I was writing papers and reading and doing all of that stuff. All of my homework is finally starting to calm down and I'm getting excited.
"Yea, I want to walk the hill," he added. "I will be there all weekend. I'll be there on Friday and then I want to do the stuff on Sunday. My parents and my grandparents and my fiancé and her mom will be coming down. It's going to be a really fun weekend."