Cole Aldrich Focusing on Development in Rookie Season

Tulsa 66ers center Cole Aldrich had a big impact on the Tulsa 66ers this season, and that influence is carrying over into the 2011 D-League Playoffs.

Prior to Friday’s game against Texas, Tulsa was 18-4 this season with Aldrich in the lineup. His passion to improve has seen him blossom in his rookie season out of the University of Kansas.

“I have had a great experience in Tulsa this year,” Aldrich said. “I continue to work hard every day and take the baby steps. Then, the season is over and you look back at the huge strides you have made.”

The game-experience with the 66ers has led to a more confident Aldrich.

“I think I have gotten a lot more comfortable on the floor and I am just basically going out there and working hard, grabbing rebounds and blocking shots. I know my role on the team and I try to play that role to the best of my ability.”

In the D-League Playoffs, each series is a best-of-three compared to the NBA’s best-of-seven series. With the limited number of games, Aldrich points out the added importance of each contest.

“Each game does hold a little more weight. Playing three games in the playoffs, it puts a little more pressure on you to win the first game and put pressure on the opposing team to fight for their lives in the second and third games.”

Aldrich, who is currently in his third assignment from the Oklahoma City Thunder, believes defense is the key to the 66ers success this postseason.

“We have to continue to defend. As a team, I think we have played really well. Defense it the main thing and we have to continue to put the effort in every day. It is a league where if you get stops it is really going to benefit you on the offensive end.”