A.J. Ogilvy and Cole Aldrich - Divergent Paths to the Draft

Much has been written (especially by me) about A.J.’s draft stock.  This is for good reason – the big man has been making headlines since he stepped on campus. From the time he signed as Vanderbilt’s highest rated recruit in the Stallings Era, Ogilvy has been a frequent media target when covering Commodore hoops. However, a better way to view his legacy at Vanderbilt and the impact he’ll make in the pros is to take a look at his career. A key to his draft stock may be the projection of his junior center counterpart Cole Aldrich.

Coming into their college careers, the two were ranked similarly as recruits. Both are legitimate centers who have had major impacts on the court and have had their share of SportsCenter highlights. As freshmen, both had mounds of potential and were viewed as the future in the pivot at their respective schools. Ogilvy even put together an All-Conference campaign and put his stamp down as a potential All-American while Aldrich played limited minutes while both were freshmen. However, two years later, Aldrich is a lottery pick and Ogilvy, according to our readers' poll, will be fighting to be drafted. So where did the two paths diverge?

Like Ogilvy, Aldrich had a slight regression as a junior before deciding to make the leap to the pro ranks, but their careers before that were significantly different. While A.J. was making leaps as an All-SEC freshman, Cole was getting limited minutes for a national championship team. In their sophomore years, Aldrich averaged a double-double as the backbone of a Sweet Sixteen team while Ogilvy had trouble playing on a team with no postseason opportunities. And while both had tougher junior years, Aldrich still nearly averaged a double-double, while Ogilvy saw his shooting and minutes drop as he became a less effective part of the Commodore offense.

A.J. Ogilvy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEASON 

MIN 

PTS 

REB 

AST 

TO 

A/T 

STL 

BLK 

PF 

FG% 

FT% 

3P% 

PPS

2007-2008 

26.4

17

6.7

1.2

2.5

0.47

0.7

1.4

3.1

58.8%

76.9%

0.0%

1.69

2008-2009 

27.6

15.4

7.1

1.3

2.8

0.46

0.9

1.7

2.7

54.3%

69.9%

25.9%

1.6

2009-2010 

23.2

13.4

6.2

0.9

1.9

0.47

1

1.5

2.9

50.9%

73.1%

0.0%

1.58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cole Aldrich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEASON 

MIN 

PTS 

REB 

AST 

TO 

A/T 

STL 

BLK 

PF 

FG% 

FT% 

3P% 

PPS

2007-2008 

8.3

2.8

3

0.1

0.5

0.24

0.3

0.9

1.2

51.8%

68.4%

0.0%

1.35

2008-2009 

29.6

14.9

11.1

1

1.6

0.64

0.6

2.7

2.6

59.8%

79.2%

0.0%

1.56

2009-2010 

26.8

11.3

9.8

0.9

1.6

0.55

0.8

3.5

2.6

56.2%

67.9%

0.0%

1.53

Aldrich's stats underline his standing as a true big man, coming through with better rebounding and shot blocking while finishing effectively at the rim. While both are approximately the same size (6'11", 250 lbs), Aldrich has shown the ability to defend at a higher level and a greater level of athleticism. Ogilvy, on the other hand, was not as effective in containing other teams' big men, and often ended up in foul trouble as a result. Once their freshman years passed, Ogilvy saw his stock decrease while Aldrich stepped up into his place in the NBA Draft – and then beyond it.

Despite Aldrich’s paltry freshman stats, it’s arguable that he presented more potential than Ogilvy, even with 18 fewer minutes per game. A.J. was presented with instant playing time and shone, but Aldrich was stuck behind future draft picks in Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun. However, Kansas’s big man bided his time and impressed with his short minutes, posting better rebounding and blocking rates than Vandy’s pivot man.

Still, Ogilvy was the more polished player, and the better option in 2008. It appeared that he’d be the safer bet for an All-American bid, but the 2008-2009 season made this perception a mirage. While Aldrich shone on his rebuilding and youthful team, Ogilvy regressed in a similar situation. Despite being the first offensive option for the Commodores, the center never proved that he could take over games consistently and lead Vandy to victory. With the exception of big games against Alabama, LSU (33 points and 10 rebounds), and South Carolina, Ogilvy’s play in important match-ups was disappointing after such a stellar first-year campaign.

Aldrich, on the other hand, showed that he was ready for the spotlight despite being in his first year as a starter. He scored 15 points and pulled down 20 rebounds in a massive showdown against Blake Griffin and #3 Oklahoma, went for 19 and 14 against #8 Missouri, and sprung for 22 and 10 with six blocks against #18 Tennessee. The Jayhawks won all of these games. In the NCAA Tournament, Aldrich averaged 17.7 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 5.3 blocks.

Kansas’s project had turned into their prodigy, and had made the leap that Commodore fans had hoped that A.J. Ogilvy would make in his sophomore year. Despite his head start, Ogilvy now looked like the center who was adjusting to NCAA levels of play in comparison to the suddenly polished Aldrich. Opposing teams were able to focus on the Australian and had gameplans built around him that played on his weaknesses and took away the efficiency that made him so dangerous. Despite the static growth, there were still high hopes that Ogilvy could break through and take over games every night as a junior.

Both players took reduced roles offensively in 2009-2010 as the depth of their teams demanded less of them, but Aldrich continued to show the consistency and defensive presence that Ogilvy had been searching for since his first season in Nashville. Aldrich was still a double-double machine, and found ways to impact the game without the ball in his hands for a team ranked #1 for much of the season. Ogilvy, conversely, had his moments, but foul trouble and inconsistency on the defensive glass kept him from playing big minutes and his yo-yoing out of the lineup seemed to affect his play.

The main difference between the two over their careers? Aldrich’s ability to raise his game in pressure filled showdowns. Kansas’s big man is more athletic and more consistent than Ogilvy, but his true area of separation has been where he’s risen to the occasion to pull off big upsets or pull off triple-doubles in the NCAA Tournament. Ogilvy, in comparison, lacks the resume of his counterpart, both statistically and in the win-loss ledger. Below are his career post-season statistics.

2008

RESULT 

MIN 

FG 

FGA 

FG%

FTM 

FTA 

FT%

PTS 

OFF 

DEF 

TOT 

AST 

TO 

STL 

BLK 

PF

Auburn 

W 93-82 

26

12

13

 

3

4

 

27

0

5

5

0

3

0

2

3

@Arkansas 

L 81-75 

33

4

8

 

6

9

 

14

1

6

7

2

3

0

3

3

Siena 

L 83-62 

29

7

15

 

4

8

 

18

4

2

6

2

4

0

0

3

 

 

29.3

7.7

12.0

63.9%

4.3

7.0

61.9%

19.7

1.7

4.3

6.0

1.3

3.3

0.0

1.7

3.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009

RESULT 

MIN 

FG 

FGA 

FG%

FTM 

FTA 

FT%

PTS 

OFF 

DEF 

TOT 

AST 

TO 

STL 

BLK 

PF

@Alabama 

L 82-75 

31

2

7

 

4

7

 

8

2

6

8

6

3

0

2

3

 

 

31.0

2.0

7.0

28.6%

4.0

7.0

57.1%

8.0

2.0

6.0

8.0

6.0

3.0

0.0

2.0

3.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010

RESULT 

MIN 

FG 

FGA 

FG%

FTM 

FTA 

FT%

PTS 

OFF 

DEF 

TOT 

AST 

TO 

STL 

BLK 

PF

Georgia 

W 78-66 

25

4

8

 

2

2

 

10

2

5

7

1

3

0

1

5

@Miss St 

L 62-52 

21

0

4

 

2

4

 

2

0

4

4

3

3

0

0

3

Murray St 

L 66-65 

20

4

7

 

4

6

 

12

2

4

6

0

2

0

1

3

 

 

22.0

2.7

6.3

42.1%

2.7

4.0

66.7%

8.0

1.3

4.3

5.7

1.3

2.7

0.0

0.7

3.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

*2-5

26.4

4.7

8.9

53.2%

3.6

5.7

62.5%

13.0

1.6

4.6

6.1

2.0

3.0

0.0

1.3

3.3

Though both men were blessed with equal size and similar athletic skill sets (including Ogilvy’s superior offensive feel for the game), A.J. is considered light years behind his counterpart because of consistency, defense, and clutch play. In the 2010 draft, Aldrich will be the top ranked true center prospect, while Ogilvy will rank somewhere behind guys like Jerome Jordan, Art Parakhouski, and Brian Zoubek. While these players built themselves up out of unheralded beginnings, Ogilvy went in the opposite direction with inconsistent play and difficulty playing effective defense. The two prospects took divergent paths after being ranked alongside each other in 2007, and though it looked like A.J. Ogilvy had the inside track, Cole Aldrich has proven to be the better player in college, and the better fit for the pros.

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