Joe Freeman of The Oregonian has an extended look at Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who is set to play in his third All-Star Game in New Orleans on Sunday.
Included are some thoughts from Robert Allen, who coached Aldridge at Seagoville High School in Texas.
Allen had figured out that 34 laps around the track equaled 8.8 miles. He pulled up a chair, plopped down and told Aldridge to run. Allen charted every lap, and Aldridge ran them all. Didn't once stop and walk. What's more, Aldridge didn't once show a hint of displeasure. Didn't backtalk. Didn't roll his eyes. Just ran. Allen was worried Aldridge would go home, tell his mother, Georgia, about the practice and ask to transfer.
Instead, Aldridge was the first one to show up to an open gym workout the next morning, arriving about 7 a.m. - before Allen.
"When he showed up that morning, I said to my assistant coaches, ‘This kid is special,'" Allen said. "Anybody that would run 8.8 miles and not show any anger or displeasure, I said, ‘This is a special kid.' Right then and there, I knew."
The full piece -- which also includes an anecdote about Aldridge being frozen out by his high school teammates in a key game -- is right here.
Aldridge, 28, is averaging 23.9 points,11.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists (all career-highs) for the Blazers this season.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter